The Grim Debate One-Liner That Has The Internet Buzzing

Against all odds, former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump actually took the stage for the (previously third, but actually) second and definitely final debate of this interminable election cycle. The two candidates agreed to a final round of rhetorical sparring without a stitch of plexiglass between them, though the Commission on Presidential Debates did decide (by unanimous vote) to add a mute feature, one that was automatically in effect while each candidate delivered their two-minute answers to moderator questions at the beginning of each round. That's right — President Trump had to reserve his interruptions for the "open discussion" rounds after each two-minute response.

This little change to the format was likely for the best, because without it we might never have heard the surprisingly dark quip delivered by Democratic nominee Biden in the first five minutes of the debate. Though most viewers are describing the opening volleys of the night as "civil," and "almost like a real debate," this one particular barb directed at President Trump's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic definitely hit home.

Now is the 'dark winter' of our discontent, according to Joe Biden

Early on during the COVID-19 discussion, Vice President Joe Biden warned that the country was likely entering a "dark winter." Though this is certainly an accurate description of the medical consensus as temperatures drop and spread increases, some viewers took exception with the former vice president's pessimism on Twitter.

"There is Biden again selling fear. 'Dark Winter?' Southwest Airlines announced they are opening the middle seats. We need a president that is optimistic," tweeted Fox News contributor Charles V. Pain. As we all know, the availability of middle seats on Southwest Airlines flights has historically been the most accurate barometer of winter darkness. Better than the Farmer's Almanac.

Biden's message on the virus clashed almost diametrically with the rosy picture that Trump has repeatedly tried to paint, practically since the outset of the pandemic. On this night, the former vice president clearly came armed with a number of jabs aimed directly at Trump's handling of the public health crisis. In addition to the aforementioned "dark winter" warning, he also parried the president's oft-uttered refrain that America is "learning to live with" COVID-19.

"People are learning to die with it," Biden countered.

Touché, Mr. Vice President.

Biden and Trump volleyed over how to handle COVID-19

Joe Biden's ominous one-liner at the third and final Presidential debate is causing headlines because COVID-19, and America's response to the deadly virus, is a huge topic driving the election. It's essentially one of the biggest policy issues on every voter's mind. 

Time reports that the "pandemic has changed everything–from how the campaign is conducted to how we vote to what we value." Adding, "The acute crises have refocused the nation's attention, bringing issues like public health and economic and racial inequality to the fore and prompting the public to revisit what characteristics it wants in its leaders." Therefore, as new cases continue to rise daily, whoever is elected for the next presidential term will have to continue to deal with the pandemic's repercussions as well as help the American people manage it.  

As America enters COVID-19's third wave, Biden's dark comment reminds voters that the two presidential candidates have very different outlooks for the country's recovery from the coronavirus. President Trump, who tested positive for the virus in early October 2020 and has routinely opted to not wear a mask over the course of the pandemic, has called on Americans not to let COVID-19 "dominate" their lives. Biden has made it a point to wear a mask in all public settings and is pushing for a larger federal response to the virus.

COVID-19 is a driving force in the 2020 election

While many voter's think Joe Biden's comment about America entering a "dark winter" is a scare tactic, it has attracted attention and shed light on each campaign's plan for combating the COVID-19 pandemic. The Financial Times reported that Trump's statements at the final presidential debate "touted his administration's response to the pandemic, claiming the crisis 'is going away' and promising a vaccine will be announced 'within weeks.'" Biden, on the other hand, pushed back against Trump's optimistic message by accusing "the president of lacking a plan to stop the spread of the virus."

According to data compiled from John Hopkins University & Medicine, "the coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 223,000 Americans and infected nearly 8.5 million across the country as of Oct. 22, 2020" (Via Fox5).