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Social Media Meltdown Over Trump and Biden’s Debate Performance

Social Media Meltdown Over Trump and Biden’s Debate Performance

The first presidential debate in 2024 between Donald Trump and Joe Biden has set social media ablaze. This highly anticipated event on Thursday night marked the first face-off between the two candidates since 2020. Both candidates had their moments, but their performances fueled a flurry of reactions online.

 "Viral clips of Trump appearing unhinged or Biden showing signs of memory lapses can easily feed into echo chambers, solidifying and amplifying these perceptions among their respective audiences. In essence, the potency of the debate lies not in the comprehensive discourse but in the isolated moments that resonate with pre-existing biases." Dr. Tauhid Zaman, associate professor of operations management at Yale University, quoted in Forbes.

Key Moments of the Debate

Here's what social media has looked like the last 24 hours.

“All of the US right now,” a user wrote on X

Trump’s False Claims

Throughout the debate, former President Donald Trump made several false claims, one of which was that Nancy Pelosi "turned down" his offer to send thousands of soldiers and the National Guard to the US Capitol during the January 6, 2021, insurrection. This statement was quickly fact-checked and debunked by multiple sources.

Biden’s Raspy Voice and Interruptions

President Joe Biden’s performance was marred by a raspy voice and moments where he jumbled his words and interrupted his own sentences. These issues were immediately noticed by viewers and became a major talking point on social media.

“Biden has looked like this the entire debate,” a user wrote on X

Lack of Handshake

Notably, there was no handshake between the two candidates as they took the stage, setting a contentious tone for the debate.

Social Media Reactions

Social media platforms, especially X (formerly Twitter), erupted with a mix of horror and humor. Users shared their thoughts on the candidates' performances, often with a touch of sarcasm and wit.

  • “All of the US right now,” a user wrote, capturing the collective dismay.
  • Connor Franta humorously commented, “bro this debate,” summing up the chaotic nature of the event.
  • Another user suggested, “Give him one of the Panera lemonades,” referring to Biden’s apparent struggle with his voice.

Divided Opinions

Reactions were divided, reflecting the polarized political landscape:

  • “Biden is saying true s*** incoherently,” one user noted. “Trump is saying fake s*** coherently. We’re f*****.”
  • Author Stephen King criticized the debate's presentation, tweeting, “DEBATE NIGHT IN AMERICA! Sweet Jesus! The networks are packaging this as entertainment, like a boxing match, and selling democracy down the river. It’s a shame.”

Highlighted Moments

Some posts highlighted specific moments from the debate:

  • “Biden coughing like Beth in Little Women I’m sure it’s fine,” compared Biden’s coughing fits to a character from the classic novel.

“Biden coughing like Beth in Little Women I’m sure it’s fine,” a user wrote on X

  • Another user joked, “I say give them both a Roku remote, and the first one to start a movie gets to be president.” This reflected the frustration and disbelief at the candidates' performances.

The Aftermath and Political Reactions

Biden’s performance drew significant criticism, even from his supporters. His moments of freezing on stage while discussing healthcare and the economy, particularly when he concluded a sentence with “if we finally beat Medicare,” were highlighted as concerning.

  • Republican strategist Mike Murphy tweeted, “Sorry, I’m voting for President Biden but a disaster so far.”
  • Stephen Hayes, editor and CEO of The Dispatch, remarked, “Let the Dem panic begin.”
  • Former top Obama communications person Johanna Maska expressed frustration, “What the hell is he saying? Dems, this doesn't work.”

SM Reactions to the Debate

Some voices on social media and in political circles suggested that Biden should consider stepping aside:

  • Journalist Nicholas Kristof wrote, “I wish Biden would reflect on this debate performance and then announce his decision to withdraw from the race, throwing the choice of Democratic nominee to the convention. Someone like @gretchenwhitmer or @SherrodBrown or @SecRaimondo could still jump in and beat Trump.”
  • Alyssa Farah Griffin, former White House director of strategic communications under Trump, noted, “Hearing from countless viewers of all political stripes and the consensus is Biden needs to be replaced. It’s worse than I believe most people imagined.”

Democratic Allies React

Democratic allies were quick to react, with some defending Biden and others acknowledging the performance issues:

  • Vice President Kamala Harris said, “There was a slow start, but there was a strong finish.”
  • David Axelrod, a longtime advisor to former President Barack Obama, commented on CNN, “I think the panic had set in. And I think you’re going to hear discussions about whether he should continue.”


Key Takeaways from the Debate

The debate amplified concerns within the Democratic Party about Biden’s age and ability to serve another term. Trump, on the other hand, used the debate to lean into his usual strategies, including making false claims and attacking Biden. 

Debate Format

With muted microphones and hands-off moderation, the debate format seemed to benefit Trump.

Impact on the Election

Despite the fiery debate, it’s uncertain how much it will shift the dynamics of the race. Both candidates have strong bases, and while the debate highlighted their weaknesses, it may not be enough to change the minds of many voters.

Social Media is Kind of... United?

The first presidential debate of 2024 between Donald Trump and Joe Biden was a spectacle that highlighted the stark differences between the two candidates. Social media reactions ranged from humorous to horrified, capturing the nation's divided sentiment. As both candidates move forward, the debate underscored the challenges each faces in convincing the American public that they are fit for the presidency. The next few months will be crucial as they continue their campaigns and prepare for the next showdown.

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