Just a mere hour before the second presidential debate in St. Louis began, Republican nominee Donald Trump declared war on his opponent by holding a press conference including the three women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault. The move shocked the mainstream media, and certainly stirred up more excitement for the upcoming battle between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and her undeniably arrogant counterpart Trump.
After witnessing a relatively terrifying first debate, hopes were that the second would be at least a bit more focused on policy issues and less on character assassination. Nope. Instead, America was subjected to two hours of defamation and awkward aggressiveness between the two presidential nominees. By the end of it all, it was quite clear who the loser of the second presidential debate was: America.
The press conference Trump held with the three woman who had accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault was clearly orchestrated to detract attention from his latest scandal, in which he was caught on a hot mic in 2005 bragging about how his fame enabled him to grope and sexually harass women with no consequence. Trump even invited the three women to sit in at the debate, which certainly helped fuel the awkwardly hateful environment that would only get worse as the debate raged on.
As both candidates came out, they refused to shake hands with one another and immediately both went on the attack. The Republican nominee pummeled Hillary on her husband’s indiscretions, claiming that his vulgar remarks were no match for the actions that the former President had actually committed. Trump even went so far as to tell Clinton that, if he’s elected president, he’d hire a special prosecutor to reopen her email case and throw her in jail. He even went further and publicly stated that he disagrees with his running mate Mike Pence, leaving the fate of an already deteriorating Republican party in question.
While Clinton may have let Trump get under her skin, she stayed focused on his offensive character, proposed ban on Muslims and constant degradation of women as her main talking points. But even at her best, any chance of positive vibes setting up shop at the town hall-style debate was blown out of the water by Trump lurking behind her creepily in almost every moment. Clinton had some poor moments herself, particularly when she went into her excuse for Wall Street paid speeches and also showed a frightening amount of aggression towards Russia.
Overall, it seemed as if Trump’s goal in the unusually dark and bitter debate was to bring Clinton down to his level, and in many ways, he succeeded. Although post-debate polls show that Clinton "won" the battle, Trump’s brash style looked to be as effective as ever. In fact, the debate got so vitriolic that the last audience question, which asked both candidates to name one positive thing they respect about the other, was almost unanswerable.
It is very likely that most of the nation was distraught trying to find one positive thing about either candidate, but the highlight of the debate may have been new internet sensation Kenneth Bone, a well-dressed and mild-mannered audience member who asked a simple question about energy. In a tense debate that seemed to tailspin further and further away from the actual issues plaguing the country, even CNN had to declare Bone the winner of the contest. And it makes perfect sense, as he was seen as the most favorable part of the debate. In a presidential race that continues to polarize and divide Americans, Kenneth Bone was living proof that underneath it all, we’re all still human beings. Let's hope that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are able to somehow realize this as well.