Chris Wallace Is Helping You Remember How Civilized Presidential Debates Used To Be
The past two presidential debates have been described as "contentious" by many, with presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump interrupting each other and ignoring the moderator. But Fox News' Chris Wallace has kept this debate civil, and he's showing us exactly what these debates should be like.
Before the debate started, Wallace conversationally addressed the audience in the nicest way to tell people to be quiet I’ve seen this entire election cycle. And so far, his request seems to have been taken seriously. Rather than applauding and/or booing the candidates as they trade jabs, the audience has been fairly quiet.
Through their past debates, Clinton and Trump have frequently not answered questions directly, gone off-topic, and gone over time with their answers. But Wallace’s management of the unruly candidates has been masterful. While a few things have slipped past Wallace, under his watch the candidates have shown each other and their audience a semblance of respect, with less interruptions than ever.
"I get to ask the questions!" Wallace said at one point, cutting short the candidates' off-topic conversation.
Trump went somewhat off-topic in his answer to Wallace’s question on whether Trump would want Roe v. Wade overturned, instead talking about his own pro-life stance and how the judges he would appoint are pro-life. Wallace intercepted Trump’s deflection, forcing Trump back on topic to say he will overturn the ruling through his Supreme Court appointments. And Wallace's disciplining of the candidates was bipartisan. When Clinton similarly went off-topic in her answer, Wallace brought her back on topic, asking “how far” she believes the right to abortion goes. (Which inspired its own abortion discussion.)
Later on, when Trump interrupted Clinton during her speaking time, Wallace admonished Trump, saying, "Her two minutes, her two minutes, sir." And Trump actually stopped interrupting Clinton. At last, some form of order in the debate room. Of course, it didn't last too long, with Trump interrupting Clinton's claim about Trump allegedly mocking a disabled reporter, with his trademark, "Wrong." But even his "wrong" seemed more subdued than usual.
The first presidential debate between Trump and Clinton broke records, becoming the most-watched debate in American history, with an estimated 84 million viewers, according to Nielsen. Unfortunately, the candidates "savaged each other" throughout "tense exchanges," in the words of the New York Times. So far this debate has avoided the extreme contentiousness of the past two. Hopefully the issues discussed in this debate will help whatever undecided voters are left choose a candidate.