The first of three Presidential debates between Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump was held Monday night at Hofstra University. Lester Holt moderated.
Leading up to the debate, it was significant in the fact that there were heavy rumors about third-party candidates Jill Stein and Gary Johnson having a strong possibility to debate. Neither candidate however gathered enough support to compete in them. With them gone, it was a showdown between Trump and Clinton only.
The debate, which was divided into three topics (achieving prosperity, America’s direction and securing America), began strong with both candidates appearing calm in temperament…the last hour and 15 minutes were a little different.
What began as a debate about where the US is supposed to go vs. where it’s going, turned into both candidates attempting to derail the other candidate, and prove they were unfit or untrustworthy.
Clinton’s plan of attack on the night was clear: discredit Trump and talk policy. It seemingly worked considering polls are suggesting that she had a better performance. Trump meanwhile, set out to discredit Clinton’s career as a public servant, saying that while Clinton has experience, but it is “bad experience,” also further claiming that Clinton is one of the primary people to blame for why the US is the way it is today.
In the media afterwards, Clinton was the favorite, as a majority of polls say she won. Several publications claim it was Trump’s temperament that lost it for him, as throughout the night he interrupted Clinton and appeared frustrated by Clinton’s claims, the moderator’s questions and what most likely could be boiled down to either being unprepared, or a lack of experience in debating.
This is not to say however that Trump didn’t have some support. While the crowd did jeer and chuckle and certain things he said (such as when he claimed he had better temperament than Clinton), the crowd seemingly cheered when Trump stated he would release his tax returns when Clinton released her 33,000 emails.
One interesting note of the night was the fact that Trump did not talk about his immigration policies. With this said, there are two debates remaining, which means there is plenty of opportunity left.
Where to Improve
Hillary Clinton was calm and collected. The biggest question for her coming in was whether or not she could balance the attacking Trump while not playing into his game. She did a very nice job of handling herself, but Trump helped her a lot with his constant interrupting of her and losing his temperament at times. She needs to try to keep doing what she did, perhaps maybe talk policy a little more. Though, it is hard to stay on track on your policies when your opponent is constantly questioning your judgement and decisions.
Donald Trump on the other hand needs to stay calm. Again, the beginning was the Trump we need to see more often. His talking points were organized, and he did well battling Hillary Clinton. He needs to keep that up for the entire debate. Trump is fighting an uphill battle, and bragging about not paying taxes, and losing his calm throughout the debate is not the way to gain support or respect. Trump knows he’s not the media favorite, but that cannot be his excuse whenever he has a poor performance. He needs to keep his cool.
The next debate will be Sunday, October 9.