The presidential debates are one of the first times some Americans will really pay attention to this election, and with the first debate just last night, it may just be the last time as well.
This election cycle has been dirty and lacking in substance. Last night’s debate showed us this yet again.
When it came down to it, we had one candidate trying to talk about policy. The other one was… Talking for the sake of talking?
Frankly, Clinton came prepared for the debate. She’s no great orator like President Obama, but she did her homework and sounded fairly presidential. She practiced and it showed, even to the point of sounding a little rehearsed at the beginning. This comes as no surprise though. She was careful about the things she says because, well, no matter what, she gets knocked for it. She faces so much scrutiny over her decades in public life no matter what she says or does.
But while Clinton may have come off dry style-wise, when it came to content, she blew Trump away. She has actual ideas and plans. She understands the complexities of policy. Trump just doesn’t seem to have that understanding.
Trump seemed woefully unprepared for the debate. He was childishly argumentative and belligerent. His “policies” were personal attacks. He blamed Clinton and President Obama for various things, without a lot of truth or accuracy backing up those attacks. Throughout the debate, he interrupted Clinton as she was speaking as well, reflecting an unhealthy degree of unprofessionalism.
While quick to blame, Trump did little to present solutions to the nation’s woes. Trump talked in simple terms as he always has. He described things as “good,” “bad” and “very bad.” But saying something is “very bad” is not how you help reduce unemployment or fix our immigration problem. More importantly, however, it just doesn’t stand up to the level of “debate” that Clinton was having that night.
Throughout the year-long experience of this interminable election cycle, I hope last night’s presidential debate helps bring this election year a little bit closer to an end, because at the end of the day, only one of the candidates on the debate stage Monday night is prepared to take the oath of office. The other should be ready to lose.