DENVER (KDVR) — Nearly 29 million Americans watched the first presidential debate Tuesday night. Many took to social media to describe the bad taste it left in their mouths.
“The theory is, voters want to understand what each candidate is for,” said University of Colorado Denver’s School of Public Affairs Dean Paul Teske. “Today, there’s just so much more information about the candidates.”
Teske says historically, debates have created moments for the undecided electorate to decide on which candidate to vote for, and an opportunity for candidates to present policy.
He says we didn’t get much clarity on policy last night, but there still is some value in seeing candidates go head-to-head.
“Because of the fractured nature of social media and people on the right looking at some sites and people on the left looking at other sites, there are few opportunities where Americans can watch the same thing at the same time,” Teske said.
The cluster of conversations and interruptions between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden during Tuesday night’s debate left several people deflated, showing their displeasure on Facebook and Twitter.
“‘Fatigue’ is the right word,” said CEO of Mental Health Colorado Vincent Atchity. “Desperation, I think, at the loss of civil discourse.”
Atchity says the pressure leading up to this election can be exhausting for voters and straining for people’s mental health during an already stressful year.
“To have a constant stream of uncensored, unedited fury coming at you through social media all day long, that’s just bad medicine, and you should take that in very small doses,” Atchity said. “If you can revert to consuming all your news information in about 30 minutes a day, and then spend the rest of your day focused on things that are part of your life, doing the things that need to be done, getting the day’s work done.”
The vice presidential debate will take place on Oct. 7, with the next presidential debate set for Oct. 15.
The Presidential Debate Commission says it will be adding new tools to maintain order for the upcoming debates.