Second TV debate between Trump and Biden

Donald Trump and Joe Biden have squared off in their second and final TV debate. This time the discussion was more tempered than in the first debate, in which Trump barely let Biden get a word in and both candidates insulted each other. Almost 50 million Americans have already voted by mail. Were the candidates able to win over undecided voters last night?

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De Standaard (BE) /

Almost a normal politician

This meeting was a good contribution to democracy, De Standaard notes with relief:

“The surprise of the evening was Trump. ... He spoke coherently and mostly stuck to the point. In terms of content, he lined up lies, perversions, conspiracy theories and grotesque accusations. A president who shamelessly portrays the fantasies of the far-right media as facts will always be bizarre in a traditional democracy. ... But despite the many fantasies and lies, Trump showed more expertise and concentration than usual. He often resembled a normal politician. ... We haven't seen Trump so clearly for a long time. But that applies even more so to Biden, who was anything but 'sleepy'.”

Financial Times (GB) /

Trump kept his word on foreign policy

Trump can rightly boast about geostrategic successes, the Financial Times acknowledges:

“He has not started any new wars. He has withdrawn US troops from Afghanistan and the Middle East. The IS militias have lost their territory and the leader of the terrorist group was killed in an attack by a US special unit. The US allies were forced to think about a world in which the US no longer takes on the role of guarantor of security. Most importantly, in a world marked by rivalry between great powers, Trump has identified China as the greatest threat to the US. One may disagree on some or all of the points just made. However, it's hard to argue that Trump made false promises during his 2016 campaign.”

Ilta-Sanomat (FI) /

Personality will be the decisive factor

The majority of US voters would like a more empathic president, Ilta-Sanomat is convinced:

“Although political issues were also discussed in the debate, it is clear that ideas about the candidates' character have a greater influence on the election decision. ... There is a group of vehement Republicans in the US and about as many staunch Democrats. Those in between choose their candidate primarily on the basis of their ideas about their personality. All indications are that centrist voters have had enough of Trump's zeal and egocentrism. Biden has shown his ability to be empathetic. In the midst of the pandemic and the economic crisis, this is a quality that could lead to an election victory.”