I am working on a project to visualize the flow, duration and cross-talk from the first 2020 Presidential Debate. The following is the project’s initial description and a gallery of prototype images from the ideation process.

All of the images and code can be found on my GitHub repo, Presidential Debates.

On September 29, 2020, the US held their first presidential debate between President Trump and former Vice President Biden. The debate immediately became known not for what was said or policies debated but for the interruptions and complete lack of decorum. One anchor called it a “shitshow” and to quote another:

“That was a hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck. That was the worst debate I have ever seen. It wasn’t even a debate. It was a disgrace. And it’s primarily because of President Trump, who spent the entire time interrupting not abiding by the rules he agreed to.”

Jake Tapper, CNN.

So what does this debate look like when visualized? Are all of these interruptions visible? Is it possible to tell who is interrupting the most?

To test out this idea, I am using a transcript from Rev Transcription Services. I have processed the data to include the times when each person speaks. You can find the ways I adjusted the data in the data_munging.js file.

The visualization is built using P5.js. And as of today (Tuesday, Oct 20, 2020), the visualization is still being adjusted and tweaked.

Further questions to be asked are how does this debate compare to previous debates and possibly future debates between Trump and Biden?