Monday Night Debate

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton match up for their first debate of this lengthy election cycle.


Ari Felhandler

Monday, September 26th marked the first presidential debate of the 2016 election cycle where Republican nominee Donald Trump squared off against his Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton, as Monday Night Football became the secondary spectator sport of the night. This highly anticipated showdown consisted of a 90 minute debate session of questions presented by NBC’s Lester Holt at Hofstra University. Hofstra University made history by becoming the first university to be named the host of three consecutive presidential debates.


The stakes could not have been higher as polls showed that Clinton held an average of a mere 1.6 point lead over her GOP challenger just days before the debate. Meanwhile, Trump remained in slight control in polls from vital swing states including Ohio, Florida, and North Carolina.


Trump is infamous and somewhat braggadocious for drawing millions of additional viewers to the GOP Primary Debates including the 24 million that tuned into Fox News on August 6th. The first presidential debate surpassed all expectations and previous records of past performances. The combination of both candidates on one forum attracted over 80 million people on stations that were televised live. The audience that watched the debate online on numerous social media outlets were not included in the official figures, but is believed to have topped over 20 million. Realistically speaking, over 100 million individuals watched the debate breaking all previous records including the previous record held by the historic presidential debate between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan in 1980.


Each presidential candidate prepared very differently for Monday’s debate. Clinton took a lot of time off the campaign trail over the past month to practice and train for the event. She hired psychologists, lawyers, and debate experts to simulate the debate in order to prepare for the unpredictable event. On the other hand, Trump prepared a lot less and spent most of the last month traveling all over the country holding rallies and engaging in the community.


The beginning of the debate was Trump’s best performance on the stage. He was very aggressive and focused on his core message by talking about the economy and jobs. He attacked Clinton for being a politician and for supporting The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). At one point Trump accused Clinton of being a, “typical politician. All talk, no action.” During that time, Clinton appeared to sarcastically smirk at Trump’s accusations. Clinton even responded, “I have a feeling that by the end of the evening, I will be blamed for everything that’s ever happened.”


The second half of the debate seemed to lean in Clinton’s favor. It also became uglier. As the candidates became more tired and agitated there was more name calling. Clinton accused Trump of saying “crazy things” and also painted him as a sexist, misogynist, and racist. Clinton brought up an incident from his past where the Miss Universe Organization was unhappy with the winner after she gained a lot of weight and became uncooperative. Trump made some unflattering comments about the winner and Clinton pounced on the opportunity to attack him for it. Many people felt that it gave Trump an opportunity to bring up Hillary’s attacks against the women that accused her husband Bill Clinton of various affairs, but he did not.


After the debate was over, it seemed as though everyone had an opinion from the pundits to the voters. Many polls believed Clinton had won and almost as many polls believed that Trump had won. Some polls that stood out included:


CNN poll:

62%- Clinton

27%- Trump


Fox News Online:



52%- Trump

48- Clinton
With fewer than 45 days to the election and 2 more presidential debates that are guaranteed to entertain, Americans have a lot to ponder and some serious decisions to make. More updates to follow. Vote on November 8th!