By Carrie Burns
The first of three U.S. Presidential Debates started off with a bang Monday night, broadcasted from Hofstra University in New York. The 90 minute debate was separated into three 30-minute segments of specific topics- “Achieving Prosperity”, “Securing America”, and “America’s Direction”.
The evening’s viewing was predicted to be one of the most-watched televised presidential debates in United States history with final numbers clocking in, according to Nielsen, at over 80 million viewers.
The candidates did not disappoint.
Presidential hopefuls, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both leisurely strolled onstage to applause prompted by the evening’s moderator, NBC journalist Lester Holt. Clinton, former Secretary of State who was representing the Democratic Party, was dressed in her signature pantsuit; a bright red. While her Republican rival, businessman Donald Trump opted for a deep blue power tie. Both wardrobe choices were a not-so-subtle peace-offering to the undecided voters within both major political parties; traditionally, red has been the colour of the Republican party, and blue the Democratic.
With a firm handshake, the two dutifully made their way to their podiums and then they were off.
The evening’s discussion centred around international and cyber security, US involvement in Iraq, the environment, trade and jobs, race relations in the US, and taxes. Tensions ran especially high when issues of Clinton’s emails were brought up, along with the mentioning of Trump neglecting to release his tax returns.
In terms of performance, Trump started off remarkably calm during the first 30 minutes, with many claiming him the winner in strongly analysing trade and jobs. During this short period, Clinton appeared a bit nervous, an impression given by the formality of her answers.
This quickly changed. Clinton, feeling more comfortable, was warmed up. Her answers became more thoughtful, her vocal emphasis on important topics evident. She didn’t simply ignore the constant interruptions by her opponent like she had at the start but instead would continue talking or pause to defend herself.
Trump, on the other hand, was practically the mirror opposite. As Clinton warmed, he waned. The businessman isn’t a fan of people addressing him on a first-name basis and from the start of the debate Clinton made use of this, starting the evening off with a serene smile and “Hello, Donald” by way of greeting.
The Donald’s interrupting became more frequent, his temper shorter, and difficult ramblings harder to follow as the night wore on. According to Reuters’ marketing analysis, by the end of the evening 57% of viewers felt that Clinton had won, compared to the 26% who instead favoured Trump.
My favourite moment of the evening was when Trump’s past comments on climate change being a “hoax” were brought to light. As he adamantly denied ever tweeting that, Twitter was almost set ablaze as people everywhere rapid-fire retweeted the exact incriminating text he was denying. The tweet, mysteriously, was quickly deleted by Trump’s campaign staff.