Twitter declares a surprising loser of the presidential debate

The second (or rather, what would have been the third) presidential debate is in the books now, and one thing’s for certain… those books won’t be best-sellers. While we were all secretly hoping for a repeat of the first debate’s train wreck (since an actual, informative, civil discourse was so not going to happen), that really wasn’t how things unfolded. We didn’t even see a cameo appearance by a limelight-loving insect, a la the VP debate. (Just as well, since Biden didn’t seem to have his swatter at hand.) Instead, all we got was really what, at times, amounted almost to dueling live reenactments of each candidate’s campaign commercials. They were seriously repeating, word for word, anecdote for anecdote, the exact same phrases they’ve practically worn out by now.

No October surprises, or anything surprising at all, really. And no chance whatsoever that anyone, anywhere, would have had their opinion swayed by what they heard tonight. Undoubtedly each side will declare their guy the winner, but the night’s biggest loser, according to Twitter, was… wait for it… whoever was supposed to be operating the mute button!

The muting was rather… muted

Oh yes, the mute button. Such a nice idea, wasn’t it? According to The New York Times, the idea was that each candidate would have two minutes to speak, interruption-free, on each topic while their opponent’s mic was switched off. But eh… did that even happen? George Stephanopoulos, commenting on ABC after the event, said it appeared to have been used “at least four times,” but one Twitter user said they didn’t notice Trump being muted until about 45 minutes in, asking: “Was that the first time Trump has ever been shut up?! ” (One reply: “No, there was a time once in 2016 campaigns. He was shut up by a Black woman pastor. It was glorious.”)

Yet another tweet summed up what many of us were thinking: “It was cute to sell us on the mute button, but it was always going to be like this,” while CNET has already declared “Who muted the mute button?” to be the latest 2020 presidential debate meme. Yet another Twitter user, however, noted that Trump has gotten to the point where he’s even interrupting himself: “I hate the way trump speaks without finishing a sentence. It is absolutely maddening.”

Well, the debating is all over now. And you know what? We, as a people, have the right to take back the mute button. How do we do that? Simple. Just reach out, take your remote in hand, and… turn off the TV! Or at least change the channel.

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