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Blog Post # 4 Ben Shapiro and David Pakman’s Take on the 3rd Presidential Debate

By John McCabe

October 27, 2020

Covering news and politics on their respective radio shows, conservative commentator, Ben Shapiro, and progressive commentator, David Pakman, offer contrasting views as to who was the winner of the third presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Shapiro is the editor-in chief of The Daily Wire, a right wing, conservative website, and the host of The Ben Shapiro Show. At the age of 17, Shapiro started a nationally syndicated column and wrote two books by 21, his debut title being Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth. Shapiro did not vote for Trump in the 2016 election but is voting for him in 2020.

Pakman is the host of The David Pakman Show, a nationally syndicated radio show with progressive leanings. In 2005, Pakman began hosting a program titled Midweek Politics with David Pakman, which first aired on Valley Free Radio in Northampton, Massachusetts. Shapiro has over two million subscribers on Youtube while Pakman has over one million. Pakman voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and is voting for Biden in 2020.

Shapiro had three reasons for believing that Trump was the winner, the first having to do with Trump condemning Biden’s cautious and grave outlook on the pandemic. He began his commentary by calling Biden immoral for blaming Trump for the 200,000 plus American deaths.

“Joe Biden has been telling one lie on covid,” said Shapiro. “…that is that if Donald Trump had handled this wildly differently, then hundreds of thousands of people would be alive today…If you got an empty chair at your table, that is Donald Trump’s fault…But here was Joe Biden, overtly suggesting that Donald Trump is responsible for every American who died of covid, which is just crazy…it’s a crazy, immoral statement…”

Regarding lockdowns, Shapiro contends that Trump was successful in pointing out Biden’s plan as having “doom and gloom” connotations, suggesting that Biden’s outlook is too pessimistic for voters that were sick of the virus.

“…if Trump ends up winning the election,” said Shapiro, “one big reason is because people don’t want the doom and gloom…Joe Biden is preaching doom and gloom. Trump is not preaching doom and gloom…believe it or not, Trump is the candidate of optimism on covid. It is Biden who is the candidate of pessimism, doom, and gloom…”

Shapiro’s commentary also offered Biden’s view on the pandemic as impractical, asserting that Trump is correct in his view that the nation has to learn to “live with” the virus, and is also clever for saying Biden would rather lock himself up in his basement.

After Biden stated that he would not rule out another shutdown, Shapiro considered that another strength for Trump’s argument.

“…this is good from Trump,” said Shapiro. “All day long, he [Biden] just talks about shutdowns. Democrats keep talking about shutdowns. ‘We have to open everything’, is what Trump says. That may be a vision that Americans are going to embrace, particularly if you have kids…there are a lot of people out there who are not on board with lockdown culture.”

In his video title, Pakman suggested that Biden had “eviscerated” Trump in the debate. Regarding COVID-19, Pakman was relentless in his criticism of Trump from the moment the debate began.

“And even from the get-go,” said Pakman, “Trump entering with no mask. Joe Biden with a mask. All emblematic, a microcosm of the entire portion of the debate about coronavirus, which was usual, and, as I expected, one of the worst parts of the debate for Donald Trump. Trump immediately trying to defend his work on coronavirus, defending the indefensible, and predictably making no sense…”

While Shapiro thought Biden blaming Trump for the 200,000 plus coronavirus related deaths was immoral, Pakman saw it as a strong offensive maneuver.

“Joe Biden shot out of a cannon immediately says, ‘Listen, any president who oversees 220,000 deaths, they can’t continue to be president.’ You don’t re-elect someone on the heels of such a failure.”

Additionally, Pakman also dismissed Trump’s basement smear against Biden as “an example of Trump throwing a punch that just missed everything.”

In his breakdown, Shapiro believed that Trump’s second-best debate tactic was trying to promote Biden as a corrupt politician. However, when Trump referred to Biden as “the big man”, along with other vague assertions pertaining to corruption, Shapiro conceded that a lot Trump’s claims against Biden were conflated, as well as not true.

When Shapiro said that it was true that Hunter Biden picked up three and a half million dollars from Elena Baturina, along with other funds from Ukraine, he also granted that there was no direct evidence to suggest that Biden had directly benefitted from his son. However, Shapiro was still of the opinion that there were some questionable elements to Hunter Biden’s joint venture in China.

“It is true that Hunter Biden was picking up bags of cash in China,” said Shapiro, “and this is where things have gotten a little dicey…There are emails suggesting that perhaps Joe Biden had something to do with it. Joe Biden has denied all of that. But here’s the bottom line: if you’re watching this debate and this is the first time you’re hearing any of this, this does change your impression of Joe Biden just a little bit…”

As far as corruption is concerned, Pakman thought Biden won that side of the debate, especially in lieu of Donald Trump paying $750 in federal income taxes in 2017. Pakman not only tacitly dismissed Trump’s corruption accusations against Biden as desperate, but also mocked Trump for referring to Biden as the “big man.” Unlike Shapiro, Pakman didn’t seem to think that Trump’s mentioning of Hunter Biden had any weight as a debate tactic.

“And then this is where it almost seemed like Trump was unaware of his surroundings and not even understanding what he was saying,” said Pakman. “He starts using this mafia-esque language to accuse Biden of giving money to the ‘big men.’ Nobody could understand what he was talking about…One of the most incoherent attacks of the night…”

While both commentators predictably had opposing opinions as to which candidate won the debate, their concluding reasons are fascinating.

Shapiro seems to believe that Trump’s third strength was accusing Biden of being in politics for forty plus years and not accomplishing any of the policies he claims to be running on. Pakman, on the other hand, thought Biden’s final offensive strength had to do when Trump slammed pandemic aid as a “big bailout for badly run Democrats’ cities and states.”

“This was maybe the worst moment of the debate for Trump,” said Pakman. “Trump, again, pulling out this line of attacking so-called ‘Democrat’ cities and states, which is a message of complete division…Joe Biden perfectly responding to that divisive message, saying, ‘Listen, I’m not going to talk about blue states and red states. I’m a Democrat running for president. I will be the president running for everybody, regardless of what state you’re in.”

With the presidential election among the horizon, a short time will tell as to who the victor of last night’s debate was, an answer many Americans are anxious to find out.

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