Biden Regains Commanding Lead After an Ugly First Presidential Debate

Moments after the first US presidential debate wrapped up between Joe Biden and President Donald Trump, betting markets moved dramatically in the former Vice President’s favor. In the latest Bonus.com US Presidential Election Odds, Biden’s lead has climbed to just under 23 points.

During the debate, Biden led 56-44 in the tracker, but due to an aggressive, and confusing, performance by the President, the markets responded by lifting Biden to a 61.6% to 38.7% advantage.

All three betting markets have Biden hovering around 62% probability for an implied odds of -163 to win the presidency. In comparison, Trump’s drop in the Tracker pushes his odds to +163 for re-election.

Biden’s biggest lead is at BetFair where the vice president leads 61.6% to 37.5%. Trump’s highest odds rest at Betway where he has 44.4% probability for a +125 implied odds.

Three Takeaways From the First Presidential Debate

Trump Goes Aggressive

From the start, President Trump’s intentions seemed less about discussing the nation’s future and more about rattling his opponent. And while that strategy might work if he was cruising to re-election, national polls illustrate that isn’t the case. FiveThirtyEight.com shows Trump behind an average of seven points in the latest polls.

So rather than working to change voters’ minds, President Trump deployed a verbal assault of crosstalk and interruption. The resulting 90-minute debate became an incredibly frustrating watch for voters and political pundits.

“I’ve seen better-organized food fights at summer camp,” Michael Steel, a Republican strategist told the New York Times. “But Trump needed a clear ‘W,’ and he didn’t get it.”

Although criticism found its way to moderator, Fox News’ Chris Wallace, for failing to control of the debate, others wondered what anyone could have done with Trump’s style of chaos.

Biden Speaks to Americans

When President Trump repeatedly attempted to derail Biden’s time, the former vice president turned to the camera, looking to speak directly to the American people. During the most affecting, and quietest, moments of the debate, Biden touched on Trump’s coronavirus response and the economy’s struggles.

At times, Biden struggled to maintain his composure, calling President Trump “a clown” at one point. “The fact is everything he’s saying so far is a lie,” Biden told Wallace. “I’m not here to call out his lies. Everyone knows he’s a liar.”

While Trump’s outbursts certainly stifled Biden’s ability to present clear ideas to the nation, the vice president landed a few jabs that garnered attention on social media. During a moment of frustration, Biden blurted out, “You’re the worst president America has ever had.”

Trump Fails to Denounce White Supremacists

During a contentious stretch of the debate, Wallace asked Trump if he would condemn white supremacist groups. The President appeared to be ready to denounce but quickly pivoted in a shocking moment by telling the noted white supremacy group, the Proud Boys, to “stand back and stand by.”

In the moments after Trump’s declaration, white supremacist message boards blossomed with positive reactions. “The Proud Boys were quick to react to the president’s remarks. They heard them as a call to action and rapidly created ‘standing by’ memes designed to help mobilization in the group,” Joseph Carter, program manager at Graphika, a network analysis firm told the Washington Post.

In the latest New York Times/Siena College poll, Biden led Trump 81%-7% among Black voters and 59%-31% with Hispanic voters. Needing to make up his losses with college-educated white voters, Trump’s failure to secure support among minority groups could end any realistic chance at re-election.

What Happens Now?

There are still 3 debates scheduled, 2 more between Biden and Trump, and the vice presidential debate between Democratic nominee Kamala Harris and sitting Vice President Mike Pence. Pence has typically been more of a predictable political figure throughout his career than Trump, so it’s unlikely we’ll see the kind of performance out of him that we saw from his boss.

However, the way the president acted during the first presidential debate was simply not OK. Even forgetting how you feel about his politics and policies, Trump deliberately and repeatedly ignored the excruciatingly detailed debate rules carefully hammered out by the DNC and RNC ahead of the event. If the Biden camp is smart, they’ll be talking to debate officials immediately, insisting Trump abide by the rules he agreed to as a condition of even having the next 2 debates.

Trump supporters would probably seize on such a move by the Biden campaign as a form of surrender, but the fact is these two men are locked in a struggle to determine the future course of the nation after one of the most trying years in recent history. The American people are owed a chance to see the men facing off for the presidency have a genuine discussion on the issues they care about most. Trump’s incessant interrupting, and moderator Chris Wallace’s seeming inability to rein him in, did voters a grave disservice by denying them that chance. 

Last night Trump demonstrated his fear of this election becoming a referendum on his job performance and on the issues at hand, relying instead on his usual tactic of getting down in the mud. Anytime Biden was able to get a point across over more than a few sentences, Trump simply spoke over him. The problem was exacerbated by the number of times Wallace himself spoke over Biden while scolding Trump. 

In the end, last night’s debate was yet another stain on the office of the presidency and its traditions. Nobody’s mind was changed after watching it. If the upcoming contests are going to play out the same way, they are surely of limited value to voters. The Biden camp should loudly insist on rule changes, up to and including cutting the microphone of the candidate who is waiting for their turn to speak. Anything less reduces the proud tradition of cordial presidential debates to just another circus sideshow.

The next debate is the vice presidential debate, scheduled for 9 p.m. Eastern time on Oct. 7. After that, Trump and Biden are scheduled to face off again at 9 p.m. Eastern time on Oct. 15 and Oct. 22.

About the Author

Derek Worlow

Derek Worlow is a writer by trade with more than seven years of experience writing for several Fortune 500 companies. In his free time, he enjoys trading sports and stock markets, as well as watching NCAA football and English Premier League soccer.