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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the White House: First Debate Edition

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Northeastern chapter.

Well, the first presidential debate of the 2016 cycle occurred earlier this week. In case you missed it, here’s a recap, as told by Twitter. (Who needs thoughtful political analysis when we have the internet to help us interpret the debate?)


Part 1: Pre-Debate Mind Games

I mean, like… you said it, not me.

My team of deplorables will be managing my Twitter account for this evenings debate. Tune in!#DebateNight #TrumpPence16

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 26, 2016


*Brushes invisible piece of lint off her shoulder*

Let’s do this. #DebateNight pic.twitter.com/NkPEGHzucT

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 27, 2016



Lester Holt: Good evening from Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, I’m Lester Holt, anchor of NBC Nightly News. Welcome to the first presidential debate. Now, I invite you to applaud as we welcome the candidates, Democratic nominee for president of the United States, Hillary Clinton, and Republican nominee for president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

Quick reader poll: This the understatement of the ______.

  1. Year

  2. Decade

  3. Century

  4. Millennium

no pressure

— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) September 27, 2016


HILLARY ENTRANCE pic.twitter.com/jRB8dqm4Et

— Chelsea Peretti (@chelseaperetti) September 27, 2016


I already have my head in my hands and I don’t know why.

— Alex Wagner (@alexwagner) September 27, 2016


Some people thought Clinton started off slowly. Some people thought Trump came out guns blazing (also reasonable). And then there was CNN commentator Paul Begala:

Many people think Trump looks tight, nervous. Interrupting Hillary. Drinking lots of water. Choke!

— Paul Begala (@PaulBegala) September 27, 2016



Part 3: Fact Check

“We have taken the homepage of my website, HillaryClinton.com and we’ve turned it into a fact checker.” – Hillary Clinton

Naturally, at this point, Twitter took it upon themselves to fact check in real time as well. They were very helpful…

“Our jobs are fleeing the country. They are going to Mexico, they are going to many other countries.” – Donald Trump

Fact check: Jobs do not have legs and thus cannot flee anything

— Chris Wilson (@chriswilsondc) September 27, 2016


“You’re telling the enemy everything you want to do. No wonder you’ve been fighting ISIS your entire adult life.” -DT

Fact check: Hillary Clinton has not been fighting ISIS her entire adult life.

— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) September 27, 2016


And later:

Fact check: understatement. https://t.co/ljaEvHpvdf

— Ali Vitali (@alivitali) September 27, 2016

Later still:

“WE NEED LAW & ORDER.” Fact check: 20 seasons was enough.

— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) September 27, 2016


Comedian Hari Kondabolu summed it up pretty well in a single tweet:

Donald Trump makes claims like Google doesn’t exist. #DebateNight

— Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) September 27, 2016


Part 4: The Moderator Has Left the Building

At some point, it occurred to people that Lester hadn’t said anything for awhile…


I think Lester bailed.#debatenight

— Joe List (@JoeListComedy) September 27, 2016


Is there a moderator

— Alexandra Petri (@petridishes) September 27, 2016


I keep forgetting that Lester Holt is here.

— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) September 27, 2016


To be fair, if I were him, I would’ve peaced out right after asking the first question.




Part 5: The Twitterverse Grows Distracted


hillary: looks into the camera like she’s on the office pic.twitter.com/voySp73zxQ

— dani❁ (@danibucaro) September 27, 2016


I just re-noticed how strange @realDonaldTrump‘s hair is. I’d honestly gotten used to it! #itssenatorclintonstwominutes

— Rob Crean (@RobCrean) September 27, 2016


Trumps sniffling: Disgusting. Like a dog. Seriously disgusting

— Tim Miller (@Timodc) September 27, 2016


Who let this 3 year old on stage? #debatenight pic.twitter.com/rWiyX5zry9

— Adam Smith (@AdamSmith_usa) September 27, 2016


If you get bored snapchat faces are pretty fun. #debatenj @nj1015 pic.twitter.com/Bk2TF1dUuh

— chris eannucci (@ChrisEannucci) September 27, 2016




Part 6: Closing Thoughts



As the theatrics died down, Twitter weighed in with a few parting thoughts.

For those of you who thought Trump wasn’t speaking English, Her Campus agreed:

Trump-“The security aspect of cyber is very tough” #debatenight pic.twitter.com/s10DBlH05h

— Her Campus (@HerCampus) September 27, 2016


General consensus was that Trump lost… badly:

“Donald, we’ve set the lowest debate expectations for you of all time. Just don’t fail spectacularly.””Got it.” pic.twitter.com/dM0zTnLEv8

— Chris Schleicher (@cschleichsrun) September 27, 2016


People were exasperated:

This has been ridiculous.It’s sad that this is the state of our country. Politics in America today everyone. Are you satisfied?#debatenight

— Alex Law (@AlexLawNJ) September 27, 2016


Gonna read a serial killer novel to recover.

— Lizzie O’Leary (@lizzieohreally) September 27, 2016


And as for Lester Holt? Well…

WE GO NOW LIVE TO LESTER HOLT OFF CAMERA: #Debate2016 pic.twitter.com/JSl45ZQniJ

— Shon (@inkedtater) September 27, 2016

I feel you, Lester. I feel you. (Less than a week until the Vice Presidential Debate… I honestly don’t know if America can make it to Election Day sober.)



Northeastern '16

I was a student. Now I am not.