Most pundits and political insiders believe that Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump during the Presidential debate on September 26. They agree that she was much better prepared and kept Trump on the defensive during most of the debate.
A number of online polls, however, suggest that Trump won. While that might reassure Trump and his supporters, Philip Bump, a political blogger for the “Washington Post,” warned that people needed to take such polls with a grain of salt. He explained, “The online polls are… Open to anyone, meaning that anybody with an Internet connection can go and cast a vote. Anyone in Russia, for example, or in Canada. Anyone who is 12 years old or who is not a citizen. Literally anyone can weigh in at any time. And can do so more than once: Vote once from your phone and once at your desktop.”
Trump himself may suspect he lost, and he has blamed that loss on technical difficulties. Shortly after the debate, he told reporters in the spin room that his microphone in the debate hall was defective. He complained, “They also gave me a defective mic. Did you notice that? My mic was defective within the room. Was that on purpose? But I had a mic that wasn’t working properly. But overall, I thought it was a great — and if you look at your polls, they’re through the roof.”
Some online observers did notice that Trump seemed to have been sniffling during the debate, but there was no obvious evidence that his microphone was faulty. Trump has complained about faulty equipment before during the campaign, and he has threatened to not pay the venues that have supplied said equipment.
Jon Passantino of BuzzFeed News noted that this is not the first time that Mr. Trump has accused outside forces of conspiring against him. On Twitter, Passantino posted an observation that Mr. Trump “has several times warned his supporters that he believed he could lose in November because the general election would be ‘rigged.’”
Secretary Clinton considered the complaint about the microphone an oblique admission of defeat. She told reporters, “Anybody who complains about the microphone is not having a good night.”
Presidential debates are organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates, a nonpartisan and nonprofit entity that has been in operation since 1987. Its co-chairs are Michael D. McCurry and Frank Fahrenkopf, who are a Democrat and Republican respectively.