New Podcast Episode: The Debate Gave Americans the Starkest Choice Yet. That’s a Good Thing.

Julio Cortez/AP

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

The first presidential debate of the 2020 election this was a night of headache-inducing Trumpian nihilism, as our colleague Clara Jeffery wrote last night. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was visibly trying to stay calm, focus on the camera, and speak as directly as possible to the American people—while President Donald Trump attacked, interrupted, and talked over everyone, moderator Chris Wallace included, whose 11th hour recommitment to the rules of the debate came far too late to somehow contain the wreckage.

But, in the end, was this debate a good thing for voters? Trump’s careening performance rendered a debasing spectacle of American democracy, making the usual post-debate analysis feel practically pointless. Typically we ask: who won and who lost? But today, that question seems less relevant: This was about a stark choice, laid bare. “I understand why people wanted to rush to the shower afterwards. It was ugly. It was brutal. It was indeed debasing, but it was Trump revealing Trump,” says Washington D.C. Bureau Chief David Corn, on a new episode of the Mother Jones Podcast. And in that sense, Corn argues, “this was a great night for America.”

Trump, in essence, proved Biden’s point, Corn argues: “It’s out in the open. He sees saying the quiet part aloud. And when a political opponent does that, it makes your work—if you’re a Democrat, if you’re someone who wants to see Trump gone—easier.” (Check out his debate-night essay here.)

Podcast host Jamilah King also interviews DC-based reporter Nathalie Baptiste about her experience of the debate, and her main takeaways. They get into the mind-boggling  contrast between Donald Trump and Joe Biden on the debate stage, the racism embedded in the debate topics, and whether voters might have any reason at all to feel hopeful as November 3 approaches.

Listen to their full conversations on the latest episode of the Mother Jones Podcast:

 

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2021 demands.

payment methods

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2021 demands.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate