Monday is the most hated day of the week. Every Sunday night, millions of Americans go to bed dreading their alarm clock the next morning that signals the beginning of yet another work week. Yesterday was a Monday of epic Mondayness. In addition to the typical crap that Monday’s throw our way, it also happened to be the day of the first 2016 presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
The media prepared for the first debate for months. Both campaigns spent weeks memorizing opposition research, thinking of comebacks for every potential attack, and even perfecting their posture and smile. Nerves were high on all sides. Day of news coverage on all major networks felt like Caesar Flickerman from The Hunger Games preparing for the last two tributes to face-off.
Despite ample amount of time to prepare, mistakes were made.
When the debate began, Trump was composed. He seemed calm and focused. One of Trump’s best moments came early on during an exchange about job creation.
TRUMP: And, Hillary, I’d just ask you this. You’ve been doing this for 30 years. Why are you just thinking about these solutions right now? For 30 years, you’ve been doing it, and now you’re just starting to think of solutions.
CLINTON: Well, actually…
TRUMP: I will bring — excuse me. I will bring back jobs. You can’t bring back jobs.
CLINTON: Well, actually, I have thought about this quite a bit.
TRUMP: Yeah, for 30 years.
Zing. The gloves came off. After Hillary hammered Trump on his business deals, his luxurious bringing, and his rabid behavior, she clearly hit a nerve in Trump. The composure went out the window and the Donald Trump we’ve come to know– and some have come to love– over the past 16 months appeared. Once that exchange took place, Trump went into defense mode. He spent the rest of the debate focused on justifying his actions and spending all the time in the world talking about himself instead of bringing up Clinton’s mixed track record on popular issues like the Clinton Foundation donors, her e-mail scandal, Benghazi, etc.
Although Trump did better than projected and had a strong first 40 minutes, it was clear that Clinton dominated the first debate. In the aftermath, Trump and his supporters are crying foul. Allegations that Lester Holt was a biased moderator were levied almost immediately. People said Holt’s questions about Trump’s birtherism while neglecting to ask Hillary about her e-mails was biased. Trump’s birtherism launched his political career. Hillary’s e-mails have been given 24/7 media coverage for nearly two years. Also, Holt mentioned several times throughout the 90 minute debate that they were “well behind schedule.” There’s the possibility that Holt did have that question on the docket, but Trump spent so much time telling people to “call Sean Hannity” that they didn’t have a chance to discuss it.
Another accusation thrown at Holt was that he gave Trump way more follow up questions than Hillary. For anyone who watched the debate, it was clear that the discussion focused on Trump because Trump let it. When Hillary attacked Trump, Trump spent his entire rebuttal talking about her attack instead of turning the discussion to her track record. Holt had more follow up’s for Trump because the entire debate ended up being about the Donald.
Hillary’s best moment came when the candidates were supposed to be discussion race relations in America and Trump attacked Clinton for spending the days leading up to the debate at her New York home preparing.
CLINTON: I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate. And, yes, I did. And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president. And I think that’s a good thing.
The crowd, which was supposed to remain silent, erupted in applause. While Republicans were rolling their eyes, Democrats were jumping up and down. The stark contrast between the two candidates was perfectly displayed in the split screen shot. Trump was combative and on the defense, Hillary was standing tall and in command.