The Pitt News

Editorial: First Clinton-Trump debate offers nothing new

The+Pitt+News%27+live+blog+for+the+third+presidential+debate.+Photo+by+DonkeyHotey+%2F+Flickr.+
The Pitt News' live blog for the third presidential debate. Photo by DonkeyHotey / Flickr.

The Pitt News' live blog for the third presidential debate. Photo by DonkeyHotey / Flickr.

The Pitt News' live blog for the third presidential debate. Photo by DonkeyHotey / Flickr.

By The Pitt News Editorial Board

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After the first general election debate of 2016, most of The Pitt News’ office had nothing to say.

There were shrugs and analogies to petulant children. Most brushed off the question of who won by giving a name followed by “I guess.” The general consensus was that Clinton won, just barely, but the lack of excitement overall was indicative of the event’s hollowness. Last night was a mess: Lester Holt failed as a moderator, and neither candidate proved their critics wrong.

The night started out with laughs as Trump continually insisted that his support for the Iraq war and the birther movement were false despite both of those claims being entirely true. Clinton’s smiles and confident body language showed leadership.

But by the end, the debate turned out to be what everyone feared: redundant. Clinton’s strong front melted into a series of bullet point policy arguments. It came off as overly calculated and disingenuous. Trump’s belligerence and regular interruptions entirely fulfilled criticism regarding his lack of emotional sensitivity, and his rejection of facts once again showed that truth is a luxury this election season.

All of this spiraled out of control as Lester Holt handed the candidates the reins. He let them fight as if rules didn’t exist. When he did attempt to get on course, he was shut down. His fact-check attempts were quiet and overlooked. A PowerPoint could have offered questions with a greater sense of authority.

Maybe the joke’s on us. Maybe we should have never expected anything substantive from last night, because nothing substantive has come out of this entire race. Plenty of people will spend the week arguing over which candidate won, but it seems like the people looking to justify their already-formed conclusions were the only ones who got anything out of the night.  

If you thought Hillary was impersonal going into last night, you probably feel the same way today, because she was. If you thought Trump was erratic and uncomposed, you probably feel the same way today, because he was. The debate was littered with the expected interjections from Trump, the usual thick-skinned responses from Clinton and a complete lack of factually-based assertions that has come to define this entire election.

In short, nothing surprises us anymore. See you next time.

 

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Editorial: First Clinton-Trump debate offers nothing new