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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: U.S. voters aren’t spoiled for choice

The bar was set extremely low at last month's presidential debate, says letter writer
Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. president Donald Trump, left, and President Joe Biden participate in a debate hosted at CNN headquarters in Atlanta on June 27.

To the editor,

Re: Biden stumbles, supporters worried after first presidential debate, June 28.

With the most powerful job on the planet at stake, the bar was set extremely low for the U.S. presidential debate held at CNN headquarters in Atlanta on June 27. President Joe Biden only having to present himself as coherent and confident to belay voters’ fears about his age, while former president Donald Trump had to keep a cool head, a civil tongue and behave like a responsible adult. As it tragically turned out, Biden had several ‘senior moments’ when millions of eyes from all over the globe, both friendly and otherwise, were trained on him as he was mumbling, bumbling, fumbling and stumbling in his responses. Trump was less bombastic than usual, while deflecting several questions and giving answers that had fact-checkers working overtime. With name-calling on both sides and even arguments about who had the better golf swing, it was a tremendously embarrassing and disorganized 90-minute extravaganza. Saddest of all, it probably did little to influence many voters, who have already chosen sides in deeply polarized America.

The previous day I had watched the British leaders’ debate on BBC TV, where now-former prime minister Rishi Sunak represented the Conservative Party against Sir Keir Starmer of the Labour Party, which won the July 4 election. Their 90-minute debate had a most capable moderator and polite applause throughout. Audience members posed sensible questions about the economy, Brexit, jobs, housing, immigration, etc. – by far the loudest applause came when an audience member introduced himself as Robert and asked: “Are you two really the best we’ve got to be prime minister of our great country?” The CNN debate had no audience, with rules that were put forward by the White House, and agreed by both participants. What a shame there was no Robert in Atlanta to echo what the world is now thinking about the Excited States of America.

Bernie Smith, Parksville

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