Final Presidential Debate Before the General Election

Key takeaways from the final Presidential Debate before the Nov. 3rd election.

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Glen Carrie on Unsplash

Bethany Campbell, Section Editor

Just 12 days before the General Election, the final presidential debate covered six topic areas, fighting COVID-19, race in America, national security, climate change, leadership, and American families, giving voters a chance to hear policy platforms, plans, and philosophies from the candidates.

NBC News’ Kristen Welker moderated the debate on Oct. 22 in Nashville, Tennessee. President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden were instructed they each have two minutes, uninterrupted, to answer her first question. The two candidates were asked on behalf of the voters to speak one at a time.

Fighting COVID-19

Welker asked each candidate how they would lead the country during the next stage in the coronavirus crisis.

“We have a vaccine that’s coming. It’s ready. It’s going to be announced within weeks. And it’s going to be delivered. We have Operation Warp Speed, which the military is going to distribute the vaccine,” said President Donald Trump. There is no evidence to support his claim.

“What I would do is make sure we have everyone encouraged to wear a mask all the time. I would make sure we move into the direction of rapid testing, investing in rapid testing. I would make sure that we set up national standards as to how to open up schools and open up businesses so they can be safe and give them the wherewithal, the financial resources to be able to do that,” said Former Vice President Joe Biden.

National Security

“Just last night, top intelligence officials confirmed again that both Russia and Iran are working to influence this election. Both countries have obtained U.S. voter registration information, these officials say, and Iran sent intimidating messages to Florida voters,” said Welker.

Both candidates were asked what they would do to put an end to this threat:

Biden: any country that interferes with the American election would pay the price as they interfere with American sovereignty.

Trump: both countries want Biden to lose because no one is tougher on Russia between the sanctions than Donald Trump.

American Families

More than 20 million Americans receive health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Asked what he would do if he repealed the ACA, President Trump said he would end Obamacare and create a brand new, beautiful health care system, always protecting people with pre-existing conditions.

Biden: healthcare plans call for building onto Obamacare. Biden then asked for follow-up; what would his plan be if it were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court?

Biden explained he plans to build on the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

Biden: passing Obamacare with a public option, becoming Bidencare. Meaning if you do not have the resources, you qualify for Medicare. If your state does not have funding, this automatically enrolls you in the program. Bidencare would eliminate private insurance, protect pre-existing conditions, reduce insurance premiums, and lower drug prices.

With 12 million Americans out of work and 8 million slipping into poverty, women and people of color are the hardest hit.

When asked why he has not been able to get them the help they need, Trump responded the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, does not want to approve it; she wants to have victories on Nov. 3 and he said the failure to pass an additional stimulus bill helps her politically.

Asked as to the Democratic party leader why he has not pushed the Democrats to get a deal for the American people, Biden responded he has, and the House have attempted, stating it passed in May summer, and it is not new. The HEROES (which stands for Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions) awaits passage through the House.

For information on voting or locating a polling place, see votespa.gov.