Biden’s debate performance gets poor reviews from young Democrats in Pa

As soon as President Joe Biden opened his mouth Thursday night, “we were all like …” said Necati Aslan, 22, chairwoman of the Drexel Democratic Party.

Tension — and panic — filled the atmosphere at the watch party, with Biden’s voice sounding raspier and older than usual.

On Friday morning, Aslan’s voice was also hoarse from the on-screen screaming. In Aslan’s eyes, the president was simply infirmed. Other members of the group, however, argued that Biden’s performance was a sign that he was too aged to run. As young Democrats watched the debate on a projection screen in a campus hall, they glanced at the buzzing phones. News about Biden’s age kept coming.

“Everything was negative,” Aslan said. “It was all about age and it all came from Democrats. … We have not received any positive text messages. It was all people who panicked about the debate.

Both candidates are hoping to reach the young voters who helped elect Biden in 2020 — though not to the same extent as older Americans who still show up in large numbers on Election Day. Although polls have shown younger voters support Biden compared to Trump, the president’s support has declined as some Gen Z voters have turned away from him over concerns about the death toll in Gaza and other issues. After thousands of voters showed their reluctance to support Biden for Israel in a protest vote during the primary, concerns remain about how high turnout will be in November.

For young people watching the first 2024 election debate, whether at home, watching parties, or over dinner with friends, the group chat was the place to be. For Generation Z, the real debate took place online.

” READ MORE: Some Young Pennsylvania Voters Can’t Bring Themselves to Vote for Biden This Year Because of the War in Gaza

“Puppet show”

“Who’s watching the presidential puppet show rn?” Maddy Kessler, 22, a recent graduate of Bryn Mawr College, texted her friends along with a circus tent emoji.

“I think ‘Biden’ is someone in a mask… because he moves so damn weird,” she wrote in a second message.

“They should let RFK debate, it would be much more interesting,” she added.

Her friend Chris, a fan of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., replied that he was watching therealdebate.comwhich led to a broadcast hosted by RFK on Rumble, the YouTube alternative.

“RFK’s broadcast has about 1.5 million viewers,” her friend wrote.

Still, Kessler, who was a pro-Palestinian activist on campus, said she and her other friends felt they had no choice but to vote for Biden even though they had serious concerns about his age, health and ability to “form coherent sentences.”

Lourdes Cardamone, president of the Democrats at Temple University, also spent the evening frustrated — texting.

“God save us,” one friend wrote in the group chat midway through the debate. The thread continued, darkly. “Guys, this is not true,” another friend wrote. “I am heartbroken that these men are the only option…”

The debate chat ended with a simple question: “What’s a real presidential debate like?” This came after Trump once again told America that he “didn’t have sex with a porn star.”

Cardamone went to bed with a pessimistic attitude about the country’s future.

“When we vote, we vote for our future, for our rights, so we should come away from the debate enlightened and inspired by the candidates, ready to use our vote in the elections,” she said in an interview on Friday.

Instead, many left “laughing and frustrated.”

Still, she said she hopes people will remember that “Trump entering the White House would be detrimental to our country.”

Unzel Bukhari, 21, a student at Swarthmore College, watched the debate while eating salmon and rice in her friend’s living room.

Bukhari, who has voted for Democrats in the past, is disappointed with Biden’s decision to supply weapons to Israel and plans to stage a protest in November. She and her friends felt “pure outrage” over some of Biden and Trump’s statements during the debate, especially when Trump called Biden a “Palestinian” in a derogatory way, she recalled on Friday. This outrage and jokes about the candidates, vibrated on her phone Thursday night.

“It was just crazy what I said …,” she said. “I remember right after I said it, I got four text messages like, Did you just say Biden is Palestinian? Like, what does that even mean?”

Maya Halma, 21, a recent Temple University graduate and former president of the campus Democratic group, had a quieter evening. She decided not to watch the debate.

“I already know who I will vote for and I know that I would not like to listen to them argue, especially Trump,” the Philadelphia resident wrote in a text message.

Halma had known for months that… will vote for Biden without enthusiasm, but will not support him. He is trying to convince his wavering friends to vote for him as well.

But based on what she’s heard about the debate, she fears convincing them will be more difficult now. Biden’s performance, she said, “did more harm than good.”

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