What linked America’s un-presidential non-debate with a vegetable market in a poor country?


Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

As the US vice-presidential debate – the debate of the deputies – rolls around on October 7, two key takeaways are worth noting from the so-called first presidential debate on September 29.

That the slugfest was neither presidential, nor a debate goes without saying.

But the reporting and analysis of the world’s dismayed reaction to Donald Trump’s conduct in that ‘debate’ throws up some surprising ideas.

For instance, that it may also lessen American dominance of the field of communication.

Consider this.

English-language students in Japan are likely to ignore the 2020 “debate” when it comes to studying the art and craft of speaking the language. The New York Times has a telling quote from Yujin Yaguchi, a professor of American Studies at the University of Tokyo.

The professor said that English-language students in Japan often watch US presidential debates to study speech technique. “What we saw today is just not usable.”

The other insight came from Chinese social media. One user said that Mr Trump’s frequent interruptions of his Democratic challenger Joe Biden was akin to a quarrel at a vegetable market.

That sounds just about right for those of us who’ve grown up in countries where arguments can get heated in the vicinity of piles of tomatoes and aubergines.

Normally, we wouldn’t think about haggling over vegetables when we consider the race to the White House, but hey, perhaps Mr Trump has made America greatly viable in every context!