Last night’s debate was painful to watch. Throughout those 90 minutes, my main thought while watching this debate was ‘wow I need a freaking drink right now‘ but, all eye rolling aside, some important issues were covered. Both candidates had a lot to say so I went ahead and created a spark notes version of the debate for you, and all others who didn’t sit through the torture.
Hillary was all smiles, having released her own tax returns some time ago and, like the rest of the political pundits, she demanded that Donald release his own. The moderator, Lester Holt, even pointed out that Donald’s vice presidential pick Mike Pence had also released his tax returns. Donald used some excuses about being audited then steered the conversation back to Hillary by providing her with an ultimatum: he’d release his tax returns, against his lawyer’s wishes, when Hillary releases her 33,000 deleted emails. This was met with a thunderous applause from the crowd.
Both sides specifically brought up police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement without actually saying ‘Black Lives Matter’. Hillary and Donald focused heavily on black men being victims of police violence despite the overwhelming evidence that black women and girls are just as at risk.
Hillary trotted out the tried and true narrative of “good cops” and touched on social inequality and urban poverty.
Donald took the ‘black on black crime’ angle, particularly stating that interracial violence was the leading cause of death of black and Hispanic men. He tied gun legislation into the argument by saying that harsher gun control laws are needed to curb gang violence. He even mentioned reinstating stop and frisk laws. When Holt mentioned that those laws were recently ruled as unconstitutional, Donald replied that the ruling was made by a “very against police judge” (his words, not mine) and therefore shouldn’t be taken into consideration.
Interesting point of mention: Donald actually called out Hillary for her racial hypocrisy in the 2008 presidential race. Hillary had circulated pictures and an ad of Obama wearing Kenyan cultural garb meant to label him as a “foreigner” (at the time, there was a lot of rhetoric surrounding Obama’s religion and country of birth). Donald said that Hillary was a hypocrite for taking such a progressive stance on race now when just a few years ago, she’d sunk to such racism. I’m not one to take Donald’s side, but he did make a good point there.
Donald mentioned that America (particularly under the Obama administration) had outsourced jobs to China. Places like Detroit had been hit hard when the “Big Three” American automotive companies (Chevy, General Motors, and Ford) had sent their plants to China. Donald accused Hillary of wasting 30 years as a senator by not producing results. Trump promised to “bring back jobs” by reinforcing the old trickle down economics theory and deregulation. Hillary claimed that she’d have a “special prosecutor” who will enforce trade deals that are already in place and “hold people accountable”.
Honorable mentions: Hillary telling Donald that he “lived in his own reality”, Donald making us believe he has all of DJ Khaled’s keys to fight ISIS, and, according to Donald, Hillary just doesn’t have the right “look” to be president. Oh, and somebody needs to cut Lester Holt a break.
But the question of the hour is: who won the debate?
No one because this debate was essentially a reunion episode of The Real Housewives of the Oval Office. I was waiting for Donald to throw a margarita while Lester sobbed into his Gucci purse and Hillary adjusted her bangs.
Hillary came across as a kindergarten teacher patiently explaining the order of the alphabet to a petulant orange child. Her ever poised, cold, Stepford wife-like composure was reminiscent of Doloris Umbrige. She had a calculated, by-the-books answer to everything, as was expected. While she has a lot to answer for in terms of past policies and ideological beliefs, Hillary is a skilled politician, the likes of which has survived the Benghazi Hearings, the execution of Bin Laden, and Monica Lewinsky’s dry cleaning bill. Hillary performed as expected.
Donald, however is another story. He’s made it clear that he’s no politician, so the rules are “different” for him. We don’t expect the grace and tact of a seasoned senator; the bar for him is lower. He’s an orangutan in an Armani suit: as long as he makes it on stage and doesn’t fling his poop, he’s a winner.
If nobody won the debate, who lost?
As I gazed into the abyss that was the stage at Hofstra University, the abyss gazed back at me with hollow, bloodshot eyes. This is what politics has become? The presidential race has become a surreal Salvador Dali painting, only in it the middle class is on fire in a twisted hellscape where up is down and George W Bush doesn’t seem so bad anymore. This is a race between a woman who would call the police if she saw you in her gated community versus the man who would follow you in his pickup truck and “stand his ground”.
Hillary may have acted more respectable during the debate but Donald – or rather Trumpism – has won the war. Trumpism is a term I’ve coined that describes his general views and blatant disregard for empirical evidence that spews out of Donald’s mouth. If Hillary wins the race, Trumpism still wins. Donald’s campaign has shifted the conservative political ideologies so far to the right that whoever runs in four years will either have to be a carbon copy of Trump or worse.
Featured image via “File:Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during United States presidential election 2016.jpg” by Krassotkin (derivative), Gage Skidmore (Donald Trump), Gage Skidmore (Hillary Clinton) / CC BY-SA 3.0