Hillary Clinton eviscerated Donald Trump in their first presidential debate together. Clinton brought facts, temperament, and zingers. In truth, she was almost perfect. Trump, on the other hand, lost “bigly.” He said he was going to be “semi-exact,” but he was also semi-rational, semi-logical, and semi-factual. I would sharply criticize the substance of Trump’s crude arguments, but there is a small problem: there was no substance. Immediately after the debate, Trump said the moderator asked him “very unfair questions,” which follows his theme that the media picks on him. To show that this notion is ridiculous, I will put Trump in Clinton’s shoes: black suede Miu Miu pumps, to be a bit more than “semi-exact.”
First, Trump’s appearance was lackluster. A light blue tie? Light blue hardly bespeaks the toughness of someone seeking the presidency, and blue simply does not complement Trump’s orange tones well at all. Second, it was brave of Trump to try the no-makeup look. Although, he really would have benefited with a little concealer. In Donald’s own words, “The look obviously matters.”
Trump’s opening demeanor was awful. Would it kill him to smile just a little? Not only was he frowning for the whole debate, he spoke in monotone for the first 30 minutes. He sounded tired and boring, like someone’s grandfather. Is that someone who has the “stamina” to be president? And is a grandfather the right image for his campaign? To quote Trump himself, “I just don’t think [he] has the presidential look, and you need the presidential look.” After 30 minutes, Donald Trump must have recognized his image problem and tried to fix it, but he did not compensate well.
For the rest of the debate, Trump came off as needy, insecure, and rude. Over the course of the debate, he interrupted Clinton 51 times according to PBS. Coupled with Trump’s groans and eye rolls, that made him become a real nag. His Trump Tower-sized self doubt boiled over when he claimed, “My best feature is my temperament.” His touchy need for attention shone through when he interrupted Lester Holt to exclaim, “I have to respond!” Female supporters may not be impressed with this performance because it will remind them of their nagging, needy husbands. Clinton made a similar mistake and lost the male vote in 2008, Fox News reports.
The most upsetting part of the debate, however, was Donald Trump’s failing health and/or drug addiction. In The Washington Post’s analysis, Trump sniffled a startling 37 times during his debate. He also constantly drank water. Without releasing his medical records, one might reasonably conclude that Trump is suffering from a deadly illness. But former politician and doctor Howard Dean thinks Trump is using cocaine. This conclusion makes the most sense because it explains Trump’s difficulty speaking under pressure as well as his delusions of grandeur. Unfortunately, neither of these two possibilities—a grave illness or a drug problem—bodes well for the campaign.
If this analysis felt derogatory or excessively judgmental, welcome to Hillary Clinton’s reality. She is consistently held to a different standard than her rival. As MSNBC pointed out, Clinton needed to “sell her presidency” and her image to win the debate on Monday, and Trump needed to “stop lying” and “fill in the gaps in his policy proposals” to succeed. She has to “wow” the country while he has to meet the absolute basic expectations of any candidate. Clinton deserves criticism, but not about her clothes or her “nagging,” and she definitely does not deserve offensive conspiracy theories about drug use or her health (which is not failing). The bar of success is set incredibly high for Clinton and pathetically low for Trump. Trump should not have ludicrous double standards either, but he cannot complain about the “dishonest media” until he has walked a mile in Hillary Clinton’s kitten-heel shoes.
Aberle is a member of the class of 2019.