In our contemporary media landscape, to call something “historic” is usually just used as a throwaway term to hashtag some event for the purposes of generating social media traffic. However, with regards to the recent (first) presidential debate between former president Donald Trump and the incumbent Joe Biden, the term is an apt one.

For one, this is the first time Americans have seen a rematch take place between two former presidential candidates. In the case of Grover Cleveland, the twenty-second and twenty-fourth president of the United States, it was different because he faced two different opponents at each election (James G. Blaine and Benjamin Harrison respectively). Secondly, this is the earliest a presidential debate has taken place in American history, as they usually occur in either September or October. Thirdly, since the debate was not sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates (another first since 1988) the rules were set by CNN, which included several unique ones such as there being no audience present, and the moderators having the ability to mute the microphones of the candidates.

All of this contributed to creating a truly historic presidential debate, both in terms of the event itself, specifically the issues at stake, and the reactions by the media and many Americans in its aftermath. However, rather than offering one single analysis of the debate, or repeating what has already been discussed by other outlets, The Everyman has once again decided to host an Open Forum. We asked our regular contributors for their thoughts on the debate, and in particular how they think it will affect voters and/or the outcome of the election in November. Here then are their contributions.

A Safe Bet for Middle America by Evan McClanahan

After the debate, my wife and I went for a long walk. She, and I discussed how we would have wanted to see Trump hit Biden harder during the debate. She specifically wondered why he didn’t, for example, bring up the disgusting acts that Biden is alleged to have engaged in (as per his own daughter’s diary), or why, when the topic of the Ukraine came up, the corruption involving Hunter, Burisma, and various gas deals and Eastern Europe were not mentioned. (Trump did reference the withholding of money for the firing of the prosecutor, but unless you follow politics, the average person had no idea what he was talking about.)

My thought was that Trump’s strategy was probably to hold back, exercise some self-control (for once), and allow Biden to make mistakes - which has been pretty obvious if you’ve been paying attention over the last few months – and basically to just show the world that he’s not the crazy lunatic that the mainstream media have portrayed him to be. After all, most people already know how they’re going to vote, and their minds probably cannot be changed.

One demographic that Trump needs to court is single women. However, to kick Biden while he is down, or to make the debate about personal issues or relatively abstract corruptions, would have been counterproductive in swaying those voters. So it seems that Trump’s strategy was to demonstrate that he has the ability to be constrained and temperate, and to let the extreme realities of the Democratic Party be exposed. For example, to put a man in Biden’s condition in consideration for the most powerful office in the world to me is a form of evil and utterly...well, "deplorable." It makes America appear horribly weak presently- not to mention what it means for 2025-2029!! - and invites aggression from our enemies.

So, the question is, did the strategy work? Or rather, did his performance and that contrast finally succeed in getting Trump-hating women of this country to possibly consider him and to consider giving him a second look? If that performance didn’t do it, I suggest that nothing will. But I think, even if some won’t admit it, his performance makes Trump a very safe bet for the middle part of this country who hopefully are still open to having their minds changed. And even though I do not trust our voting systems, at least in the hearts of many Americans for the upcoming election in November, I imagine that Trump won a lot of voters that night.

Biden: In or Out? by Bradley Shumaker

In general, the debate ended exactly as I was expecting it would, but with one caveat: my prediction was made for the last election. In other words; four years too late! The nagging feeling that I have carried with me over the past few years—that Joe Biden was not medically and psychologically capable of running the country—was finally confirmed as a result of this most recent debate. Not much credit to me though, as I emphatically believe that everyone, regardless of their political affiliation, already knew this (whether they have chosen to admit it or not).

Immediately after the debate, I made a point to visit the channels of different television new sources. While the reaction at Fox News was not surprising, the reaction at two other channels was much more interesting:

CNN: It was almost surreal to watch the discussion unfold immediately following the debate. Surprisingly, many of the guest speakers at CNN seemed ready to dump Biden, as opposed to offering their typical “no matter what” level of support. Instead of attacking Trump in typical fashion (as I would have expected), CNN again surprised me by more or less conceding the loss. Moreover, it even appeared as if some of the commentators were necessarily hoping for this result, so that it could be used against President Biden to replace him on the ticket.

NewsNation: While I initially had some hopes for this channel as an objective news source, it has become clear to me that NewsNation is instead seeking to become the new CNN (similar to how Newsmax is seeking to replace Fox News). After the debate, I witnessed numerous attacks on Trump, the type of which I have frequently seen at (and expected from) CNN. Perhaps someday, someone will try their hand at creating and marketing a truly objective (or even a remotely objective) television news source. Until that time, I better not hold my breath.

Besides the lack of mental acuity displayed by President Biden, my most significant observation from the night was the unexpected restraint and discipline shown by former President Trump. I was impressed by this, particularly since I was concerned that he may not have had it in him. Congratulations to both Trump and his team, which I assume pushed him hard to hold back his emotions and practice the necessary restraint.

In the big picture, I see the most important and immediate question coming out of the debate not to be who will win the upcoming election in November, but rather, in light of an absent President, who is currently running our country? The fact that we don’t know should make us all very concerned.

My prediction for the election is that Joe Biden’s unimpressive debate performance will result in him being replaced as the Democratic candidate. The harder question is: who will replace him?

Since I don’t believe this has yet been determined, we will just have to wait and see...

Biden the Biddable by Vincent Weaver

Biddable (adjective) : easily led, taught, or controlled.

My expectations of both candidates were quite low going into the recent debate. I assumed “The Donald” would be over the top, incapable of self-restraint, and missing out on many strategic chances to just shut up! He surprised me. Although some of the above aspects of his personality were certainly on display, he actually showed an appropriate amount of restraint. At times he even appeared to be compassionate – forgoing a few softballs that Biden served up time and time again. Trump showed us a mix of strength, clarity (mostly), and mental acuity. Sure, an oversized portion of his typical repetitiveness and bigly display of superlatives and hyperbole were offered, but even when he didn’t answer the moderators’ questions, there was (usually) something of substance contained in his responses and rebuttals.

Perhaps one of his most striking statements was when he made it abundantly clear that abortion and “life” are not priorities for him. He did this by stating his agreement with the recent SCOTUS decision to protect use of the abortion pill, and by claiming to not have an issue with abortion being legal in certain states. (This fence-dwelling position is further supported by his recent statements on IVF.) As hard as that was to take, I guess I have to give him credit for being honest about his pragmatism. At least he rightly portrayed Biden as “extreme” on this issue.

Even with my low expectations of President Biden, he surprised me by going even lower. I’ve been watching POTUS debates since 1980, and never have I seen such a disaster on parade as the performance he gave that night. He was strangely rehearsed for the first two minutes, having clearly memorized a list of data points that someone must have thought were worth mentioning, and then delivering them with all the aplomb of a nervous sixth grade boy at a mandatory poetry recital. He was frequently incoherent and made many statements that were just plain wrong (e.g. “created 15,000 new jobs” – is that really what you meant to say?). He lost his train of thought in a cringeworthy fashion several (many?) times and simply looked lost – both when he was speaking and while waiting out Trump’s comments. Though little was said about this quip afterwards, one of the policy ideas he tossed out was a stunner - a $10K tax credit for buying a home just because you’re black. Really? Treating entire groups of people like they’re less capable than others just because of their melanin count?

Besides Trump’s occasional restraint, the highlight of the debate for me was…the moderators (I know right?). They were surprisingly fair. Props to them. This was CNN at their best. I liked the microphone shut off feature when it wasn’t a candidate’s turn to talk, too. I hope to see it used more in future debates.

Bottom line – this was a bloodbath. Rarely (if ever) have I seen such a disparate difference in candidates. Though I’m not a huge fan of Trump, I give him credit. He brought his ‘A’ game. And as for Biden? He failed on every level. It would seem there are consequences to being “biddable”.

Two Plus Two Equals Five, or Four? By Peter Merkl

For us deplorables, as for Orwell’s proles, two plus two can’t equal five. If you’re a carpenter, accountant, machinist, bank teller, or work a cash register, two plus two must equal four, or you’re fired. Reality for our coddled elites, however, exists primarily between their ears. So, they have the privilege of viewing it through the prism of their malign ideology, and two plus two can easily equal five.

For example, to a deplorable, allowing a broad-shouldered, trans behemoth, like Lia Thomas (The trans movement will be taken a little more seriously when they stop choosing designer names like Lia and Caitlyn. By the way, where are the trans Gertrudes and Margarets?). To permit the crushing of the competition in the women’s 500-yard freestyle NCAA swimming championship is an unspeakable injustice to each of the women who have sacrificed so much for so many years to qualify for that race: two plus two equals four. However, our elites are instead stubbornly blind to that glaring injustice and see it as a solemn moment of social progress: two plus two equals five.

Ditto the crisis at the border that is spilling over and bankrupting our cities; the perverse proliferation of squalid homeless encampments; allowing 15-year-olds, who aren’t yet mature enough to get a tattoo or order a beer, to undergo “gender-affirming surgeries”; and all the rest of our elites’ loopy agenda – most especially including them not seeing the obvious infirmity of our president.

Like most deplorables, I was stunned by the gambling-in-Casablanca level of astonishment of our elites to Joe Biden’s debate performance. We’d already seen him read his stage notes aloud while giving a speech, wander off aimlessly from events, fall up stairs, fall down at the Air Force Academy, conduct meetings by reading from index cards, hold the fewest press conferences of any president, and him being deemed too senile to be charged with a crime. What was there to be surprised about last Thursday night? What could cause our elites to suddenly see the president’s condition unfiltered by their all-consuming ideology?

It turns out that the one thing that will force elites to finally see reality is the threat of losing power. The moment it became apparent that the president’s senility is jeopardizing his reelection chances, two plus two now equals four.

Zombie Liberalism vs. Consumer Conservatism by Colby Anderson

The first five minutes of the first presidential debate of 2024 were perhaps the most eye-opening I have ever seen. Here, unfolding before the entire country, was a spectacle so ridiculous and simultaneously pregnant with meaning, the Platonic form of American politics as it stands today.

On the one hand, Biden, shuffling cadaverously, stumbling through talking points that were likely drilled into him a thousand times at the behest of aids and handlers, was a fitting representative of the cult and creed of the managerial elite, a true avatar of the Democratic Party. That is to say, he accurately represented the spirit of the rulers, a kind of zombie liberalism puppeteered into the turbulent waters of these next few decades only by the arcane knowledge and will of an increasingly embarrassed elite.

On the other side, there was Trump, who has for years now cultivated an image as the Christ-figure for deracinated, consumer-conservatism. The actual substance of what was said (had there been any substance) would matter little, for what was on display on the debate stage were, to my mind, two Dickensian specters.

Biden called to Blue America like a challenge from the grave: see how your stifling new religion has drained the marrow from our bones, such that we can see a doddering old man embarrass himself on the stage and still call him President and cheer him on. Trump called to Red America and asked: is all we are but noise-makers, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing?

As for the impact of the debate upon the election, I sense that those who continue to delude themselves that Biden is not a puppet on a string will find this more and more difficult to believe, and will begin to ask the question why? Why indeed would they need to keep this charade afloat? If they will lie to your face, and tell you the sky is red, what else will they lie about? How many layers of programmatic thought-terminating idioms will it take to keep that sliver of people believing the Emperor still has clothes?

I suspect, however, this may be a rather small cadre of people, with not much consequence for the election. To tell the truth, I believe most committed leftists know that Biden is a vegetable, have known it for some time, and do not care. For them, a regency is just as good as a kingdom.

A Debate that Raises Serious Questions by J. Antonio Juarez

No matter the topic, theology, politics or public policy, I am generally not a fan of debates. Ever since the dawn social media I have observed that the term “your average American” has morphed into “your average viewer,” and now usually means someone who has been conditioned to absorb complex and nuanced issues in sound-byte and meme tranches only. The epitome of this doleful “new normal” are political debates where, more often than not, the candidates just talk past one another with a series of canned responses and talking points.

Thus, when the debate between Trump and Biden was first announced, I was not hopeful for anything other than replays from the last time these men went face-to-face. And given the tense tenor of our political climate and the non-stop jibber-jabber from the Democrats and the Legacy media regarding Trump’s alleged totalitarian ambitions, Trump’s overbearing demeanor at his first debate in 2020 was something he could not afford to repeat this time around.

A lot of it was what I expected, but there were some surprises. Despite CNN’s attempt to hamper Trump (or help Biden), including Dana Bash’s allegedly trying to provide Biden with messages via hand signals, Trump did remarkably well, although he ignored a lot of the questions and gave what I thought rather lackluster answers to others. Comically, even the muting of microphones did not go as planned, as it was still possible to hear some of the off-mic remarks, such as Trump admonishing Biden to not “act like children” when they were discussing their golf games.

As for Biden, what more needs to be said? He clearly has dementia, and as someone who cares for an individual who also suffers from it, there was no joy in watching a man who is president of the most powerful nation in the world looking and speaking the in the manner he did that night. However, despite feeling some relief that the world could now see past their Trump Derangement Syndrome and accept what a lot of other Americans have known for some time, the debate left me with some unsettling questions.

1. The Legacy Media have been Outed as Shills

To those right of center, it has become an accepted fact that the Legacy Media are operating as shills for the DNC. Every time Biden’s mental decline has been brought up by people like Joe Scarborough, Rachel Maddow, Harry Sisson, or Chuck Todd, they have all rushed to his defense by claiming that the “attacks” are just mere “cheapfakes.” But the debate has now proved to everyone (who doesn’t mistake their social media feeds for real life), that the only thing about this presidential campaign that is “cheap” and “fake” is their reporting. For those who have studied Orwell, this is “Black-White,” which is “the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts" and a "loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this." The media is now stuck defending the undeniable, so as not to: be seen as Trump-enablers (or worse), to lose access to the White House, or admit that they were lying all along.

2. If Biden has Dementia, then Who is Running the Country?

After watching Jill Biden walk Joe off the CNN stage and then give a post-debate pep rally with Joe standing sheepishly nearby, one has to wonder, who is really running the country? It is certainly not Joe. The most obvious answer is that it is a combination of Jill “Lady MacBeth” Biden and the rest of the Biden family, who stand to lose a lifetime power, wealth and influence after Joe is gone (either by losing the election or when he passes). Then again, it could also be another blatant indicator of the existence of the Deep State and the threat it poses to our Republic, given that our nation somehow manages to operate (albeit abysmally) on a daily basis despite being led by a dotard like Joe.

3. Our Nation is both Seen, and is in Fact,Weak

Just because our republic is still “running” does not meant that it is doing well, let alone prospering. For better or worse, our leaders embody our national ideals and the strength or weakness of our nation. After last week’s debate performance, it is hard to see how we do not appear weak and worthy of derision to the rest of the world.

As former CIA operations officer and host of The Wright Report, Bryan Dean Wright noted, Biden’s performance at the debate, and the “BlackWhite” defense of him afterwards by his supporters, have revealed to many Americans that, “the leaders that you thought you knew, in the country that you thought you lived in, are not quite what they seem” as “by all reasonable measures we live in an ecosystem of secrets, corruption and secret applications of the’s starting to resemble a regime, not a republic complete with insular ruling family, their staff and party officials who happy to look the other way to curry favor, power or money.”

None of this is good for our country, as enemy nations like China and Russia, and cheap opportunists like just about every nation south of our border, are no doubt going to exploit the weakness that Biden and his administration are projecting to the world. And if they ultimately conclude that Trump may win the election, they may go all out, and may do so very quickly. According to Wright, America is now the kind of nation that the CIA and other foreign intelligence services around the world have historically sought to infiltrate. They do so in an attempt to recruit unsatisfied people, who they seek to exploit for their own nefarious purposes.

Of course, just like Biden’s dementia, we all know this is already happening. The only question before us now is whether our nation has the resolve to do something about it.