first presidential debate

The mainstream media is attempting to manufacture a Clinton victory from the first presidential debate, while simultaneously painting her as a victim, according to Richard Wagner

The mainstream media is attempting to manufacture a Clinton victory from the first presidential debate, while simultaneously painting her as a victim, according to Richard Wagner

If mainstream media is to be believed, Hillary Clinton won the first presidential debate.  She was poised, presented herself well, made no gaffs, and clearly showed herself as “presidential”.  If mainstream media is to be believed, Clinton wasn’t treated fairly because she’s a woman.

Donald Trump kept interrupting her, and woman all over the country should share in her collective oppression by the patriarchy.  It isn’t like men interrupt each other during political debates.  Oh no!  It’s all because Hillary Clinton is a woman, and those meanie men don’t want to give up the “patriarchy”.

Normally, when you win a debate, you don’t complain about how unfairly you were treated.  Only a Clinton could have the media manufacturing victory while getting the sympathies of victimhood all at the same time.

Some may think this is because of the “woman card”, but let’s not forget Bill.  Only Bill Clinton could have an affair with Monica Lewinsky, lie under oath about it, and come out looking like the victim of those meanie Republicans in Congress.

So why did Trump interrupt Clinton so much?

Trump is a Type A businessman.  In his world, if you want a job done right, you do it yourself.  Lester Holt, the moderator of this first debate, wasn’t doing his job.  Sure, he asked Trump lots of tough questions about tax returns and the birther issue, and even the discrimination case from the 1970s, and that’s fair game.

But where were the questions about Clinton’s deleted emails, Benghazi, the Clinton Foundation, or the White Water swindle from the 1990s?  Since Lester Holt was only doing half of his job (the Trump half), Trump had to try to do the other half of Holt’s job for him.  Trump did get Clinton talking about the emails.  And since Holt likes fact-checking in the middle of a debate so much, he also should have fact-checked Clinton’s denial of having called the TPP “the Gold Standard”.  Even the Washington Post admits that. Trump, again, had to do Holt’s job for him.  

Could this backfire on Clinton?

Clinton conventionally “won” a debate in an unconventional political climate.  Americans, more than ever, are fed up with mainstream politicians, mainstream media, and “expert” opinions.  Had Lester Holt simply done his job – all of it – Clinton likely would come out ahead in this debate.  Trump is Trump, gaffs and all, and Clinton is clearly a well-spoken policy wonk.  However, Holt’s blatantly obvious bias in this debate gives both Trumpsters and swing voters leaning Trump legitimate grievance against this whole debate, and makes them all the more willing to forgive Trump’s gaffs.

Clinton’s base won’t notice the contradictory message of Clinton’s manufactured victory.  Trump can say anything in a debate and his base will always declare him the victor.  As usual, it is swing voters that count.

As swing voters are sick of negative ads, sick of money in politics, and hungry for change, the combination of Clinton’s barrage of expensive, negative ads against Trump and Holt’s handling this debate could cause Trump to once again gain in the polls, leaving the “experts” befuddled, if not mortified.  As Trump pointed out during the debate, Clinton has hit him with a barrage of attack ads, and yet he’s gained on her in the polls.

But of course, as I’ve been saying since Cruz dropped from the primaries, this election is just too weird to make predictions.  So, we’ll just wait and see.

Richard Wagner is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Florida State College at Jacksonville. He conducts independent study on the American conservative movement and foreign policy. When he is...

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