ABC's Town Hall with Joe Biden showed us a relaxed, clear spoken, and consistently on message candidate taking a deep dive into his plans for America's future.
Onstage, Joe Biden reminded us he's a political candidate who can substantively answer any question he's asked, instead of one who tries to distract us with internet conspiracy theories, tabloid stunts, and bluster.
After four chaotic years that are concluding with an increasingly out of control pandemic, millions out of work, thousands of businesses shuttered, and 220,000 American dead from Covid-19, Biden's poise and his sense of urgency about the need for a national course correction was a welcome change in itself.
Twitter, his opponent's go-to forum for all things political, decided the winner of the conflicting Town Halls moments after they concluded. The hashtag #BidenTownHall was instantly trending at number one nationwide across the USA, a development that must have drawn his opponent's ire.
.@realDonaldTrump was too scared to debate @JoeBiden tonight so we thought we'd help. The choice in this race could not be more clear.#BidenTownHall #TrumpTownHall #Election2020 pic.twitter.com/ovDiDbfp4z— American Bridge 21st Century (@American_Bridge) October 16, 2020
Biden used every opportunity to draw sharp contrasts between himself and the often unhinged rhetoric of his opponent in the race: “We're a diverse country,” he told one prospective voter. “Unless we are able to treat people equally, we're just never going to meet our potential.”
“I'm running as a proud Democrat,” he continued, “but I’m going to be an American President. I'm going to take care of those who voted against me as well as those who voted for me. For real. That’s what presidents do, we’ve got to heal this nation.”
To underline his hands across the aisle approach he made fun of his own cultural inheritance: “A guy who won the Pulitzer prize wrote a book and said, I doubt Joe Biden is Irish - he doesn't hold a grudge."
His message and promise was a speedy return to E pluribus unum (Out of many, one): “If I'm elected president,” he continued, “you won't hear me race-baiting, you won't hear me dividing - you'll hear me trying to unify.”
Joe won the night. Trump looked like a guy trying to talk his way out of a DUI arrest. #BidenTownHall— Alex Cole (@acnewsitics) October 16, 2020
His opponent Donald Trump refused to participate in a second debate with Biden after his disastrous performance in the first one. But then Trump, his closest family members, and multiple White House spokespeople and staffers all contracted the coronavirus after a super spreader event (and after having publicly mocked Biden for months for wearing a mask) and all had to quarantine for weeks.
So Trump's own personal recklessness contrasts increasingly sharply with the measured, thoughtful, and pragmatic approach to health and campaigning taken by Biden. Even the steps they have taken (or not taken) to secure the well being of the security details around them have shown how different they are in their values and outlooks
If this race comes down to which candidate makes you cringe less and look forward more – and it looks like it's going to - by that template Biden is already winning handsomely.