Debate 2016: Appearances Matter by Chase White ’18


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The 2016 presidential race has been like no other and will go down in the history books, without a doubt. This race consists of two candidates who have become the most disliked and untrusted nominees in American history. Everyone in the U.S. has their own opinions, but when there are so many people that have their beliefs set in stone, and neither party can come to an inclusive message that widens their base, they are in deep trouble. The debate stage on Monday night showed how two candidates can get on stage in front of almost 100,000,000 viewers, and still fail to have a vision for America because they focus more on personal attacks, leaving over 15% of America utterly unconvinced. Typically in a Presidential debate, even when candidates fail to mention their vision for America, there is still a reliance and an expected dependence on the moderator to do so. However, during this debate,  it did not happen this way. So far no one has said or been able to prove that the moderator, Lester Holt, had a political bias in this debate that favored one candidate over the other. The questions that were posed by the moderator were fair, accurate and acceptable to bring up in the race for the White House. Even most of the people who are used by both campaigns to tout their candidate on a daily basis have not disagreed with what was asked, but the balance of “tough” questions that were asked of both candidates were another story. The problem on Monday night, though, was that one candidate was asked more “negative” questions that attacked their personal background and history in the private sector of the economy than the other. This person, of course, was Donald Trump. This doesn’t mean that he won the debate, however, or he could have had a chance to win even if more questions were posed to Hillary Clinton. This debate was watched by tens of millions of Americans who opposed one another when it came to the overall victor of the night. There was the issue that Donald Trump was asked ‘unfair questions,’ but also that Hillary Clinton had a much more concise and strategic vision for America. Pure and simple – Hillary won the debate. Even with all the points that the Trump Campaign’s surrogates can make, Hillary still came out the victor with everything factored into the final analysis.

This doesn’t mean that Hillary is going to win the election, and it certainly doesn’t mean that Trump won’t win the election, but it is impossible to debate that this election cycle has become typical of others in American History.  It’s the candidate’s’ job to leave it all on the table. It remains the job of the American voter to decide who is either the greatest choice or as “some” have said, the “better of two evils.” The first, true and honest test to be President was this debate. To help further explain who won each of the three ½ hour sections, let’s sum it up in three quotes in the order they were spoken during the televised event.

The first section has a quote from Donald Trump that easily sums up his performance highlighted during this time period when he argues, “Hillary, you’ve been doing this for 30 years. Why are you just thinking about these solutions right now? This quote is very important to Trump’s ability to highlight that he is the ‘change agent’ and a candidate who is a political outsider to the system most Americans are dissatisfied with.

The next section has a quote from Hillary Clinton that shows a weak point from her, but also shows how Trump missed an opportunity to get the upper hand when she argues, “I think cyber security and cyber warfare will be one of the greatest challenges facing the next President because clearly we’re facing at this point two different kinds of adversaries.” This point shows how Trump failed to connect the dots of Mrs. Clinton’s use of an unsecured private email server, and let her slip away with the answer.

Finally, in the last half-hour portion of the debate, Hillary Clinton hurts Donald Trump’s likeability when she mentions that in the past he has said, “Women don’t deserve equal pay unless they do as good a job as men.” Her discussion of beauty contests only hurts him further. “He loves beauty contests, supporting them, and hanging around them. She even mentions how he called a woman “Ms. Piggy.” This helps Hillary Clinton’s numbers with women and the possible stagnation of his increase of support from Republican women.

Overall, there is not a baseline to compare this debate to from years previously.  It’s now up to the American voter with 40 days left until the election day and with only two more debates. The question for the American public is now simple, but startling. Should you pick a completely FAILED politician who has been in Washington, D.C. for 30 years and represents the status quo, or should you pick someone who is completely RUDE and speaks ‘off-the-cuff’ not always thinking through his language, and brings change that could do damage to Washington, D.C. in 2017? The decision is up to every registered voter out there, so CHOOSE WISELY!