How did you spend Tuesday night’s debate? I was in my bedroom with the door locked, blasting an Amazon Prime documentary about rare booksellers in order to drown out the sound of the Biden and Trump in the other room. I couldn’t do it. And thankfully, I didn’t have to. When I woke up and did my normal blurry-eyed scroll of Instagram, I saw all the usual headlines: The New York Times thinks Biden held his ground, Fox News obviously thinks Trump destroyed Biden—it’s all literally useless. Twitter doesn’t help, either, unless you want to self-induce an aneurysm. The only place that actually gave me relevant coverage while also pointing out things no one else is talking about? TikTok. 

TikTok has always been political (hello, Trump’s threat to ban the app), but it was in rare form on Tuesday night, incorporating well-known TikTok trends into debate coverage. For instance, elementary teachers doing virtual school have become popular on the app because of the endearing methods they use to corral a bunch of six-year-olds over Zoom. Turns out, those same methods could have worked for two septuagenarian men.


And when we call mommy YOU are going to tell her why we are calling, my friend. #tiktokteachers #presedentialdebate #trumpbidendebate #kindergarten

♬ original sound - Ms. F

TikTok is also filled with users who have a heightened awareness about accessibility, including deaf people. It’s become de rigueur to caption your videos so they can be enjoyed by all users regardless of whether or not they’re hard of hearing. The same could not be said for last night’s debate.


if u guys make any of my tiktoks viral, pls make it this one. it’s so important #deaf #asl #signlanguage #hoh #accessibility #trump #biden

♬ THICK - DJ Chose & Beatking

“I’m really frustrated right now because I’m trying to watch the presidential debate but there’s not an ASL interpreter. There’s nothing,” a deaf user named Erin says in the video, pointing out that because it’s live TV, closed captions can’t keep up. “It’s really frustrating because I’m finally old enough to vote and I can’t even watch the debate.” (A Biden-affiliated TikTok account actually responded to this video and said they’d raise the issue with the campaign). 

TikTok also broke down some key moments from the debate, including the most-quoted moment when Trump failed to condemn white supremacists, or “Proud Boys.” Of course, being TikTok, the videos had a comedic spin.

And most importantly, it’s not all doom and gloom. As hard as people worked on their memes and appropriately calling out issues, users also looked for the good in the shitshow.

...okay to be fair, that was it.