Local politicians, political experts react to the first presidential debate

Local politicians, political experts react to the first presidential debate

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - The first presidential debate drew reactions from both sides of the aisle.

Both Rep. Jeremy Munson (R - Lake Crystal) and Sen. Nick Frentz (DFL - North Mankato) said they were unhappy with the structure of Tuesday night’s debate.

“Well, like most of America, I was pretty disappointed with how confrontational the debate was. The whole point of the debate is to contrast with your opponent and to convince people that you’re the right candidate. I don’t know if last night’s debate actually made any headway in convincing voters who were undecided to vote for them," Munson said.

“Well I think it’s a disappointment when people want to hear what the candidates' positions are and how they feel and the debate loses its structure. I think it’s better when candidates get a time to talk, get to say what they want to the people and then there’s time for rebuttal," said Frentz.

Political experts, like Dr. Fred Slocum, an associate professor of political science at Minnesota State University, Mankato, said the debate might not have swung the needle for voters.

“I think for diehard Trump supporters it just reinforced their commitment to vote for him. For diehard Biden supporters, I think it reinforced their commitment to vote for him. For undecided voters or voters kind of on the fence between the two, I don’t think that Trump helped his case," he said.

Slocum said typically, debates serve as a chance for the candidates to introduce themselves.

“And to outline their policy positions and policy agendas if they were to be elected president. And also to compare and contrast," he said.

President Trump and former vice president and Democratic Nominee Joe Biden are scheduled to debate two more times before the election.

The first presidential debate covered a wide range of topics from COVID-19 to the Supreme Court.

Munson said he agrees with the president that he should appoint the next Supreme Court Justice.

“The president, and he’ll be president to January, has the right to appoint a justice,” he said.

Meanwhile, Frentz sided with Biden.

“I think it gives the new justice a better chance to have a mandate from the people and have the voices of people be heard,” he said.

During the debate, the president did not denounce white supremacy.

“I think that was arguably the single most important event of the entire debate,” Frentz said. “Either we’re all in it together or we’re not, and we all have to disavow any groups who promote any type of racial inequality.”

Munson said in future debates, he is hoping the candidates have conversations about health care and the budget.

“I think that the federal government, just like the state government, is coming into a serious budget deficit and how we’re going to address that,” he said. “I hope we have a serious conversation about how to get our deficit under control.”

Frentz agreed, saying, “The federal debt is rising. I think as part of a discussion about the economy, all of us have to watch the bottom line, and all of us have to watch debt. I would have thought we would have had a little more discussion about that.”

President Trump and Joe Biden returned to the campaign trail Tuesday.

The vice presidential debate is next week.

Copyright 2020 KEYC. All rights reserved.