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September 27, 2016

DEBATE REPORT CARD: Trump Avoids Explicit Slurs! Hillary Promises Double NAFTA! Sean Hannity Wins the Night!

At Hofstra University Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump met face-to-face for the first time since a black tie Clinton Foundation fundraiser in Dubai. The candidates went into this battle virtually tied for the White House — but one came out with a definite edge. Without further ado, here are the Dig’s report card grades:

Lip Pursing


Avoiding Racial Slurs


Air Conditioners






Hell on Earth




Trump started the night off strong, keeping his interruptions of Hillary tactical and measured, and deftly avoiding using racial slurs. However, around the time that Trump launched into another diatribe about how 90 percent of Chicago’s residents are actively being murdered, the wheels started to fall off. For one, he began to stammer “wrong” and “not” during Hillary’s time, as opposed to the deliberated, “that was a total disaster”-type utterances he had towards the beginning.

Secondly, the magnate began repeating himself, fixating on air conditioner factories and bizarre bureaucratic errors that caused immigrants slated for deportation to become citizens. Is it possible that we mislabeled Ted Cruz as the standard bearer for spectrum conservatives?

Clap Back

Side Eye



Eye Movement

Epipen Readiness





avg. 35 BPM




Hillary lived up to the moniker of “Slay Queen” tonight when she threw the first punch, calling Donald a trust fund kid who’s good at cheating his taxes. Living in the hipster mecca of Brooklyn, I know that the worst thing you can be called is a “trust funder” who thinks he’s too good to work at craft breweries and crossfit studios. Having money screams “inauthenticity,” something that’s anathema to the entitled, cash-strapped, proud-to-be-in-debt-and-not-own-their-own-houses-or-boats Millennials whose votes Hillary needs to win.

Hillary cleverly forced Donald into taking some uncomfortable positions, such as admitting he’s good at making money and having sex and coming out against Japan. These pronouncements alienated Trump’s key support base of basement-dwelling incelibate hikikomori who have long thought the billionaire developer to be genuinely concerned with their key issues of hentai localizations and banning women from Xbox Live. Based on CNN’s snap post-debate poll showing a massive lead for Hillary, it’s clear many Pepe frogs were burned in anguish last night.

Hillary also made an affirmative case for herself, promising many popular initiatives such as solar panels, double NAFTA, and cyberwar with Russia. Her skeptical glances, pronouncements to “CHECK the FACTS on that,” and reluctance to faint made me wonder if I was looking at the first female President.

Fact Checking

Record Correcting

Scoring Silly Whoppers On The Lie-O-Meter

Asking Clinton About Doling Out Favors For Donations To Her Foundation

Asking Trump When He Stopped Being Racist










Lester Holt did an admirable job playing referee tonight, but I can’t help but wonder why the Commission on Presidential Debates chose a flashy TV reporter instead of a blood-and-guts print journalist. I don’t mean any disrespect to those perfectly-coiffed talking heads who spend hours in the makeup chair just so they can read a teleprompter to the feedbags in Middle America who still tune in to network news. But we Men of the Ink are a different breed. We spend our days berating sources, our afternoons drinking hard, and our evenings pounding away at our Selectrics while drinking hard. We live and die on the deadline. Imagine if Woodward and Bernstein had told Deep Throat they had to cancel their parking garage rendezvous because they were needed in wardrobe for an “Action 9 News” segment on one heroic dog whose efforts to raise money for emphysema research made him “best in ‘blow.'”

Sorry, Lester. I admire your career, but you can’t call the winners and losers of the week from a cushy air conditioned studio in 30 Rockefeller Center. You need to get out of the set and into the bars, the pubs, the lounges, and speakeasies to hear what real Americans are thinking. You need to down a few Michelobs and smell the chalk dust on their hands from shooting round after round of pool and hear them swagger over generic menthol cigarettes, “eyyy the local sporpsball team is goin’ all the way this year. And my old lady’s on my back about tha deficit that’s outta control!” You may win Emmys, my friend, but that’s what wins Polk Award nominations.




Cats In The Cradle

Little Boy Blue

Did Trump Support Iraq War?




Too Grown Up Now To Call The Man Who Raised Them

And The Silver Spoon

And The Man In The Moon

I Don’t Know When…


The hidden winner of tonight’s debate was Fox News host Sean Hannity. I certainly have my disagreements with Sean. While he turned my blockbuster 2007 article “Tony Rezko: Watergate Times Infinity” into an hourlong special, I cannot condone his years of abuse directed towards principled alpha male Alan Colmes. Perhaps it’s that abrasiveness that has alienated him from colleagues, friends, and his own family, leading him to beg his longtime friend Donald Trump to ask debate viewers to call him.

As a noncustodial single father of a tween I know what it’s like when your son thinks he’s “too cool” to Snapchat with his old man about Simpson-Bowles (hey, his generation will be paying that deficit, not mine!) It hurts. So I feel where Sean is coming from when he checks his voicemail and hears not Autumn Father’s Day well wishes but angry calls from alimony debt collectors.

I know Sean. He’s not a bad person, he’s just turned his insecurities into a classic tough-guy, crypto-racist white nationalist persona. If only someone — anyone — would take the time to dial him up and just say “hey, how are you?” the sunny Sean would shine through. I would do it, but I’ve been legally enjoined from calling all Fox News hosts as per a gag order in their many, many, many sexual harassment lawsuit settlements. Hopefully someone else — like Sean’s estranged children — heard Trump’s message.

Carl “The Dig” Diggler has covered national politics for 30 years and is the host of the Digcast, a weekly podcast on iTunes and Soundcloud. Got a question for the Dig? E-mail himat [email protected] or Tweet to @carl_diggler.