‘Negative, uncivil’: Voters react to chaotic first 2020 presidential debate

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — People around the nation and right here in the Cape Fear are still digesting the fiery debate Tuesday night between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

After watching the scene that unfolded on the 2020 presidential debate stage, which appeared to be a yelling match at times, some people were left with questions and confusion.

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“Kind of chaotic,” UNCW student Brandon Sulc said. “A lot of back and forth. Definitely unorthodox.”

For many younger voters, this will be their first time heading to the polls this November. UNCW student Kyle Glover says was hoping to hear more about each candidate’s policies and plans for issues.

“It was very physically and emotionally depleting,” Glover said. “I felt like there wasn’t a lot of policy that was actually being talked about.”

It appeared both candidates couldn’t seem to get a word in edgewise, having to be broken up by moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News.

“In terms of topics and everything, I thought they were good topics,” UNCW student Zack Shail said. “I just didn’t think anyone stayed on topic necessarily.”

UNCW Political Science Associate Professor calls this year’s first presidential debate something he’s never seen before.

“It was 90 minutes of maybe a little bit less content and quite a bit of rhetoric,” King said. “But I think really, I can’t remember a debate in my lifetime that has been so negative and so, just not the most civil event, and I think that turns a lot of people off.”

A lot of people are still trying to wrap their heads around the chaotic scene on stage that seemed to start off tense and only build throughout the 90 minutes.

“I think there was an opportunity for President Trump to make a clear statement denouncing white supremacy, and I think that for something 99% of Americans would have a very easy time answering, I think President Trump missed an opportunity to think about that,” King said.

Some people say they weren’t surprised by the tone on each side of the debate.

“That, almost is what I expected the debate to be like in terms of just pettiness and childishness and whatever,” Shail said.

“I just did not like they way they interrupted each other,” UNCW graduate student Hannah Samuelson said. “Neither of the candidates respected each other. People’s true colors showed.”

Some people say the debate further cemented their vote, but others came away from it feeling undecided and with questions unanswered.

“I don’t even know, honestly, who I’m going to vote for,” Sulc said. “I don’t know if I gained much information.”

Trump and Biden will go head to head again on October 15 and 22. The 2020 vice presidential debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic nominee Kamala Harris is October 7.