Last night was the first 2016 Presidential Debate, and it was much less exciting than anticipated. Trump and Clinton exchanged the same barbs they have deployed thus far in their media tours. It also illuminated very few new or interesting developments on policy or perceptions of the candidates themselves occurred. There was one development that, unfortunately for those of us that value free speech, bodes ill for future political discussion: the analysis of interruptions.
Fortune, Los Angeles Times, Vox, Mic, Newsweek and Huffington Post all had stories running that included "interruption" or some derivation of the word by Tuesday morning. It's as if Interruptions arrived on earth in a giant spaceship filled with alien technology. The wonder! The fear! The world is upside down!
It couldn't be farther from the truth. Interruptions are far more of an expected component of any discussion. There are two kinds of interruptions: those designed to refocus the conversation and those designed to silence the opposition. EVERY candidate employees those in a debate. It's often applied in Congressional hearings, and it's every 15 seconds on television.
Interruptions should be handled like an opponent's force in Judo. A skilled candidate knows how to turn the interruptions into an opportunity to point out a lack of composure, temperament, and judgement. Interruptions allow you to reset when you are attacked. Skilled candidates know how to pivot their answer into a zinger. While I'm not ready to call Clinton a "skilled candidate", she did this very well last night.
It also allowed everyone supportive of the Democrats and the delusional parts of the feminist movement to take an easy position against Donald Trump. He's sexist, see? He interrupts women, see? It was all too easy for the Clinton campaign and their surrogates to do two things: refocus on idea that Trump has terrible temperament and composure and silence any element of success he had. Like a successful martial artist, Clinton turned these into her advantages.
The fact that this is the main argument against Trump's debate performance short changes the actual issues around his candidacy. It silences any actual discussion about the Chinese global warming hoax tweet or the numerous Chapter 11 bankruptcies or sexual harassment issues. It keeps the American people who aren't keyed into every 140 characters of the news cycle in the dark about the actual content of the conversation. In this situation, the government will always win since it's in their best interest to control information to their benefit. That means that the American people alway-