Staff Editorial 10/21 Trainwreck Election
Clinton and Trump worst presidential nominees in American history.
The September 26 presidential debate was the most-watched in history, raking in approximately 84 million viewers, media research giant Nielsen said. This only includes viewers who watched at home, not at offices or parties, so the actual number of viewers may have been even higher. The Clinton-Trump face-off bested not only the prior debate record-holders – Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan’s one-time debate in 1980 – but also Monday night football.
Sports Media Watch said the Falcon-Saints game received only a 5.7 rating, the lowest in National Football League history, whereas the debate received a 46.2 rating. For comparison, Fox Sports cites the 2016 Super Bowl as having received a 49.0 rating.
The Super Bowl, which has long been the most watched television event, is not too far ahead from what NBC intended to be a presidential policy debate but in actuality, was a reality television spectacular. While we may hope the record-breaking debate viewership was the result of our increased political awareness or readjusted priorities, our true motivation is this – everybody loves a trainwreck.
We put an establishment politician with a spotty record, including catastrophe in Benghazi and ill regard for the law, next to a reality TV star with zero political experience and unfathomable sexual assault charges.
Watch now as train cogs litter our highways, its compartments go up in smoke, and we just drive by. Our gaper’s block stalls all travelers behind us, including the newly eighteens who line up at the voting booth to choose the lesser of two evils, the sanest criminal, and walk away ashamed, regardless of party and the vote cast. Their first act of political participation will be to discern which candidate will do the least damage or which candidate Congress may gridlock most effectively.
We could, of course, vote for the third party, but few of us are willing to leave behind the red and blue straight-ticket voting. Even if we were, Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson does not know what Aleppo, the center of conflict in Syria, is and cannot name a single foreign leader. Johnson’s best chance is that enough of us will act out of exasperation and mark his name in a desperate attempt to avoid any affiliations to either Clinton or Trump.
Our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, however, could walk out of the voting booth proudly with America-striped “I voted buttons” and declare they had cast their ballots for John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Barack Obama – presidents immortalized by history.
Obama may have ran for office on a platform of hope, and as a result reached an approval rating of 55 percent, but his successor will stoop to no such level. Both who vie for that position will also be immortalized, but not for their policies.
These are the most unfavorable candidates in history, ABC said, as its ABC News / Washington Post poll reports 56 percent of adults view Clinton as “unfavorable,” and 63 percent view Trump the same way. Neither candidate has even a half of our country which does not despise them.
But how entertaining was that debate, and the second? From them, we reap glorious GIFs of Clinton sour-facing Trump and grainy TV photos of Ken Bone, his red sweater, mustache, and unassuming demeanor reason enough for us to catapult him to Twitter’s front lines. We have tweeted about him “far, far more than Justice Scalia,” the Independent said, though our trainwreck survivor will get to name the Supreme Court Justice’s successor.
Saturday Night Live, too, capitalizes on our “interest”: comedic powerhouses Kate McKinnon and Alec Baldwin transform into Clinton and Trump, respectively, but they need only to repeat the true candidates’ lines before we roar with laughter.
After the debate and the late night comedy, we did not host a civil discourse about trade deals or tax plans; instead, we compared Clinton and Trump’s ability to insult each other and judged them by personality not policy. We ignored their plans to create jobs and looked past their pitches to fight ISIS to focus on screenshots of them brandishing microphones and singing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” or so we caption.
Reality for us is too humorous, but what happens when we cannot turn off our televisions once we have had enough? November 8 is nearly here, so get comfy, America. Make popcorn and tighten that star-spangled Snuggie because we have just pre-recorded the next four years of American Trainwreck. It is going to be a long show.