After a restless weekend for both nominees, Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton faced off in the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis on the night of October, 9.
According to a CNN/ORC poll, 57% believed Clinton has won the debate and 34% believed otherwise. However, many did think Trump has exceeded their expectations.
This debate was probably the most anticipated one; it definitely was in my collective 23 years of life so far. The number of questions—from how the Friday incident is going to affect the debate to, has Trump turned the presidential campaign into a reality TV show—raised in the two days leading to the monumental night has exceeded that of mine in my entire classroom time, and I was a curious student.
To be honest, I didn’t think Trump would be able to manage this debate as he did. He could have done so much worse. Tonight was nowhere near a turnaround for Trump but, he at least secured his base supporters.
The first 30 minutes was a disaster for Trump, he walked onto the stage looking like hasn’t been sleeping since last Friday, which might have been true to a large extent. The two candidates didn’t shake hands as their families did—the animosity was palpable.
“You should be ashamed of yourself,” Trump said to Clinton regarding her email issue during the debate. “You should be in jail.”
Trump was not coherent in any sense answering the first couple of questions, in fact, he completely missed the very first when asked if the candidates are modeling appropriate behaviors for children. There was a moment when Trump seemed to have abandoned all hope; some of his answers were so awkward that I couldn’t resist but cringed in my chair. Clinton, as she had been in the first debate, was extremely clearheaded and composed.
The debate resumed to, what should have been in the first place—a DEBATE, after a 30-minute bloodbath of insults coming from both candidates. From this point on, Trump started to attack Clinton for her inability to bring about change; he particularly blamed her for the current tax code, claiming that Clinton has been receiving donations from the wealthy thus she will not change the status quo. At the same time, Trump conceded that he had used his huge financial loss in the 1990s to evade tax.
On Mike Pence’s stance on Syrian air strikes, trump said, “I have not talked to him[Pence] for a long time and I disagree with him.” Such shocking statement reflected on how badly Trump is dealing within his inner circle and how little he has prepared for the debate.
The two candidates have been throwing each other on the defensive, building up tension as they became more and more antagonistic toward each other. Carl Becker, the last audience who asked the question, looked genuinely frustrated when he stood up.
“Would either of you name one positive thing that you respect in one another?” Becker asked.
The question was applauded by many viewers since it was preceded by mostly insults and interruptions. Clinton said Trump’s children are incredible and that says a lot about him. Trump followed by saying Clinton doesn’t quit, she doesn’t give and she is a fighter. It might have been for this very question that Trump and Clinton shook hands when the debate finished.
Trump’s strategy tonight was clear: complain about everything and convince the voters that Clinton is exactly the same as the previous administrations. And here is how it works. Think of a man of midlife crisis, who is looking for change other than his wife. A mistress comes along and she only has to say one thing and the man would bite, “I’m not your wife and she is terrible.” How would that turn out later? Food for thought.