The worst loser of the night, however, may have been Wallace. He entered the night lauded as perhaps the most fearsome interviewer on national television and left as roadkill, having shown himself completely unable to control the candidates. But if even the stentorian Wallace was unable to maintain a little order, the other scheduled moderators, Steve Scully and Kristen Welker, are unlikely to fare better.
Presidential debates rarely make much difference in the race. Even the most infamous debate gaffe of them all, Gerald Ford’s 1976 insistence that there was “no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe,” had no real effect on the election. This is likely to be especially true this year, when the polls have remained surprisingly stable. Beyond that, tens of thousand of voters have already cast their ballot, and more are returned each day.
There may be some voters who were surprised to see that Trump is a blathering bully, or who were leaning toward Biden but were shaken by his lackadaisical performance. But any undecided voter who turned this debate on hoping to learn something productive must surely have been reaching for the remote control (and maybe a stiff drink) soon thereafter…
If the CPD really wishes to benefit the American electorate, it should cancel the rest of the debate season.