Presidential Debate 2016


Brandon Pohl

Monday Sep. 27 marked the first of the 2016 presidential debates. Candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced off of the first time against each other. This was the first time Trump was seen debating one-on-one with another candidate. The candidates fought for 90 straight minutes without any breaks.

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and his VP candidate Bill Weld, while not allowed to participate in the debate, were very active on Twitter during it. Three hours before the debate began, Johnson and Weld answered questions from voters during a live interview on Facebook, which maxed out at 30,000 viewers, much smaller than the projected 81 million viewers of the debate.


  Many other political figures also took to Twitter. Dr. Rand Paul self appointed himself to fact check the debate, and spent most of the night calling Clinton out for every discrepancy. Sen. Bernie Sanders also tweeted about what he wanted to hear from the candidates, and his criticisms of the Trump campaign. One highlight was when Sanders called out Trump for his disbelief of climate change, which the Trump twitter account responded with the claim that climate change was a hoax created by the Chinese to make American companies non-competitive.  Later during the debate, when Trump claimed he never called climate change a Chinese hoax, the twitter account proceeded to delete every tweet mentioning climate change.

An important absence on Monday was Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Unlike last year, where she led a protest against the debates and attempted to disrupt them, Stein was nowhere near the debates, although her campaign was leading a protest outside the police barrier set up for the debate. The main cause for her absence was the standing warrant for her arrest following a reported vandalism incident in North Dakota protesting the oil pipeline being constructed on sacred native land.

Many voters feel the debate still left many questions in the air, and feel it was the same old rhetoric being said during the whole campaign trail. As one independent voter said, “Do we really need two more debates? We aren’t hearing anything new.” This seemed to be a common feeling among voters. “I already know how I feel about Trump. But I still have yet to learn anything new from Hillary,” said an independent voter to a CNN reporter following the interview. Many viewers felt a sense of depression after the debates tweeting things like “Night went from good to absolutely terrible,”  “Well that was depressing,” and “Drinking game for tonight is to never stop.”

   The general consensus among professionals following the debate was it was a successful win for Clinton, although many polls suggest viewers saw Trump as victorious. Her goal going into the debate, according to the New York Times, was to bait Trump into snapping, and it seems to have worked for her. Many times she just sat back and let Trump talk because he seemed to be helping her more than himself. Trump also seemed very tired, unenergetic, some would say, unTrump-like. #SnuffleTrump was trending on twitter as well as tweets containing phrases like “Low Energy! Sad!” mocking Trump’s tweeting style and his performance during the debate. Trump, on the other hand, insists he won, saying on twitter “I won every poll following last nights Presidential Debate – except the little watched @CNN poll.”

  Either way, the debate seemed to be a disappointment to most viewers, and it did not live to the hype leading up to it. It was just more of the same, and let many people questioning the future of this country. The next debate will be the Vice President debate on Oct. 4, with two more presidential debates on Oct. 9 and 19.