“The most exciting thing about covering politics is that it unfolds in front of you, you never know what could happen.” My mother’s voice carried through the crisp Cleveland morning, bouncing off the grey walls of Quicken Loans Arena, or “The Q”. I nodded, shrugging it off in all my teenage glory. While mom can’t help me with my trigonometry, she really does know quite a bit about the campaign trail.
Upon entering the hall, it was impossible not to absorb the dynamic energy exuded by the audience. I never would have expected such vibrancy from the endless sea of suits. The moderators were seated, turning to face the crowd. They introduced themselves as if there were no stage, no debate, or even an audience; I realized they were talking to the TV cameras. The astounding cheer after FOX’s Megyn Kelly finished her greeting was a sign of what was yet to come in the first GOP Debate of the 2016 Election.
The room fell silent with the first question, the crowd desperately taking in the candidate’s words until the bell rang signifying the candidate’s time to answer was up; the rush to finish their thought made those words sound more like “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”
Donald Trump provided a much needed contrast, even though his presence was disruptive to the serious and staged nature of the event. He has become the symbol of the distress and delusion of the American people, desperate for a new direction. America needs big changes, and Donald Trump is a living hyperbole. Mr. Trump and his debate theatrics highlight the need for a pragmatic leader.
Standing a few podiums away from Mr. Trump was Senator Marco Rubio, whose velveteen voice and eloquence made him seem all the more presidential. Former Governor Jeb Bush was criticized for being slightly shaky and seemed all knowing in comparison to Donald Trump. Mr. Trump provided this service to other candidates as well, making Governor Chris Christie seem more intellectual, and Dr. Ben Carson seem more qualified, securing the aura of what an experienced politician should be. This debate was the unfolding of my own political views, the unfolding of my journalistic aspirations, and what the campaign trail is really like.
This debate was also an introduction to both the Republican Party and election politics as a whole. The phenomenon of petty political parties resided in my mind for many years, flirting with stereotypes and labeled as the price of Democracy. This image has been torn to pieces by the riveting reality of the way this great nation chooses its leaders. And while I may be spending the majority of the road to 2016 in a classroom, one thing stands true, this election season will unfold before the American people with unprecedented vigor, and anything could happen. Just like my mother said.
Follow Volta Insider on Twitter @VOLTAINSIDER. Volta Insider is Rachel Greenberg’s podcast, which creates a web of intriguing interviews on the ever-changing realms of art, innovation, and politics.