The Ratings for Trump's and Biden's Dueling Town Halls Are in and Everyone Is Eager to Make Sure Trump Knows
After President Donald Trump refused to debate Democratic nominee Joe Biden virtually—despite Trump testing positive for the virus that's killed over 200 thousand Americans—the Biden campaign announced that the former Vice President would participate in a solo town hall on ABC instead.
Never one to be upstage, the President later announced that he'd also be participating in a town hall on the same night, at the same time, on NBC.
The decision was a controversial one, with many accusing Trump and NBC of prioritizing a ratings duel over informing American voters.
Trump frequently makes his reverence for television ratings known, having tweeted about them nearly 400 times.
The President's critics urged everyone to watch Biden's town hall instead in order not to give Trump or NBC the satisfaction of high ratings for their stunt.
That appears to have worked.
Breaking: @JoeBiden's town hall on ABC averaged 13.9 million viewers. @realDonaldTrump's town hall across NBC, MSNBC and CNBC had a combined 13.0 million viewers. Biden won the head-to-head ratings race. Here's my full story: https://t.co/oe6cRnAedT
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) October 16, 2020
Trump's town hall, which aired on NBC, MSNBC, and CNBC garnered a total of 13 million viewers, while Biden's town hall—which aired only on ABC—drew in nearly 14 million.
People were eager to let Trump know.
This is not going to sit well with @realDonaldTrump, for whom it's all about the ratings -- https://t.co/o52j0lxN5F
— Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) October 16, 2020
.@realDonaldTrump awww buddy, look who lost the ratings war lol. https://t.co/enOVNAoK8j
— Dave 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@Cor_Blimey_Guv) October 16, 2020
Yikes! @realDonaldTrump did you see this?!?! https://t.co/6azz7u3l33
— Joey Teeple (@joeyteeple) October 16, 2020
To @realDonaldTrump @POTUS
THIS JUST IN:https://t.co/gDW41YlXoW
— Rob #IncreasingSlope (@rhiles2760) October 16, 2020
.@realDonaldTrump hey man here are those ratings you've been waiting on https://t.co/OC9Dzw3lFd
— Mike Ryan (@mikeryan) October 16, 2020
Because Biden's town hall aired on only one network—instead of Trump's three—people were surprised to see Biden outdo Trump by such a large margin.
To some, it was a sign that Trump's antics no longer carry the surprise and absurdity they did in 2016, and that people are tired.
Joe was on one network.
Trump was on three and the entirety of political media twitter.
Looks like real people want decency and competence more than a freak show. https://t.co/PtxL7A7Jt2
— Florida Chris (@chrislongview) October 16, 2020
This is a huge difference between now and then:
In 2016, Trump fascinated people. His challenge to political norms was mesmerizing to friend and foe alike.
In 2020, his shtick has gotten tired and repetitive, and its costs are much more obvious. Most have thankfully had enough. https://t.co/Tb48DGqYZf
— Yascha Mounk (@Yascha_Mounk) October 16, 2020
People like watching a trainwreck, but not the same trainwreck for four years. https://t.co/DvEjcr8NG4
— 🎃 Abbott & Costello meet ... Ben Schwartz! 🧟♂️ (@benschwartz_) October 16, 2020
The Presidential election is on November 3, but early voting has already begun in at least 40 states.