This Week in Reality TV: Presidential Debate!


Illustration by Eric Rannestad

James Leroux, staff writer

Illustration by Eric Rannestad
Illustration by Eric Rannestad

This past Monday, Sept. 26, at 6 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, the first of the 2016 Presidential Debates was broadcasted to 84 million people, setting a new record for viewership in presidential debate history. It was clear to anybody watching (excluding, of course, stupid people) that the debate was a wonderful representation of the American political climate today.

There was the intelligent and capable but definitely evil and untrustworthy woman struggling to be heard. There was the loud and ignorant man who refused to stop interrupting her to say alternatively false and/or utterly meaningless things. And then, of course, there was the person of color who had absolutely no real ability to influence the discussion at any point, yet somehow still ended up being the one who got screwed over in the end.

It was also clear to anyone watching the debate which of the candidates, when all was said and done, came out the victor. Obviously, Hillary won the debate. She was calm and collected, made her statements clearly and didn’t let Trump’s antics get to her.

However, in a blow to Hillary supporters everywhere, Donald Trump also won the debate, because everything Hillary said was a lie.

Of course, you can’t really say that either candidate “won” the debate and there’s a huge amount of disagreement out there about who really came out on top. In fact, the only thing that everybody can seem to agree on is that Lester Holt is a spineless piece of shit.

I personally enjoyed the debate in the company of a room full of extremely liberal young women, who, in between their fevered crunching of Harvest Snaps™ dried snap peas and frantic guzzling of grapefruit La Croix, spent the debate putting their hands to their foreheads and saying things like, “Oh my god, can he like, fucking just stop already?” every time Donald Trump said anything.

I, meanwhile, eating chips and drinking the beer I had brought, that I and no one else was drinking, only spoke at the very rare times during which Trump was actually saying something that made a small amount of sense. At these times, I would speak up and say something to the effect of, “Well you know he’s actually kind of right about that,” which would elicit from my company a little bit of hesitant agreement and a lot of awkward silence.

Despite all of this I actually found the debate extremely entertaining. There were so many good burns, so many laughably inane statements and so much repetition that the only rational explanation left for the state of this election is that God is trying to make the most viral supercut video of all time. (Even though it will never beat the one of Donald Trump saying “China”).

But out of all the things which happened in the debate, the most remarkable thing about it was actually what didn’t happen: any reasonable or productive discussion whatsoever. In fact, I think the only thing that has less actual content than the debate itself is this article I wrote about it. And just like this article, no matter which side you’re on, it’s hard to look back on the debate with anything but disappointment.