We sampled reactions and talked to Republican voters across the nation on how they felt about Thursday’s debate in Nashville. Anonymity was granted when requested.
Melissa in Tennessee: “I did feel like Trump had a good showing. I thought Biden spoke very well. I was shockingly pleased with the debate tonight. I mean, I won’t I won’t say that I didn’t yell at the TV a couple of times for them to just turn off the mics already, but fewer times than I would have thought.”
Liz in North Carolina: “Although our president was the clear winner in last night’s debate, he missed several opportunities to use Biden’s own words as nails in his debate coffin. One such softball was Joe’s comments regarding North Korea’s nuclear capabilities. His chants of ‘sanctions, sanctions’ should have been swiftly shutdown with a pointed reminder of his enthusiasm for reinstating the Iran deal. This would have then flowed beautifully into a dig referencing Iran’s efforts to further destabilize our nation and propel Biden into office. President Trump did well last night, but his chess skills were a bit lacking.”
Dr. Tim Blessing in Pennsylvania: “At the time of the debate, the debate may have seemed to be relatively even. But on second thought, it struck me that this debate actually ran along two very different and widely separated paths: an ‘inside’ path and an ‘outside’ path. Biden, for all his talk about sitting around the kitchen table, spoke mostly ‘inside’ to his own ‘liberal/progressive’ base in terms of Covid, climate change, taxing the rich, a path to citizenship for illegal aliens, race, and foreign policy. Whether this was planned or not, Biden stuck to the new normal for the Democratic Party. Trump, on the other hand, regularly drove beyond and outside the expected Republican lines. He repeatedly referenced black and Hispanic issues. Historical Black Colleges, the draconian imprisonment regulations from the mid-nineties, the dangers to minorities from allowing the anti-police mobs free rein, the vast improvements in minority employment. Trump, who is often accused of playing only to his base, played far away from his base. Biden, supposedly representing the party of inclusion, played only to those already with him. This may have been strategy or it may simply have been a reflection of who they expected and wanted to speak to.”
A wife and mom in New York: “It was certainly more civil than the first debate—but it was also very clear to me that Trump won this debate. Trump was persuasive, offered substantive responses and arguments, and clearly has far more gravitas, energy, care for our country, and interest in doing a great job for our nation than I think Biden ever has. There is only one choice for president as far as I’m concerned, and that’s Trump. We need him for four more years. He has gotten so much done in a short time and we need him absolutely to continue on his path.”
Others reacted as well, with their wallets.
WINNING! Donald Trump Campaign: Biggest Online Fundraising Day Ever After Final Debate pic.twitter.com/jrL6837SYv
— CJTRUTH (@cjtruth) October 23, 2020
A nurse in North Carolina: “Trump was in control of not only the debate, but also of himself. His composure and commanding presence displayed strength, without arrogance, something I felt he struggled with the last debate. Biden, on the other hand, was weak, nervous, and appeared to zone out at times. He seemed to struggle with being believable, on all the issues. His fact-checkable statements, should motivate any voter not to trust their vote on him, for the sake of their family’s safety, or the future of our country.”
Stacy Shea, a South Carolina GOP political operative: “Trump’s energizing performance in last night’s debate was exactly what his campaign and his supporters needed. He reminded viewers of his unprecedented accomplishments during his first term while pointing out that Joe Biden has possibly done more harm than good during his 47 years in office. Many of us wondered whether or not Trump would go after Biden regarding his unethical, if not illegal, dealings with Ukraine and China. It would be risky to explain a complex situation during a two minute segment and if he became too aggressive, he ran the risk of something that would look more like the train wreck that was the first debate. Trump threaded the needle perfectly, questioning the source of Biden’s wealth and challenging the former vice president to explain to the American people what former Biden family business partner Tony Bobulinski shared just prior to the debate.”
Karl Rove: “The question is what you make of tonight’s debate and in that regard, I thought Biden created some real openings for President Trump in the next several days. Then, [there were] more substantive issues, like Biden said ‘I’m not for socialized medicine, I got a public option.’ Wait a minute, the public option is the government offering a health insurance policy that is subsidized with taxpayer dollars to make it cheaper than private health insurance. That’s socialized medicine. There’s a bunch of stuff like that in tonight’s debate that the president can play off of and say, ‘You see what he said in that debate? Let me tell you what the real truth of it is.'”
Hilary Forwich in DC: “While I highly doubt President Trump’s strategy was to set the bar so low after the first debate so that as long as he neither bullied nor blustered in this one he would win or at a minimum seem like the victor, it worked. Trump’s restraint came across as admirable, since every viewer could discern that he was literally biting his lip the entire time. Importantly, he was able to convey the optimism that might result in additional votes. Most tax paying Americans vote on pocket book issues, Trump kept his positive demeanor, kept up his optimistic outlook and managed to point out the corrupt concerns regarding the former Vice President Biden.”
Shelly Mateer, Editor of Opslens, Florida: “Biden’s stuttering and slurring increased as the night went on and I wondered how we could have a president that can’t be functional after 8pm. He wouldn’t be able to handle California issues, let alone Iran with time zones! It’s clear that he’s already in his own time zone. Meanwhile Trump is hopping from state to state each day, with an energy level that puts most people to shame!”
Bill Hagerty, Republican Senate nominee in Tennessee: “After tonight’s debate, it’s clear President @realDonaldTrump is the only candidate fit to run our country. #Debates2020.”
Kim in Ohio: “President Trump was exactly the person I hoped he would be last night. He was calm and collected. I think he threw Biden off. The President just had to sit back and listen to Biden put his foot in his mouth, then react with accurate comments. Thankfully the moderator wasn’t as bad as I thought she would be. Actually asked a couple questions I thought she would avoid. The President won this debate.”
Carri in Georgia: “One of his goals tonight was to highlight what he’s done in his term as president but also highlight the former vice president’s failure in his 47 years in politics.”