First Presidential Debate


Clinton and Trump at the 1st presidential debate on September 26, 2016.

Natalia Torres, Staff Writer

Heading into the first presidential debate of the 2016 elections, the American public expected large amounts of bickering and back and forth insults. Before the debate had taken place, people believed that the candidate’s strategies would be the following: Donald Trump would simply try to appear sane and disprove Clinton’s fallacies, whereas she would attempt to make her opponent seem like a mad man unfit to run a country. The Republican and Democratic nominees went head to head in an exchange of insults and opinions that most say resulted in a win for Clinton. As viewers saw, these expectations were made a reality during the 90 minute debate.

I found the presidential debate very entertaining. Hillary Clinton seemed very prepared but did look frustrated some times throughout the debate. Donald Trump did not sound very prepared. He constantly interrupted Hillary Clinton and did not defend himself very well. In terms of who won I would name Hillary Clinton the victor but I am not sure if her performance will make a huge difference in the coming election.

— Samuel White

The debate was led by NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt who worked hard to ask pointed questions and keep the candidates on topic, which was not an easy task.  The three points of discussion to be included in the debate were: “America’s Direction”, “Achieving Prosperity” and “Securing America”.  Holt’s questions referred to each of these topics and included the mention of Clinton’s email scandal, Trump’s tax returns, jobs, race in America, the birther lie and the economy.  His questions were frequently averted and interrupted, especially by Mr. Trump.  When asked about her email scandal, Secretary Clinton veered her response into a discussion about her opponent’s tax returns.  Likewise, Mr. Trump found a way to avoid the question on the nature of his tax returns by speaking instead about Clinton’s email scandal.  Lester Holt’s first question had to do with bringing more money into the pockets of the American workers.  Secretary Clinton’s strategy is to strengthen the middle class, whereas Trump believes that bringing back corporations into the United States will allow for more jobs.

There was a general theme of distrust running throughout the debate. Donald Trump interrupted Clinton a total of 51 times in a span of 90 minutes, whereas Clinton interrupted Trump 17 times.  Additionally, both candidates at times were unable to formulate coherent answers to the questions, specifically in terms of applying their ideas. The Republican and Democratic nominees resorted to belittling the other in what turned out to be the most watched presidential debate ever.

“The presidential debate just reassured me of which candidate I am in favor of, but overall, I think it was a complete mess. In my opinion they weren’t able to give good answers and behaved in an immature way so either way this election is gonna be a disaster,” sophomore Patrick Ales said.

This debate set a precedent for the next two debates, which will cover the rest of the issues not covered in the first one.  Viewers expect to continue seeing insulting and belittling on behalf of the candidates but also for it to be a debate that runs more smoothly as well as continues to give citizens a feel for the candidate’s views.  A majority of the people, including Trump supporters, believed that Clinton won this time.  Despite this, it will ultimately come down to the American people to decide which of these candidates will be our next president.  Vote wisely!