The Presidential Debate's Biggest Moments, According to Millennial Women (And One Guy!)
The reviews are in: The first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was a massive spectacle. More than 80 million people tuned in to find out how the two candidates would try to convince the American public to support them in November, and it made for some must-see TV. We wanted to know what stood out to millennial women as the high—and low—points of the 90-minute debate. Here's what they told us:
"The moment that stood out to me as being the worst was when Donald Trump said that he’s not racist because he opened a golf club with African American and Muslim members!" —Meredith, 34, Queens, N.Y.
"I am by no means a Clinton supporter, but she won this debate hands down. I was anticipating seeing a coughing, twitching mess up there but she was surprisingly poised and — dare I say it? — she looked good. After seeing this debate, part of me wishes Ted Cruz was standing up there in Trump's place. Although, Rubio was always my pick, Cruz is one hell of a debater and he could have given Clinton a run for her money. Instead, the night was a big flop for the Republican Party, which is a real disappointment. But I also think this debate epitomizes the need for a third party. Even though Gary Johnson is not my choice for a candidate, he would have been able to challenge some of the ideas the came from both candidates. I hope that this election will open the eyes of the American people to what is truly wrong with the two-party system, and they'll take action to change it in the future." —Courtney, 26, Sacramento, Calif.
"My personal highlight was when Hillary Clinton told Donald Trump that the architect who he allegedly stiffed was in the audience — a human receipt, if you will. I was waiting for this architect to pop up onstage and address Trump like Madison Montgomery in American Horror Story: Coven." —Chris, 23, New York, N.Y.
"As a criminologist, Donald Trump's utter ignorance about our criminal justice system completely shocked me. I was literally shaking with anger when he was describing his faith in stop-and-frisk. Luckily, Hillary completely shut him down, but the fact that people like him exist and share similar beliefs about the criminal justice system is why we need to 'make America great again'—but clearly he is not the one who will do it. Denying the fact that stop and frisk is unconstitutional really put the nail in the coffin on Trump for me." —Katie, 28, New England
"As a Bernie supporter who is now supporting Hillary, my biggest takeaway is that Hillary supporters who are passionate about her really need to share that passion—and really need to be vocal and empathetic and try to hear the voices of the folks who aren't already on her team. As a person who is only voting for her because she's the best option left, and because I believe we desperately need to prevent a Trump presidency, I don't think she wowed anyone who didn't already like her. Though, as I like to point out to fellow Bernie supporters—whom I truly hope will vote Clinton—Trump came across as unhinged and rude, whereas she came across as calm and sane. She wins when she points out his ridiculousness—and his fundamentally-cracked personality. I wouldn't trust him to make me a sandwich, let alone to be president." —Alexis, 40, Queens, N.Y.
"I was really freaked out when Trump got cheers (from an audience that was told to be quiet, no less!) when he tried to deflect questions about his tax returns by turning it back on Clinton’s emails. I’m worried that because Clinton is being pulled in so many directions by everyone’s expectations of how the first woman president should act, that she won’t be able to assert herself in a way that will counteract those optics." —Ellen, 26, Los Angeles
"I worry that people believe everything Trump says because you WANT to trust someone who could potentially be the leader of the free world. Like, that should be a given. So when he twists words (as he did with the whole 'super-predator' comment) or flat-out makes shit up (I’m sorry, he did say Hillary was the first to question Obama’s citizenship, right?), his supporters just blindly trust him. And that’s scary and crazy." —Kimberly, 39, New Jersey
"Let's put how un-presidential, infuriating, and distracting Trump's middle school-age bully tactics were aside—yelling 'not' and 'wrong' over Clinton's answers (because seriously, who doesn't remember the kids that did that in class?), boasting about avoiding taxes, and joking about charges of racism. What I found most offensive was his repeated questioning of what Clinton had been doing over the past 30 years—a time that she has spent tirelessly working in public service for the betterment of our lives and our country, while he has been working for the betterment of his own wallet and his reality television success." —Sarah, 30, Dallas
"It was interesting to me that in the post-debate spin, even Kellyanne Conway's biggest praise seem to be that Trump—a man who had a very public extramarital affair—showed 'restraint' for not bringing up Bill's past transgressions (which are, by the way, entirely irrelevant to Hillary's candidacy). I thought that, overall, Trump seemed wildly unprepared and was flailing because Clinton was, for the most part, unflappable. He did his best work in the primaries when Cruz/Rubio/etc. would get riled up; Hillary seemed to know how to get under Trump's skin without sinking to his level, and I think that benefitted her." —Bernadette, 28, New Jersey
"The thing that actually infuriated me the most was how much Trump interrupted Clinton. We don’t expect debates to be entirely civilized, and it’s not like the primary ones didn’t get heated, but it was hard to watch a dude repeatedly interrupt a woman’s carefully-prepared responses in order to bark at her and say she’s wrong over and over again. We all know how frustrating that is, because it happens to us. All. The. Time." —Megan, 31, Brooklyn, N.Y.
"Clinton very clearly did her homework and showed up prepared. Trump felt like he was all over the place and kept jumping around. She provided thoughts and ideas and solutions that were as specific as possible in such a short time, while Trump had nothing solid — no actual solutions. The best moment was when Hillary mic-dropped with, 'You know what else I’m prepared for? To be President of the United States.'" —Erin, 26, Atlanta
"The moment that that lingers the most in my mind was when Trump attempted to deflect [moderator Lester] Holt's question about his tax returns by referencing the old 'Clinton's emails' chestnut. Clinton responded by straight-up admitting her mistake, but the best was what came next, perhaps the evening's single greatest visual takeaway (except, of course, for Hillary's grinning, shimmy moment): Trump hovers over his mic, finger pointed accusingly into the air, and then realized in real-time that whatever quip he had prepared is now useless. He has no response; he is speechless. Clinton took responsibility, but even more impressively, for several seconds she managed to accomplish the impossible: She was able to make Trump shut up." —Megan, 30, Ohio
"I felt like one candidate was trying to sell me on the various benefits of Cutco knives, while the other was telling me they weren't the sharpest knife in the drawer. And also, as a queer woman and a person of color, it was disheartening to see someone who has little respect for me as a person, who is completely unprepared for the role of president, and who has no respect for the other candidate, be what half of America wants for our leadership." —Lauren, 28, New York, N.Y.
"Private prisons closing! I love how she said that we need to close private prisons in states as well as nationally. Profit-driven institutions have no place in our judicial system, especially when there is a racial bias currently plaguing our country. This is the most tragically un-American thing we’ve let creep into the periphery." —Alexa, 26, Nashville
"I know in my heart that Clinton wanted to 'go high' with her responses and not get into the mud with Trump, but I found myself frustrated that she didn’t bite back harder. She was trying to be above the fray, but somehow, to me, it came off oddly aloof and/or … smug? I was constantly reassessing my reactions to her, knowing that I might be holding her to a double standard, but dammit! He made me so mad I just wanted her to, well, get mad, too." —Laurel, 36, Brooklyn, N.Y.
"If it wasn't for Twitter, I don't think I would've survived the night. I loved it when Clinton said she's 'prepared to be President,' because it was clear she definitely studied for the debate. It's also unfortunate that Trump did some mansplaining and interrupted, which doesn't do him any favors with women voters. But I don't think either of them did a great service to cybersecurity. Still, Clinton staying silent as Trump dug his grave was fun to watch." —Nguyen, 26, Hartford, Conn.
"People like to blame third party candidates for 'ruining' elections (especially for Democrats), but the bigger problem is that we don't get a fair chance to hear from them. We're deluded into thinking we have a so-called choice between a tantrum-throwing megalomaniac and a war-mongering establishment shill. Nobody seems particularly excited about either candidate, just passionately against the other. I resent having my democratic right to representation be so thoroughly tamped down. Poor people, indigenous people, people of color, unauthorized immigrants—none of these groups are well represented in government, and they are more likely to be prosecuted and persecuted than cared for by our governance structures. We need to advance together, and neither of these candidates invokes confidence that we will. I also think it's very important to listen to the anger of the white, working-class people who support Trump. They are disenfranchised by declining industry in their towns, and attracted to how Trump appeals to their fears for their futures. I vehemently disagree with the racist and destructive conclusions often drawn from that anger, but the fact remains that these people feel closed out of the political process." —Arielle, 29, Philadelphia
"The hardest part for me to watch was when Holt asked Trump about his 'presidential looks' comment. Trump found a way to pivot an already sexist statement into something even grosser, repeating the word 'stamina' in an ugly, sexual way that both reinforced the sexist narrative that Hillary is a 'frigid bitch' and nauseatingly congratulated his own sexual prowess. As vile as that word—and that pivot—was, Hillary’s response earned the only cheer from me of the night. She’s not perfect, but I’ll proudly stand with her on November 8." —Sara, 29, New York, N.Y.
More From Glamour:
• How To Watch The Presidential Debate If You Don't Have a TV
• Donald Trump's Coded Insults Toward Clinton Were Stealth Sexism at its Worst
• Twitter Responds to Trump's Comments About Minorities "Living in Hell"
• Election 2016 So Far: A Timeline by Comedy Writer Jess Dweck
Photo Credit: Getty Images