Donald Trump’s Debate Conspiracy Theory Just Gained Some Evidence
On Friday, the Commission on Presidential Debates admitted in a statement that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's audio had "issues" during the first debate this Monday: "Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump's audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall."
Since his debate performance (which has largely been viewed as a losing one), Trump has been complaining about the microphone he was issued. Trump said, "And they also had, gave me a defective mic. Did you notice that? My mic was defective within the room." However, the Commission did not note any problems with the microphone, so the statement doesn't quite jive with Trump's complaint. Still, the Commission's remarks also appeared rather vague to some. The Atlantic's David A. Graham noted, "We’ve called the commission to ask what that means, but have not heard back yet. Presumably, they are receiving dozens of such queries."
It was easy for many to toss away Trump's microphone complaints because they fed his months-long rant about the election being "rigged" against him. As Graham noted, Trump also has a history of blaming technical equipment malfunctions for some major campaign missteps — like when he didn't denounce the support of former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper. After the uproar following Trump's refusal to disavow Duke, he later blamed it on not being able to hear well because CNN gave him a bad earpiece.
According to a CNN/ORC post-debate poll, by a larger margin, viewers thought Clinton won the first debate Monday at Hofstra University — 62 percent thought the former secretary of state came out on top, while 27 percent considered Trump the winner. The poll also found viewers thought Clinton had a "better understanding" of the issues, 2-to-1.
By some accounts, Clinton's debate performance carried her through to higher polling numbers by the end of the week. On Thursday, Public Policy Polling released stats on key battleground states, and Clinton was holding onto leads in five big ones: Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
By no means is it clear that the debate alone is responsible for Clinton's recent gains. Following the debate, Trump appeared to spiral, focusing on making negative comments about former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, which raised concerns about his presidential temperament. USA Today even broke with its tradition of not endorsing candidate to issue a non-endorsement of Trump.
When Trump complained about his microphone, Clinton responded, "Anybody who complains about the microphone is not having a good night." Political analysts will be sure to watch if the new evidence for Trump's debate complaints will help him dismantle Clinton's recent bump.