The first presidential debate of the 2016 race will no doubt go down as one of the most surreal political moments in recent history. Trump, a loud mouthed xenophobe known for a challenging debating style was facing up against Clinton – one would expect a debate where sparks would fly as these two titans clash. However, the debate was more akin to watching a heavyweight boxer face up against a featherweight, it was grossly one-sided.
Although Trump enjoyed a good start to the debate, it quickly fell apart as Clinton pressed Trump on his sexist rhetoric, his policy or lack thereof and his curious love affair with Vladimir Putin. Trump simply couldn’t keep up, his stern and aggressive façade that he created from months on the election cycle seemed to crumble beneath Clinton’s verbal assaults – revealing someone who rather than being an iron-fisted businessmen, was someone who looked like a deer consistently trapped in a car’s headlights.
However – this isn’t a first for Trump. Indeed when he met the Mexican president, he again looked scared and small. He never mentioned his oft-touted border wall nor his plan to make Mexico pay for it – but he did mention it later on twitter, again showing Trump up to be less presidential and more like a Twitter troll who got out of hand.
Most notable however was Trump’s lying during the debate! When Clinton mentioned Trump’s history of opposition towards climate change, he spuriously denied he ever did such a thing, but Twitter users came to the rescue by digging up his many tweets proving his climate change ignorance. And this kept happening, from Iraq to sexism.
Trump scored many an own goal throughout the debate as well – both in trapping himself in his old Obama birther statements, and on attempting to naively raise the right wing conspiracy of Hillary’s health. Clinton retorted this with ease, using her experience as an advantage to prove that she has the capacity to be president.
Ultimately, I expected nothing less from this debate. Donald Trump is a man whose entire campaign was nestled on the fact that he was a xenophobic shock jockey. His normal campaign tactic of bullying his opponents through a series of ad hominem attacks worked in the GOP debate, but failed to impress the national audience as a wealth of polls, and the majority of American media outlets, declared Clinton the winner. Frankly, Clinton really did not need to do much to win – Trump floundered his way through the debate often attacking himself. However, Trump’s status as a Teflon politician may prove to be advantageous again – I can only hope that the American public can now see through Trump’s now weak disguise, he isn’t a politician of principle or one who could make America ‘great again’, he’s an internet troll with a poor temper and hollow rhetoric.
(Image courtesy of The Star)