The Dead and The Dying From The First Presidential Debate

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t-c2HEMPSTEAD, NEW YORK –

Is that what we were so afraid of?

This bloated bully incapable of stringing together so much as a single coherent thought was the monster we’ve all feared?

By the end of Monday night’s festivities, it was more than apparent that two people were standing on the stage at Hofstra University and only one of them was up to the job of President of the United States. Hillary Clinton, a professional politician and seasoned veteran of debates, summarily throttled Donald Trump and beat him within an inch of his political life, thus shoving the greatest bully in modern electoral history’s face in the dirt and burying any doubt that she wasn’t up to the task.

It started immediately as Trump sniffed like an asshole hellbent on dominating a table and then, at every opportunity, attempted to interrupt Clinton every single time she spoke. The whole thing was ugly, exactly as we all expected, but even uglier as it played out in real time. Trump seemed legitimately bothered to have to so much as share a stage with a competent woman who gave back to him as good as she got.

Throughout, Trump bustled and bristled and as the debate progressed his answers surprisingly lost what little coherence they had. He bragged about his avoidance of taxes and, in the same breath, criticized the country’s infrastructure, calling America’s airports something out of the third-world. He attempted to correct debate moderator Lester Holt when Holt pointed out that “Stop and Frisk,” as a policy, had been ruled unconstitutional, which ignited a mortifying back and forth that Trump, if he were capable of feeling remorse, would undoubtedly regret.

Any hope that Trump might have redeemed himself was crushed as the narrative we all came to know in the primaries played out once more: Trump lost energy over time and seemed listless and lethargic roughly a half an hour after tip-off. It was reminiscent of earlier contests, but without a clown-car’s assortment of candidates surrounding him it was obvious just how languid he’d become.

Even Trump’s cronies – a group more than accustomed to fluffing up a palatable reality – were quick to acknowledge mistakes were made. Certified Crazy Person Rudy Guiliani admitted it wasn’t Trump’s greatest moment and told us in the Spin Room he’d rather Trump wouldn’t subject himself to future debates. Chris Christie, in his usual bullshit fashion, said Clinton dominated because she was a polished debater with crowd-pleasing sound bites

But try as they might, there was no shining this turd. Clinton’s pincer strategy paid off as she came to the arena notably more prepared while simultaneously needling him by insulting his net worth and privilege, the latter a masterful provocation that got so far under his skin as to render him incapable of conducting himself in anything resembling a professional manner and left him grimacing behind his podium as he uttered strange, guttural sounds while contorting his face as if in unnatural pain.

Simply put, she beat him on every front.

Leaving me to wonder why, all this time, we’ve been so petrified he would show up in New York and exceed expectations. He’s got unparalleled political skills, the talking heads tell us, he’s amazing on TV and smarter than we give him credit for.

Wrong.

He’s so much worse.

He’s incapable of appearing presidential for ninety seconds at a time, much less ninety minutes.

Tonight the amateur showed why he is such an anomaly. Running for office at any level is grueling, hard work, much less the highest office in the land. A perfect storm of inconsistencies, including a debilitated Republican Party and a field of yes-men and opportunists, gifted Trump the lane he’s rode to this point and it was always a matter of time until the fraud was exposed.

Nothing’s changed. Trump’s always been a paper tiger. All along we were just waiting for someone to grab him by the tail and see just how weak his roar actually was.




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About Author

A born and bred Hoosier, Jared Yates Sexton is the author of An End to All Things (2012, Atticus Books), The Hook and the Haymaker (2015, Split Lip Press), and Bring Me the Head of Yorkie Goodman (2015, New Pulp Press). He currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Georgia Southern University.

4 Comments

  1. As always a keen set of insights that cuts through the bullshit. So lucky for us that Sexton is out there.

  2. True to expectations, Trump is bullshitting through another rally with the same old lies and schtick, after this morning telling drooling diehard fans on Fox News (because he won’t talk to anyone else any more) up is down and the sky is orange.

    C’mon, media, stop giving this shamwow clown the time of day.

  3. YES. Agreed. Though I think we were right to be concerned about Trump following his GOP nomination win; anyone who can dispatch Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio all at once is worth being alarmed about.

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