Podcast | Trump, Biden and the traumas shaping the race for the presidency

Michael Kirk, the director of ‘The Choice,’ tells us what the candidates’ responses to tragedy say about how they will lead.

Donald Trump and Joe Biden in profile.

President Donald Trump and his opponent Joe Biden. (Shealah Craighead, Jay Godwin/LBJ Library)

The two major party candidates running for the presidency are old.  In fact, President Donald Trump was already the oldest American to assume the presidency when he was sworn in for his first term. Now he is four years older and his opponent, Joe Biden, is even older than that, by three years. 

So, both men have had a lot of time to wrack up successes, which they have obviously leveraged in their quests for political power. But both candidates have also experienced their fair share of personal crises and the failure and humiliation that often accompany such moments. Perhaps more than their fair share.

Some of these tragedies were thrust upon these men and some were self-inflicted — and many involved issues of race — but they all demanded a response. It is in these responses, says director Michael Kirk, that the candidates’ true character is revealed.

This week on the Crosscut Talks podcast, Kirk talks about his latest installment of "The Choice" for Frontline, which chronicles two lifetimes of crisis that have culminated with an election defined by crisis.

Plus, Crosscut news and politics editor Donna Blankinship talks about our recent poll on protests and policing.


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