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The first and perhaps only presidential debate of the 2024 election in the USA ended, this Thursday (27), as a dream for Republicans and a nightmare for Democrats. In Atlanta, current President of the United States, Joe Biden, and former President Donald Trump were face to face for 90 minutes for the first time in 4 years.

Hoarse and hesitant, Biden was unable to contain Trump’s lies who, calmly and assertively, saw his opponent react to them with his jaw dropped and his appearance frozen, expressing defeat and lack of enthusiasm.

Trump won the debate not because of any virtuosity, but because perhaps the worst fears of Biden supporters are real: the president is unable to convince undecided voters, independents and anti-Trump Republicans to leave home to vote for re-election.

Proof of this were the exchanges of messages leaked to the press during the debate. “He seemed a little disoriented. He grew stronger as the debate went on. But at that point, I think panic had already set in,” said David Axelrod, a longtime Democratic operative and senior political commentator for CNN.

In total, there were 11 topics that surrounded the debate: immigration, economy, foreign policy, war in Ukraine, January 6, abortion, military spending, health plans, election integrity, social security and the candidates’ electoral conditions.

The debate began with a question for Biden about inflation. The president, his voice hoarse from the flu, responded by highlighting improvements in economic data during his term. “You need to see what I inherited when I became president” — he coughed — “what Mr. Trump left for me,” he said.

The Republican hit back by criticizing Biden for “throwing money away” and blaming him for rising inflation in the US. Biden said there was no inflation during the Republican administration because the economy was “stagnant.”

On several occasions, Trump directly criticized Biden, describing him as “weak” and little respected by global leaders who “laughed” at him. He once again stated that the conflicts in Ukraine and between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip would not happen under his management.

Another topic that stood out was Joe Biden’s management at the border. Trump paraded his far-right horror show and frequently mentioned the issue of illegal immigration, claiming that the president was allowing “terrorists” and “criminals” to enter, as well as suggesting that the economy is not thriving because of of alleged job theft by immigrants.

The debate then turned to the storming of the Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021. When asked about the attack, Trump gave a clearly rehearsed response, saying that at the time “we had an excellent border, the lowest taxes, we were respected in the world.”

Pressed by presenter Jake Tapper, Trump said he did not encourage the invasion, that he had told his supporters to act peacefully, and blamed the former speaker of the House, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, and the Democratic mayor of Washington.

Another vulnerable point for Trump, his conviction in the case in which he was accused of financial fraud to pay a porn star, appeared just before the first break, when Biden recalled the case and said that the Republican had sexual relations with Stormy Daniels while he was married. Trump responded categorically: “I have never slept with a porn star.”

The Republican repeated the speech he has been making for months, that the 34 charges for which he was convicted are unfounded and that the process is the result of alleged political persecution he is suffering from Democrats.

Minutes after the confrontation began, Democrats went into total panic at the idea of ​​going into the elections with such a diminished figure as the head of the ticket.

Without mincing words, Joe Biden needed to prove in the debate that he is not obsolete or sick and to show American voters that his opponent is a threat to democracy. He failed miserably in both tasks.

A friend of the president for more than two decades, columnist Thomas Friedman of the “New York Times” said he felt sad and cried when he said that Joe Biden, “a good man and a good president,” should not go ahead with his reelection bid.

“If this is the best performance they can get from him, it’s time for Joe to maintain the dignity he deserves and step down from the stage at the end of his term. If he does, ordinary Americans will salute Joe Biden for doing what Donald Trump never would – putting country before self.”

The debate made it clear that Democrats have a serious problem to manage before the August convention if they want to win the election in November, protect the country from the threat of democratic disruption and protect the democratic values ​​so defended by the current president.

A survey carried out by CNN, shortly after the debate, pointed out that 67% of viewers understood that Trump was better, while 33% rated Biden’s performance as better. Before the debate, the same voters said — 55% to 45% — that they expected the Republican to perform better than the Democrat.


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