I’m not sure what I was expecting coming into this debate. I’m not sure what anyone involved was expecting. Donald Trump’s first presidential debate in 2016 against Hillary Clinton was the most-viewed debate in television history and featured an easily digestible dynamic: brash and exciting outsider versus seasoned but boring political animal, obscenely rich oaf versus cold unfeeling killer, chaos versus order. It was understandable. Things made sense. Then Hillary Clinton’s campaign missed a free-throw so hard it broke reality and all the jokes became real. That’s the world we live in now, and that’s the world where this goddamn stupid debate happened.
Before Tuesday night in Cleveland, the worst presidential debate in American history was probably the 1828 debate between America’s most violently insane president, Andrew Jackson, and America’s nakedest president, John Quincy Adams. There was a lot of what we used to derisively refer to as “mudslinging”, and according to records it got very personal. This is a dangerous thing to do around Andrew Jackson, the man who straight-up shot Charles Dickinson to death when Dickinson insulted the virtue of Jackson’s wife Rachel, but Adams grew up in the middle of a war and wasn’t afraid to exchange