The Presidential Debate

trump-clintonI’ve watched parts of most presidential debates, but until tonight, I’m not sure that I watched an entire presidential debate from start to finish. I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out why I watched all of tonight’s debate (and why I haven’t done that for other debates, as far as I can recall), and I think I figured it out.

In the past, I’ve gone into debates with a strong leaning towards one candidate over the other, but I wanted to give their opponent a chance. I wanted to hear what they had to say so I could make a more informed vote.

This year I know for sure who I’m voting for. But I really, really want to better understand why so many people support the other candidate. I wanted to watch the other candidate to comprehend half of this country that I suddenly feel like I know much less about than I thought.

And now I think I get it. I think I understand. I don’t understand the candidate, nor do I agree with their supporters, but I understand at least part of why some people are moved to support them.

Can you tell that I’m trying really hard not to show my hand? 🙂 This isn’t a political blog, nor do I want to incite anything political in the comments. If you watched the debate, what inspired you to watch it?

13 thoughts on “The Presidential Debate”

  1. I hope that people watched the debate thinking about how serious this is. This is not a drill, or a joke, or a reality tv show. Real people are going to be hurt if the country makes the wrong decision. You should vote for the person you think is qualified and capable for the presidency. They have the power of life and death for millions of people. For their sake, take this seriously.

  2. I may have had some feelings like yours, of trying to understand the other side, but I watched it mostly because of how serious it is, like David said. The stakes are very high and the polls seem close, and the debate seemed like it would resolve strongly in one person’s favor. But who would be the big winner? I also feel like, more than most recent debates, the whole nature of the enterprise is under debate — how baldfacedly can someone running for president lie and “get away with it?” Which really wins votes: facts and reason, or emotional appeals and charisma? (I would say many past debates had a mix of emotional appeals and reasoning for all the candidates; this one seemed like it would resolve into one side presenting far more reasoning. and the other more charisma.).

  3. Well, I’m a politics geek. I’ve watched nearly every presidential debate since I was a kid with Dukakis/Bush.

    That said, I watched it hoping my preferred candidate would shine and the other one would be a dumpster fire both to soothe my nerves and for entertainment purposes because I’m fairly skeptical about how much of an actual impact the debates can have (in our modern nation of extreme polarization at least).

    That said, I honestly have no idea how the minds of the politically disengaged/disinclined works as I’m an addict and the very concept of not knowing the candidates and the issues 40 days out from an election is baffling to me.

  4. I watched for many of the same reasons, but also because this is a very specific moment in American history. On one hand, I watched my friend send her 8 year old daughter to bed with a “Sleep tight, we’re going to watch the first female candidate in a presidential debate, I hope she is your first female president!” On the other, not unlike what other people have said, this is a historical campaign and race because it’s the first time the rule book of respect, accountability to facts and fear of backlash against lies and fear mongering seem to be absent. From the moderator being asleep at the wheel to the thousands of citizens who support rhetoric and false statements, this campaign is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. I am continually embarrassed for us on the global stage, and I know the whole world and future generations are watching. I watched because for better and for worse, this is unprecedented.

  5. I watched from France mainly to be honest for the entertainment value, as I will not be allowed to vote although the outcome of the election will undoubtedly affect me as a dweller of planet Earth. On that point I was not disappointed and frankly really horrified. As one of our former presidents used to say : “when you lie, lie big. The bigger your lie is, the more likely you are to get away with it”. You get away with it when people think you are beyond salvation, reasoning or correction. What is happening with this vote is yet another clue that humanity is doomed. I find comfort with the notion that the American people will at some point make the right, albeit not very exciting -I realize that- decision.

  6. I wanted to watch the madness. I don’t understand either side. At all. they both look the same to me. Both idiotic paths we are being forced to take will lead us to the exact same place.

  7. I wasn’t even planning to watch until I got invited to watch. So in the company of wine and friends, I watched the whole debate. It was more entertaining than expected (Is this my life now? Entertained by politics!?) and educational in why these candidates have supporters and who their supporters are. They are both flawed people. I just hope after watching this debate and tune in for the next ones the voters will pick the lesser harmful choice.

  8. Jamey,

    I watched the debate earnestly expecting the candidates to address the most pressing issues of our time and respond to them in a logical and comprehensive manner. I wanted, like you and many of the other respondents, to learn quite a bit more about “the other” as we move rapidly toward the election. The result in no way met my expectations…I witnessed two adults on a stage fighting over every issue in a less-than-dignified manner, and I’m no more informed having spent the time watching the debate.


  9. I watched because I needed to see. I’m an American. It’s my duty.
    Though the very notion that anyone openly supports either of these two candidates is mockery of my dignity as a human person and as an intelligent adult.
    The amount of lies, deceit, hate, treason, selfishness, history of brokering under the table deals, violence, voter fraud, theft, system manipulation, and general treachery that BOTH of these Candidates have in their known records is staggering.

    There are honest people in America. Good, competent, brilliant, skilled, experienced, honest, virtuous, reliable, trustworthy people that can, and should, be President. … Yet we have these 2…?

    The only ones interested in either of these two running the most powerful country on earth are the media. It’s a game to them. And just like 7th grade, it’s been turned into a popularity contest. “Whatever name you hear the most you’ll vote for.” The media, and the media alone, chose these two candidates when supremely better options existed on both sides during the primaries. There is money to be made in the entertainment of this event, and that’s disgusting. To those that voted for these two in the primaries instead of the intelligent, safe, non-humiliating candidates on either side that were better options… the next 4 years are on you.

    America, you have my sympathy and my prayers, because your next 4 (probably 8) years will have a person at the helm that you couldn’t trust with your children. That’s a very bad thing.

  10. To John Wrot: As a 22-year Air Force Veteran, with two Master’s degrees and a better than average understanding of economics, energy, the military, and the threats facing our nation, I’m frankly stunned and saddened that this is the best we can offer our nation.


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