Plenty of fireworks, little substance; local voters react to first presidential debate

By HEATHER ROBERTS
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

The first debate between President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden was full of fireworks.

But two local voters say the shouting match probably didn’t help sway anyone.

Bend Democrat Will Anderson and Bend Republican Brandon Merritt watched the debate with Central Oregon Daily News.

They admitted early on there were very little the candidates could do or say that would change their vote. However, both agreed the on-screen shouting match that took place over the next 90 minutes didn’t benefit anyone.

President Trump performed exactly as Merritt expected, in the same way that helped him win four years ago.

“This is what Trump wants,” Merritt said.

Anderson says Biden followed Trump’s lead.

“You can see the way that he’ll mutter under his breath as he talks; the way that he’ll engage in an argument like that,” Anderson said. “I’d prefer much more if he was able to have a civil conversation with the person on the other side of the stage. But, unfortunately, with the person who’s there, that’s just not possible.”

Merritt saw Biden try to play by Trump’s rules and fail.

“No one is going to do what Donald Trump does, better than he does it,” he said.

But, as the debate wore on, it grew increasingly difficult for these two voters to follow.

“I think honestly, this is a little disappointing in general because they’re both talking over each other,” Merritt said.

Each recognized their candidate’s missteps.

Anderson was concerned with Biden’s responses to Trump’s interruptions.

“We’re really not getting that much substance here, and I think that for undecided voters, that’s what they’re really looking for,” he said.

For Merritt, it was Trump’s statements about Hunter Biden’s military service.

“I believe families, for a lot of reasons, should be excused and not be talked about on a world stage like this,” Merritt said.

Next up, the Vice Presidential debate is October 7th.

Anderson says he’s more excited about that match up.

Then, Trump and Biden go at it again, October 15.

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