The second and final showdown between President Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden looked more like a normal debate than their first meeting.

But it probably hasn’t changed the race’s trajectory.

Amid a host of lies, Trump pounded Biden for failing to resolve issues such as institutional racism during his tenure in the Senate and Vice President, calling him a typical politician.

Biden criticized Trump on a political level, criticizing his handling of the pandemic and his approach to health care, the economy and immigration. But sometimes the former vice president got personal – at one point he called Trump “one of the most racist presidents we’ve had in modern history”.

Here are some insights from the last presidential debate in 2020:

Trump lowers the temperature: Trump entered the debate on Thursday with almost unanimous approval from his advisors: cooling off. No one could say for sure whether they would take the advice.

He did this for the most part – partly supported by a new muting rule that he cursed before the face-off.

Yes, he was still telling falsehoods. Yes, he still threw personal attacks. Yes, he downplayed the coronavirus – the country’s biggest single crisis – without taking responsibility for it. Yes, he insisted that hundreds of migrant children separated from their parents be well looked after.

But for most of the fight he seemed more subdued and more determined to stick to a plan. He was even polite to NBC presenter Kristen Welker, telling her at one point that he approved of her performance.

Trump’s wishful thinking: Trump’s very first answer – which was to say how he would perform in the next phase of the coronavirus – was instead based on looking backwards and thinking about a vaccine.

And like many of his replies later in the evening, Trump’s central argument seemed to be that things could be much worse. Though Trump’s response was delivered in a new, less aggressive style, it was the same rejection of the pandemic he’s been offering for months – one that voters have largely rejected.

Biden predicts a “dark winter”: Offering a much grimmer view of the virus, Biden predicted a “dark winter” was imminent when he accused Trump of declining responsibility for its spread in the United States and wasting months that he said was accelerating The production of medical protective equipment should have been used and are preparing schools and companies for the reopening.

“Anyone responsible for so many deaths shouldn’t remain President of the United States of America,” said Biden.

Biden was much more measured than Trump when discussing how he would deal with the virus. He said he will set national standards for school and business opening and look for stimulus money to help prepare.

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