Where’s the beef?
The fact that Sunday’s debate between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton didn’t start with a handshake should have signaled the trainwreck that would occur. But who’s to blame the candidates? Clinton had spent the last 48 hours drilling Trump over his latest skeleton to come out of the closet: an 11-year-old audiotape where he described vulgarities that stop just shy of admittance of sexual assault.
Then just minutes before the second debate was to begin, Trump unveil his next move: personally inviting three of Bill Clinton’s alleged sexual assault victims to attend the debate. When the Republican nominee’s play to sit the three in his personal booth was thwarted by debate organizers, he held a press conference to draw attention to them.
Why we should expect this race to crawl out of the muck and mire that it has been stuck in for nearly a year now is, perhaps, silly. This is where we are for the next four weeks. And the TV news networks couldn’t be happier. The first debate scored a knockout punch with a historic 84 million households tuning in across eight TV channels, besting even Monday Night Football in a nearly unheard of happening. It was like a car crash — even when you know you don’t want to look for fear of what you might see, you still look.
It mercifully appears fewer people chose to look the second time, however, deciding they had seen or heard enough.
The second debate scored about 63 million viewers, falling short of the record 69 million viewers who tuned into the second 1992 debate between President George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perot — although only seven networks aired the second debate Sunday, with NBC instead airing Sunday Night Football per its NFL contract. Pundits also pointed out that much of the southeast was either unable or unlikely to watch the debate in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. So why did America begin to tune out? Because even with breaking stories playing into the storyline of Sunday’s debate, we were served piping hot leftovers.