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Into the Presidential Debate: Race, Protests and Police

The first presidential debate of 2020 was dizzying to watch. We’re stepping back and breaking down how the candidates handled one segment on race, protests, and policing.

About the episode:

Tuesday night, Democratic nominee Joe Biden and President Trump met in Cleveland, Ohio for the first Presidential Debate of 2020. For 90 minutes, the candidates debated topics ranging from the Supreme Court to COVID-19, as well as one segment on race and policing.

It was during that section that President Trump made the biggest news of the night in refusing to denounce white supremacists. He told the Proud Boys, a violent hate group, to “stand back and stand by.” Trump’s spokespeople have since claimed the president meant to tell them to “stand down,” but that’s not how social media and many Americans heard those words.

From a podium six feet away, Joe Biden, who has said he got into the race because of Trump’s Charlottesville comments, had his own past to answer for. He's one of the authors of the harsh 1994 Crime Bill. Biden has since championed policing reform, but he still hasn’t gone as far as many on his left would like and pushed for police defunding. In the debate, he walked a political tightrope with progressives on one side and moderate voters on the other.

Political analyst Tiffany Cross is a frequent contributor to MSNBC and the author of Say It Louder: Black Voters, White Narratives, and Saving Our Democracy. She joined Trymaine Lee to unpack the debate.

Find the transcript here.

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