The Second Presidential Debate

Many people have waited months for something defamatory from Trump’s past to be leaked and lead to his downfall. For some, the perpetrators could be Anonymous, WikiLeaks, the DNC, or an anti-Trump organization. There were a few close calls, reveals that merely grazed his reputation, but finally, audio and footage of him saying crude things about women was released through a reporter from an undisclosed source, spurring many women he allegedly assaulted or harassed to come forward with their stories.

Particularly with the video setting the backdrop for the debate, my friend Zoë and I knew we had to tune in, so we gathered in the Pearsons common room along with several others. We made fun of Trump’s frequent sniffing, criticized Trump (and occasionally Clinton) for dodging questions, and cheered at the best clapbacks (when Clinton said, “Okay, Donald, I know you’re into big diversions tonight, anything to avoid talking about your campaign and the way it’s exploding, and the way Republicans are leaving you…”).

In the days following the debate, I watched some of my favorite comedy and late night shows both to feel better about the theatrics of the election and look more closely at some of things the candidates said.


Trevor Noah

Since taking Jon Stewart’s mantle as the host of The Daily Show last year, Trevor Noah’s wit, delivery, and insight has brought new life to the program. I listed him first because he and his correspondents set the standard for election coverage. Favorite quote: “I love how they [Republican politicians] feel the need to use the women in their families to justify their outrage … The Trump tape shouldn’t offend you on behalf of females, it should offend you as a human being.”


Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert’s (relatively) new move from The Colbert Report to The Late Show ended his mock-conservative persona, but he has retained his political savvy. Favorite quote: “So, Trump hasn’t spoken to Mike Pence, but I really think he should reach out soon because I’m pretty sure at this point Mike Pence is an undecided voter.”


Samantha Bee

Samantha Bee is a gift. She’s a kind of “tell it like it is” comedian, with rapid-fire jokes and unabashedly liberal-leaning commentary. Favorite (sarcastic) quote: “Yeah, why didn’t she [Hillary Clinton] do anything about taxes thirty years ago? Everybody knows that the federal tax rates are set by the First Lady of Arkansas.”


Seth Meyers

Those who looked forward to Seth Meyers’ Weekend Update on SNL for his political coverage will be happy to see his familiar style in covering this election. Favorite quote: “Trump has become such a pariah that the New York Times reported over the weekend that ‘...Trump Tower...has become a kind of lonely fortress for its most famous occupant, who holes up inside, increasingly isolated and upset…’ You know, we’re about two weeks from learning the name of Trump’s childhood sled.”


If you haven’t watched any of the previous presidential debates, I highly recommend watching the final one on Wednesday, October 19th at 9 pm, moderated by Chris Wallace of Fox News. Mount Holyoke Debate Society is hosting a viewing party in Blanchard that night (you can read about the first of their events here). Watching the debate with a ton of other mostly liberal people is comforting; if I had watched the first or second debate alone, I might have become disillusioned and cynical. But watching with a group of people made me pay attention to detail and enjoy strong quotes from Hillary Clinton. Alternatively, students will undoubtedly flock to common rooms to watch, and many major networks will stream the debate online!


(Thumbnail courtesy of


If you would like to write for Her Campus Mount Holyoke, or if you have any questions or comments for us, please email [email protected].