Richard Roeper Blog

Richard Roeper’s Thoughts: First Presidential Debate of 2016


The first of three presidential debates is over, which means we’re really just getting started with the home stretch of the presidential campaign.

No doubt the Trump campaign feels they won the night, while the Clinton camp will be equally confident they triumphed. Nobody crashed and burned, nobody scored the cliched “knockout punch”–but that almost never happens in any debate on any level.

Whether you support Trump or Clinton or you’re undecided, whether you think this was a carnival or a legitimately informative evening, I hope you agree there are a lot more positives than negatives to a night such as this.

We live in a country where all of us–politicians, paid operatives, journalists, folks at home watching the debate–can Tweet, Snapchat, Instagram, text message, blog, Facebook and shout from rooftops, without fear the government will storm our homes and drag us away and punish us for expressing ourselves. That’s a freedom we sometimes take for granted, and a freedom hundreds of thousands have fought and died for.

To be sure, some of the comments on the Twitterverse and elsewhere tonight were mean-spirited and vicious. The same could be said of commenters weighing in on ANY topic.

Overall, here on my Facebook page and on my other Social Media outlets, I saw passionate but mostly respectful back-and-forth. As many of my longtime readers/viewers/Followers know, I always try to keep an open mind and I’m willing to Retweet or quote my conservative friends when they make solid points, catch me in a mistake or simply come up with a good one-liner.

I doubt many opinions were changed by tonight’s debate. That rarely happens.

If you love Trump’s Wild Wild West style and you loathe Clinton, are troubled by the e-mail leaks and other red marks on her resume, and you’re pining for a major shakeup in Washington, nothing Trump did tonight will likely change your views.

If you respect Clinton’s resume and you’re appalled by Trump’s decades-long history of cruel taunts, his juvenile feuding, his questionable business practices, his uninformed belief in conspiracy theories and his racist views, I can’t imagine how he could have won you over tonight.

The battle is for the Undecided. And that battle has yet to be won.

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