JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The first of three presidential debates is sparking a lot of reaction. And the Commission on Presidential Debates is now looking into changes - hoping to make the remaining debates less chaotic.
“I could only endure about 10 minutes because I thought it was just a silly stupid fight between two grown men," said Debbie Masterman. "And that’s just not what America’s about to me.”
But some stuck with it and it reinforced their plan for election day.
“Donald Trump probably won the debate and Joe Biden sounded kind of lost," noted Chris Cohran. "It was entertaining to say the least. I mean, I didn’t get anything... I mean, people are going to vote for who they’re going to vote for. I don’t think it matters. The debates don’t matter one way or the other.”
“Get the President we have in office out of office," explained Theresa King. "He acted like a child last night having a tantrum. He would not allow there to be a debate. My question was, ‘Does he know how to debate?’”
Mississippi College professor Dr. Glenn J. Antizzo says the back-and-forth likely overshadowed the policy issues discussed.
“It really is going to seem, for a lot of people, like a choice between two almost equally bad choices," described Antizzo. "And that’s unfortunate. I long for the days where we could have a choice between two people who thoughtfully discuss the issues. And I’m not so sure that American politics is going in that direction. Not because the American people don’t want it but because it’s what we’re being served.”
Millsaps Department of Government and Politics Chair Dr. Nathan Shrader notes there’s one segment of the electorate that he can see that was potentially swayed to do something.
“It may have taken some Democrats who were not enthusiastic about Joe Biden and they saw Donald Trump’s behavior and that was enough for them to say, ‘Look, I wouldn’t ever vote for Trump,’" said Shrader. "I was not thrilled with Joe Biden but now I have no choice but to go vote for Biden.”
Both of those professors note that they believe Biden and Trump did what their bases expected. But admit the way it went down could’ve turned some undecided voters away.
“A lot of people felt that they got nothing out of it," said Antizzo. "It was the intellectual version of junk food. It maybe tasted good because it was entertaining to watch but I think it’s going to make people very cynical about politics and about this election.”
“There’s this growing problem we have in our democracy that is this kind of poor behavior that cuts against everything we’ve come to expect in our political process, is that here to stay?” asked Shrader.