Donald Trump vs Joe Biden: The Final Showdown

Their first encounter was the worst presidential debate ever, according to the Boston Globe and many other outlets. Less of a debate, more of a primary school squabble! So, the expectations weren't particularly high for the delayed second round between President Donald Trump and Democrat nominee Joe Biden

Thankfully, both candidates were more restrained and Kristen Welker was an excellent moderator. Firm but fair. Trump even acknowledged a compliment in her direction midway through the debate. But how did the 74-year-old get on this time against a man who is three years his senior?

This article breaks down the debate into five rough topics of conversation. 

Health and Coronavirus

Over here in the United Kingdom, people are split into two camps. There are those who think that the country should go into a short, sharp second lockdown whilst many are warming to a possible herd immunity route.

Boris Johnson and the Conservatives seem to be stuck in between and don't seem to be pleasing anybody with a current tiered system that creates different levels of localised lockdowns. America is also struggling for a clear direction. 

Biden is a supporter of the pragmatism and has talked about the possibility of further lockdown measures. He very much believes in human life over economic recovery. Trump is the opposite, reaffirming his desire to open up America.

"We can't keep this country closed. This is a massive country with a massive economy. People are losing their jobs, committing suicide," Trump declared. 

The President raised a valid issue. He mentioned the economy but then honed in on genuine issues surrounding mental health as a result of locking down. Trump touched on the very real mental challenges that come with job losses and economic insecurity, something that will have hit home with many Americans. 

The issue is that Trump's approach to tackling the virus has been a disasterclass in commanding leadership.

He correctly reminds people that he closed the borders with China in January. This suggests that he understood the severity of the virus more quickly than many others. A smart move. 

But his actions since then have been so inconsistent. He has continually downplayed the severity of the virus and has gone against the views of his own administration by not advocating the use of masks. 

At a midweek rally, Trump criticised Dr Anthony Fauci"People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots," he spouted, as reported by CNN

Pressed on the issue at the debate, Trump was more diplomatic but shifted the blame back onto his colleague. 

"I get along very well with Anthony [Fauci] but he did say don't wear a mask. He did say that this is not going to be a problem".

Trump makes a fair point in trying to smooth out the narrative but it illustrates his stubborn nature and lack of accountability. Many countries now strongly advocate wearing masks, as does his team, but Trump does not want to adapt as it would suggest that he was wrong in the first instance. He has made his decision and he is sticking to it, for better or for worse. 

Biden's desire to revamp healthcare is also a big plus for him in this situation. He is determined to protect people with pre-existing conditions, offering the public an option as to whether they contribute to a governmental healthcare plan. Such a move should provide more affordable healthcare whilst not removing the option of private healthcare for wealthier citizens. 

"Healthcare shouldn't be a privilege, it should be a right," Biden announced, a brilliant line that will have resonated with the working-class people of American.

Winner: Biden

Biden's pragmatism will not appeal to all but he gave the impression of an empathetic man; a man of common sense. He talks about trusting scientists and being adaptable to the demands of the pandemic. America needs sensible leadership to see them out of this crisis. His life-first approach is the best way to tackle a life threatening disease. 


Biden shared his desire to raise the minimum wage to $15-per-hour but Trump was reluctant. The current minimum wage in America is an hourly rate of $7.25, as reported by Investopedia, so Biden's hike would more than double the wage of some workers. 

Trump made a valid counter-argument to making such an increase. The President said that it would not be good for small businesses who are struggling as a result of the pandemic. Couple that with Biden's desire to lockdown America and you have a double whammy for businesses that have been hit hard by the coronavirus

The President then made a sensible suggestion to have different minimum wage levels per-state. Certain states will specialise in different industries and the cost of living will vary accordingly. Trump's point that money will go further in certain states was a fair assumption.

Winner: Trump 

The economy is Trump's biggest pull. His background in business has no doubt been helpful. He is a man who thinks with dollar signs in his eyes. His points in the debate were tailored towards businessmen. Biden focused more on the common American but Trump seemed to have a stronger grasp on the bigger picture. 

National Security

"[People who testified for Trump during his impeachment] said I did my job impeccably. I carried out US policy. Not one single solitary thing was out of line." 

Biden was defiantly on the front foot with regards to the recent Ukraine allegations that have been aimed at he and his son, Hunter Biden

The former Vice President then went on the attack against the President, bringing up his secret Chinese bank account and his friendly relationship with Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un

He called leaders like Kim-Jong un, "thugs", and took exception to Trump's pally approach with these people.

Essentially, both candidates had ammunition to hit the other with. Biden attacked Trump with Russia, China and North Korea while Trump countered with Ukraine and China. Verbal jousting! 

Trump made a fair point, "Having a good relationship with leaders of other countries is a good thing." 

Although, Biden hit back, saying that Barack Obama wanted to talk about denuclearisation with the leader of North Korea while Trump was happy to avoid that conversation. Trump has done better than many predicted with foreign relations but America needs a leader who is sensibly tough with the morally bankrupt. 

Winner: Biden

Trump has been a tough negotiator in international deals and treaties. His public frustrations with NATO, for example. However, he has been soft on dictators. Publicly, he seems to have cosied up to the likes of Putin. Biden might not be as successful in negotiating economic deals for America but he is probably going to be more vigilant than his opponent when it comes to his relations with controversial world leaders. 

Cultural Relations

Cultural relations has, alongside the pandemic, been a difficult topic for Trump to get to grips with. 

Biden took a strong lead on immigration. He talked from a humane perspective about dealing with asylum seekers while Trump stoked up the fear factor.

He criticised Biden's "catch and release" strategy of dealing with asylum seekers, claiming it would allow "murderers and racists" into America. The catch and release method allows asylum seekers the right to a fair hearing on American soil but Trump would prefer them to be outside of American lands until they had the relevant papers. 

Such an issue helped Trump achieve election in the first instance. A tough stance on immigration. He was simply playing to his audience; Biden went in the opposite direction. Security versus humanity. 

In the last debate, Trump took a pounding for not immediately condemning white supremacist groups, like the Proud Boys, instead going on the attack against far-left groups. While it is important to scrutinise political extremes on both sides, he was using the Left to avoid denouncing the Right

Here, he used the debate to reinforce his self-made comparison to Abraham Lincoln. However, he is right to defend himself, to some extent.

A study by BBC News highlights that black unemployment had dropped significantly under his administration, at least prior to the coronavirus. Figures also show that African-American poverty and African-American arrests had also decreased since the President's arrival. 

The main issue is with the President's use of rhetoric. His speeches are spontaneous and the wider impact of his words are simply not considered. Or maybe they are. Either way, it's an effective way of appealing to his demographic but such language has big consequences.

"He pours fuel on every single racist fire," Biden challenged, quoting his past comments on "Mexican racists" and his public condemnation of Muslims. 

The Democrat also went a step further, admitting his own past mistakes in political voting. Biden voted for stronger deterrents against drug users and oppressed groups, something that has left a sour taste in the mouths of many. But his acknowledgement of those past errors highlights Biden's desire to move with the changing times. 

Winner: Biden 

While Trump has done more for oppressed communities than many are willing to admit, he is also responsible for a lot of division between communities. Biden, by contrast, illustrates a man with compassion and stability. 

Climate Change

Trump sound like a rambling lunatic when it comes to climate change and wouldn't seem out of place in the residential home that he claims Biden should be in! 

"I know more about wind than you do," Trump told Biden. "It's extremely expensive. It kills all the birds."

Trump's lack of understanding for climate change is astounding. Some school children have a better knowledge of this global issue and the need to invest in renewable energy. 

"They want to make bigger windows into smaller windows. As far as they're concerned, if you had no windows it would be a beautiful thing," Trump said of the Democrats' plan. Sometimes, the President simply doesn't know what he is going on about!  

Biden is much more assured on climate based questions but gave Trump an open goal with his own contradiction. The Democrat has expressed his desire to eliminate fracking but claimed in the debate that he had never said this. 

"Put it on your website," Biden told Trump, adamant in his views. The President, with a wry smile, confirmed that he would. Shortly after the debate, he posted a tweet that illustrated Biden's desire to ban fracking. It currently has over 300,000 likes. 

It's quite clear that Biden opposes fracking and wants to move on from it but he realises the industry employs a lot of people. Condemning fracking risks losing out on a lot of votes. However, being disingenuous will do that as well. 

To be fair, Biden did suggest that the industry would need to reform in-line with progressive climate change measures. But his wording on the issue left Trump with an open goal to exploit. 

Trump also goaded Biden into denouncing the oil industry. He reeled Biden from the middle-ground and the Democrat announced that he wouldn't be giving federal subsidies to the oil industry, instead putting investment in renewable energy.

The President looked please with himself, slowly unravelling Biden's true intentions. To be clear, Biden's plans are for the benefit of the climate and offer long-term sustainability. Nonetheless, Biden's reluctance to lose the vote of workers in the fossil fuel industry meant that he had to be very careful with his words.

Winner: Trump 

Everybody knew that Biden was the progressive candidate on this issue and he delivered his thoughts well. But Trump scored a killer blow by exposing his rival's lack of transparency on the topic of fracking. He then reinforced his victory by getting Biden to deviate away from his middle-ground stance on oil. 


Biden is a progressive man who has bold visions for the future. Trump is a man for the moment, unless that moment is the coronavirus!

Trump's aims are largely for the here and now, never looking too far ahead, and such views are detrimental to societal progression and the battle against climate change. However, Trump is not a write-off.

His divisive character means that some people simply cannot bring themselves to commend anything that he does. But his display in this debate was a big improvement on his efforts in the first event. The Republican is simply focusing on rebooting the American economy, opening up the country and getting back to some kind of normality. He has no grand aims to tear apart existing job industries or further risk the future of small businesses. To some people, that will be a big victory. 

Politics is often more complicated than wider morals. From a moral perspective, Biden is a clear winner. He illustrated that in this debate. But people will think about their job security and their income, especially in such troublesome times. Even if he does bring chaos and division, Trump cannot be ruled out just yet.