TV debate against Trump: Is Biden still the right candidate?

Joe Biden and Donald Trump have faced off in the first televised debate between the US presidential candidates. Biden called Trump a liar and a criminal with the "morals of an alley cat" while Trump made the unsubstantiated claim that the immigration policy of the "worst president of all time" had boosted crime rates. The European press is unanimous that Biden in particular failed to convince.

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Kristeligt Dagblad (DK) /

Replace Biden with a proper centrist candidate

After the TV debate, Kristeligt Dagblad has one wish:

“Reasonable individuals in the Democratic Party should convince Biden before the Democratic National Convention in August that he needs to step down, and then the party must rally around a single candidate who appeals to the large, broad middle group: the swing voters. It is possible that the more active and woke members of the Democratic Party will want a more radical candidate, but they too will have to come their senses. There are bigger things at stake than minority rights, pronouns and identity politics. All reasonable forces in the United States must gather in the middle.”

Jutarnji list (HR) /

Spinelessness setting stage for disaster

Biden should have retired long ago, says Jutarnji list:

“The worst part is that they knew all this last year when the Democrats still had plenty of time to choose a candidate capable of standing up to the evil Trump. But no one was willing to confront the Biden establishment and risk being labelled a 'traitor'. This behaviour is to blame for the disaster that is now looming. Donald Trump is a fascist villain who poses a threat to American democracy. ... His victory will have dire consequences from Washington to Kyiv and Gaza, and all because the Democrats didn't have the courage to say to Biden: Joe, thanks for everything, but it's time to make way for a new generation.” (BG) /

Democrats at a dead end

The party has spent too long speculating that most voters will be frightened off by Trump, writes:

“If they withdraw Joe Biden's candidacy, it will mean that they are finally acknowledging the president's problems that they have been deliberately denying in public for so long. ... If Joe Biden remains in the running, there is a very real danger that the scenes we saw in the TV debate will continue on the campaign trail. ... Since Donald Trump appeared on the US political stage, the Democrats have relied on his divisive personality and on him providing the rope to hang himself. They are now facing the very same problems with Biden.”

Ilta-Sanomat (FI) /

Lacking charisma

The course of the debate fuels doubts about Biden, writes Ilta-Sanomat:

“Biden coughed, struggled to find words, stared glassy-eyed into the camera and generally came across as tired and about as charismatic as old, faded wallpaper. ... In addition to his uncertainty, Biden was also far too nice to his opponent. The incumbent president's greatest weapons – the abortion issue and Trump's criminal conviction – played a minor role in the debate. ... The seeds of doubt over Biden's leadership qualities had already been sown, but judging by the reactions, they are now beginning to sprout.”

BBC (GB) /

Biden in trouble

The incumbent president's weak performance is likely to revive the debate about a change of candidate, the BBC says:

“The president came into the debate with a low bar to clear, and he stumbled. ... The Democrats have their convention in August, when they will be able to offer a more scripted vision of a second Biden term for Americans. And there's another debate scheduled for September, which - if it happens - will be fresher in American minds as they head to the polls in November. That may be cold comfort for Democrats, though, as they may be wondering whether a second chance at Mr Trump on the debate stage will turn out any different for their man. And some, at this point, may be thinking about how they might get a different nominee at their August convention.”

Wprost (PL) /

Wait and see

In Wprost's view, the outcome is still open:

“A barrage of lies and half-truths came out of the Republican's mouth, and his pompous and flippant stance on the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East is worrying. ... Nonetheless, Joe Biden's staff may have a serious problem. ... Already during the debate, people were saying that Donald Trump would seem more reasonable in the eyes of the average American. ... Joe Biden's answers were too complex and hard to understand because his voice was so raspy and he was constantly clearing his throat. After this debate, only one thing is certain: the question of who will win the US elections remains open. Especially with another four months to go before the – an eternity in politics.”