On Sunday evening it was time to sit down and brace for the second round of the presidential title match of Trump vs Clinton. In the right corner; a rambling, sexist businessman. In the left corner; a former Secretary of State who nobody trusts.
The town hall format of Sunday’s debate is a bit different than the one used in the previous debate. Instead of a moderator asking questions, the questions are asked by selected members of the audience. The poor, poor audience. Most likely people kidnapped on the street, and given the choice of a slow, agonizing death, or asking a question. It’s a format that should suit Clinton better than Trump. She’s got experience with this kind of debate, while he favors big crowds, monologue, and occasional yelling.
None of the candidates did any attempt to shake the others hand as they entered the stage, and everything went down hill from there. After the first question was asked by an audience member, it took a good 20 minutes before the moderators managed to squeeze in the second question. Both Clinton and Trump approached the questions they were asked as proper politicians. They talked a lot, but rarely spent much time actually answering. Instead, they used most of their allotted 2 minutes to talk about something completely out of context. Or attack each others campaigns, personalities, and immediate family.
Just as classy as we’ve come to expect from the American presidential candidates.
Welcome to the Jungle
At times, the amount of oral feces the two candidates threw at each other was so massive, I had to mute the television set. At around 35 minutes in, I turned on the sound for a while. The candidates were discussing the Affordable Care Act. Clinton wants to change it a little, while Trump would like to shut it down. They were actually discussing a topic that’s interesting for the voters. A welcome change!
But that didn’t last long. Soon they started attacking each other again. I was hoping that someone in the audience would interrupt, and tell them both to shut the hell up and answer the questions. But that never happened. The moderators, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC’s Martha Raddatz, tried to keep things civilized, but failed to prevent numerous derailments. They did, however, do a better job than Lester Holt, who moderated the first debate. It’s probably easier when you’re got two people handling the rabid monkeys, so for the third and final debate, let’s have 30 moderators.
And the Winner is…
The polls released immediately after the debate finished, showed Clinton won. Personally, I have no idea who won, because I had the sound off for at least half of the debate. It’s a bit hard to make a decision based on that. If you didn’t watch the debate yourself, there are transcripts available on the internet. Seek, and ye shall find. Alternatively, you can check out NPR’s transcript, complete with fact checks and everything.
Judging by the #debate tweets, Clinton did a better job than Trump. But, as I wrote in my ramblings about the first debate, Twitter might be showing me tweets based on what it knows about me. So I checked the #debate feed in another web browser in private mode, connecting through a Russian web proxy. I saw the same #debate tweets there. This means that either Twitter shows the same tweets to everyone looking at the hashtag, or they somehow figured out I was the one browsing. Is the Twitter users really that biased towards Clinton? Or is it Twitter as a company that filters and censors the feed to make it look like most people favor Clinton, thus influencing public opinion1.
No matter who won the debate, it’s obvious who will be the losers come November: Americans. But don’t worry, friends, you’re all welcome to Norway. There will be some extreme vetting, though!