With the second presidential debate being canceled, voters are missing out.
The second presidential debate scheduled to take place Oct. 15 was canceled due to President Donald Trump refusing to take part in a virtual debate. Commission wanted to move the debate to be virtual after Trump tested positive for COVID-19, but Trump declined. With the loss of this debate, voters are missing out on being able to ask the candidates questions themselves. Iowa State students have responded to the cancellation of the debate.
The second presidential debate traditionally is a town hall forum, meaning voters can ask candidates the questions that matter to them.
“People are selected to be the representatives of voters and ask the candidates specific questions about policy or issues,” said Mack Shelley, Iowa State professor and chair of the political science department.
Both candidates are seeking their own town hall events since the debate was canceled. Trump plans on holding a town hall forum in Miami, while former Vice President Joe Biden plans to have a town hall forum in Philadelphia, which is to be aired on ABC.
Many voters have spoken out about the cancellation of the debate on Twitter and other social media platforms.
“I think that canceling the debate is an awful idea," said Michael Bryant, a sophomore in financial counseling and planning. "The people have a right to know the candidate’s opinions on the issues.”
Bryant said he was disappointed by Trump’s decline to do the virtual debate and that his refusal to take part in the virtual debate raises questions about Trump’s health.
Many voters have already cast their ballots and voted early in person or by mail, but for undecided voters, this debate could have been a factor in deciding who to vote for.
Some voters do not see the point in hosting debates so close to election day because so many people have opted to vote early or by mail.
“I don’t really think it’s unfair to voters that the debate was canceled," said Alex Almquist, a freshman in political science. "Most people have made up their minds at this point.”
Coronavirus is also something to consider concerning the safety of debates. A few days after Trump tested positive for COVID-19, he participated in a series of virtual interviews and phone calls.
“I feel that if Trump can do a virtual rally with Rush Limbaugh, he should have agreed to do a virtual debate," Almquist said. "I feel he just wanted to get out of the debate.”
Trump participated in a virtual interview with radio host Rush Limbaugh last Friday and appeared on the Fox News Tucker Carlson show via phone, which has created speculation as to why Trump does not want to participate in a virtual debate with Biden.
“The cancellation of the debate was entirely one-sided," Shelley said. "Biden’s campaign agreed to have a virtual debate, but Trump and his team did not want to."