Why We Can’t Stop Worrying About Joe Biden

Once upon a time, presidential debates were the kind of thing that only interested certain people. If you weren’t a political science major or maybe just a huge supporter of one of the candidates, it was easy to just tune out the debate altogether.

However, the first debate in 2024 between the incumbent president Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump was historic for all the wrong reasons. Countless people tuned in out of morbid curiosity, wanting to see if Biden would be full of life or the embodiment of his Trump-given nickname “Sleepy Joe.”

Unfortunately, Biden did so poorly during the debate that his biggest supporters wished “sleepy” was the worst anyone could say about it. Want to get up to speed on how bad this got or maybe just relive the cringiest moments of the debate? Keep reading to discover Joe Biden’s worst moments from the first 2024 presidential debate.

The split-screen format exposed Biden’s weaknesses

One of the more surreal moments of the debate was that Joe Biden could look bad without even opening his mouth. Wait, scratch that…considering that Biden spent much of the time with his mouth weirdly agape, it’s fair to say that he looked bad whether or not he opened his mouth.

This mostly came down to CNN’s split-screen showing both candidates even when only one of them was talking. On paper, this technique allows you to watch each candidate closely, including how they respond to their opponent’s claims. For Biden, though, the format constantly made him look lost and confused even as Trump looked collected and confident. 

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His bizarre claim about beating Medicare

Part of what made this presidential debate so unique is that it was a showdown between two people who had served one term (or nearly one, in Biden’s case) as president. That meant that each man could tout the different accomplishments he made while in the highest office in the land.

Unfortunately, Biden kept floundering, and it was often unclear what the heck he was even talking about. At one point, he finished a meandering, pause-filled sentence with the mysterious statement “If we finally beat Medicare.” This confused Biden’s followers while giving Trump the easy setup line where he said Biden “did beat Medicare. He beat it to death.”

Donald Trump somehow spoke for us all

One of the big reasons that Joe Biden beat Donald Trump in 2020 is that many found Trump to be a very offensive character. Typically, when he opens his mouth, he ends up saying something that much (and often most!) of the country can’t really agree with. However, at one point during the recent presidential debate, he somehow spoke for all of us.

Once again, Biden finished up a meandering and confusing point, saying “I’m going to continue to move until we get the total ban on the… the… the total initiative relative to what we’re going to do with more border patrol and more asylum officers.” Into the confusion, Trump spoke for Biden’s supporters and haters alike: “I really don’t know what he said at the end of that sentence. I don’t think he knows what he said either.”

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Screwing up the abortion discussion

Going into the debate, there were a few topics that seemed like they’d be slam dunks for Democratic contender Joe Biden. The biggest topic was abortion: after Republicans pushed to apologize Roe v. Wade and make abortion illegal in many states, it ended up costing them big time in the midterm elections. With abortion, all Biden had to do was make claims that Donald Trump and Republicans want to continue taking rights away from women.

That, uh…didn’t happen. Instead, Biden said “There are so many young women who have been… including a young woman who just was murdered and he went to the funeral. And the idea that she was murdered by an immigrant coming in… talk about that.”

In some ways, this is the worst thing Biden could have said. It didn’t attack Republicans on abortion, and it didn’t single out what Democrats were trying to do to protect reproductive freedom. Instead, Biden bizarrely linked women to being killed by illegal immigrants, basically giving his opponent–someone famous for calling for a giant wall to keep out illegal immigrants–ammo to use against the Democrats.

All those imaginary trillionaires

Another seemingly safe topic for Democrats is taxing the wealthy. Generally speaking, these politicians want to tax the ultra-rich while Republicans want to provide business-friendly tax breaks. Once again, though, Biden whiffed on what should have been an easy swing.

In response to a question, Biden claimed that America had “a thousand trillionaires.” This is absurd, and if it was true, America’s economy would be about 30 times bigger. Biden tried to correct himself by claiming he meant “billionaires,” but considering that he was still wrong (the United States has about 800 billionaires), it seemed like he hadn’t really done his homework ahead of this landmark debate.

Put it all together and one thing is for sure: we can’t stop worrying about Joe Biden, and we’re more nervous about the upcoming election than ever before.

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