During 1h30 Donald Trump faced on Tuesday, September 15, voters presented as undecided and who in turn questioned the American president, candidate for his own succession. The event, held in Philadelphia, had all the decorum of a TV show. The credits agreed for the shows preceded the questions, sometimes quite direct, from the public.
The first question in tonight’s @ abc2020 town hall comes from a 2016 Trump voter who’s diabetic: “I thought you were doing a good job with the pandemic response … then you took your foot off the gas pedal. Why did you throw vulnerable people like me under the bus?” pic.twitter.com/iGEyqMFsNv
– ABC News (@ABC) September 16, 2020
“I am conservative”Paul explains, describing himself as anti-abortion and diabetic. “On the pandemic, I think you did a good job, but then you eased off. Why did you throw people like me under the bus?”. Donald Trump answers a little sideways and repeats that if he had not acted as he did, there would have been many more deaths in the United States. The debate is then more civilized and in the end not very captivating.
Donald Trump is far from the first to embark on the exercise. The first town halls date back to the 17th century, at the time of the New England colonies. Around the 1850s, Abraham Lincoln also organized town halls of this type to exchange with his fellow citizens. But it is considered that it was Richard Nixon who modernized the town hall during the presidential election of 1968, with no less than nine television shows on this format. At the time, the idea was launched by a certain Roger Ailes … the same one who would later create the Fox News channel.
The use of these public meetings has continued over the years and presidents. Barack Obama, for example, liked them very much, both in the United States and abroad. He also invented with his advisers the first town hall organized on social networks
Designed for direct exchanges between elected officials and the public, town halls are also opportunities to observe and listen to oratory games, some of which have remained famous. The second debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in October 2016 in Saint-Louis (Missouri) bears witness to this.
In 2009, in the mid-term elections, the conservative Tea Party movement also disrupted Democratic meetings, with furious people coming to yell at local candidates against the Obamacare project.
The town hall is therefore a typically American rendezvous, not always televised but often hectic. Thursday night is the Democratic candidate Joe Biden who will lend himself to the exercise and will respond to Americans from his hometown, Scranton in Pennsylvania. The state where Donald Trump was on Tuesday evening, and which definitely seems to concentrate all the efforts of the two candidates.