Tuesday night’s presidential debate was a farce. President Donald Trump’s constant heckling showed, yet again, his deep flaws as a leader. He deprived America of the opportunity to compare his vision to former Vice President Joe Biden’s. Trump demonstrated he was unqualified for the job, full stop. 

Biden is the only choice for president. And his election is too urgently needed to allow Trump’s shameful attacks on civil debate to drag down voters’ enthusiasm. Only a Biden presidency can restore stable governance and unwind Trump’s executive chaos. 

Biden has a long record of significant public service, through six terms in the U.S. Senate and eight years in President Barack Obama’s administration. Throughout his public life, he comported himself with dignity and statesmanship. As vice president and chairman of the Senate’s Judiciary and Foreign Relations committees, he often brokered bipartisan deals, an ability sorely missed in the Trump era.

Through the mess of the debate, Biden offered thoughtful explanations of how his presidency can help everyday Americans. The tragic loss of his wife and daughter in a 1972 car crash resonated in his empathy for families of the 200,000 Americans killed by COVID-19. And his pride in son Hunter Biden’s ability to overcome drug addiction is familiar to families across America. 

These are values Americans need while trying to emerge from a pandemic and economic crisis. Biden has comprehensive plans to address coronavirus through rational, science-driven national leadership, where Trump failed. He is a staunch defender of access to health insurance, which Trump’s overzealous attack on Obamacare would inhibit.

Biden’s administration would rejoin the global alliance against climate change. And he has embraced the cause of economic equity for people of all races. In appalling contrast, Trump sidles up to white supremacists and eliminated funding for racial sensitivity training in government.

Advertising

Remember this: Given the chance to denounce supremacists in the debate, this American president told the violent supremacist Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.” The group’s members reacted online with delight; by Wednesday morning, the group was hawking T-shirts with Trump’s words on them. 

Trump spewed trash, attempting to obscure the record, vision and decency of the fine man and public servant who opposes him.

Decency and truth matter. Where Trump bullies and lies, Biden listens and offers help. Trump’s bluster got him past 90 minutes on the debate stage. But it is a liability in a federal office where complicated problems, domestic and global, can’t be shouted down. 

Voters can make this right Nov. 3. They can reassert American governance by democracy, not by executive force. Trump’s attacks on the democratic process are brazen. He has attacked voting by mail, with no factual basis, for months. From the debate stage, he again encouraged supporters to enter polling places on election day, “to watch.” And he has repeatedly refused to say he would accept a loss and depart office peaceably. 

Trump showed his contempt for democratic normalcy by upending the debate to drown out Biden’s patience and dignity. Undecided voters — especially faithful Republicans who believe in principled governance — should respond to the nation’s need for decency and authentic leadership. Joe Biden is the only qualified choice for president. 

Editor’s note: The comment thread on this story has been removed due to too many comments that violate our Code of Conduct.