Voters with unanswered questions look forward to final debate


Oct. 8, 2020 —

With the usual second Presidential debate being cancelled and only a final town-hall-style debate remaining on the schedule, the subject matter of the final debate has become a point of contention. The Trump campaign has requested that the final debate be focused on foreign policy issues. In the meantime, those of us who are inclined to pay attention may find ourselves looking more to the vice presidential debate to get a sense of which policy issues are being prioritized.  

Which is unfortunate, because the VP debate was largely boring and pointless.

“Debates really aren’t about candidates expressing their views,” said Whatcom County Councilmember and Whatcom GOP chair Kathy Kershner. “Really a debate is about how a candidate performs under pressure… because all of the policy issues are clearly spelled out on the candidates’ websites.”

That being said, Kershner thinks that Kamala Harris’ demeanor at the VP debate signaled that she “Wasn’t quite ready,” to assume the office.

Not all reactions to Harris’ performance were negative. Carly Cloward, secretary for the Young Democrats of WWU, was “surprised but delighted to hear” Kamala call for the banning of private prisons. However, she was disappointed by the awkward back-and-forth on the issue of fracking that ultimately resulted in Harris taking a very bold stance against banning it.

The handling of the private prisons issue is an “excellent example of the different kinds of leadership between these two parties,” said Co-chair Elijah Rakha-Sheketoff, describing private prisons as “woefully unpopular with everyone but the people who lobby for them,” yet Republicans tend to obstruct efforts to ban them.

Looking forward, the upcoming debate will be the final venue in which the candidates will be able to touch on any issues of policy we might have missed out on this week.

Representative Rick Larsen, currently running for re-election in District 2, said at an online forum put on by the Young Democrats of WWU on Oct. 15 that he hopes to hear a “more fulsome discussion about the environment and climate change,” on Wednesday, saying that Biden’s plan is far more fleshed out. “I think it will make Donald Trump look like a fool.” He also would like to hear more issues of foreign policy raised, to compare those of a Trump and Biden administration.   

Councilmember Kershner listed expansion of the Supreme Court and Hunter Biden among the issues she would like to see mentioned at the final debate. At Biden’s town hall last night, he intimated that expanding the size of the Supreme Court would be a possibility, saying he’s “Open to considering what happens from that point on,” the point being the confirmation of Judge Barrett.

The Hunter story recently developed on Thursday morning when the New York Post published emails received from Rudy Giuliani, allegedly written by Hunter Biden, revealing he had introduced his father to an advisor on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma.  Kershner hopes it’s addressed again during the final debate, as she doesn’t feel Biden gave a satisfactory response to the issue during the first one.

Social media companies have taken steps to limit spread of the story, with Andy Stone, Policy Communications Manager at Facebook and previous employee of the House Majority PAC among many other political employments, tweeted that Facebook would be “reducing (the Hunter story’s) distribution on our platform.”  

Twitter, on the other hand, had temporarily censored links to the story outright, in accordance with its “hacked materials policy,” which states “we don’t permit the use of our services to directly distribute content obtained through hacking.” Any attempt to tweet the link resulted in an error message.

Twitter has since quickly updated their policy to only include materials directly distributed by the hackers themselves, according to several tweets from Twitter Legal, Policy and Trust & Safety Lead Vijaya Gadde. Whether or not any actual hacking took place to obtain these emails is not known, as is what Biden’s response to the matter.