As we prepare for the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton tonight, let’s not lose sight of one fact: This is a very strange election. One major party nominated a politician with decades of experience as first lady, senator, and secretary of state, while the other nominated a businessman who used to be a reality TV star.
On Twitter, several people took their shot at framing the weirdness of this election — with some funny (and grim) results:
finally the whole country will watch as a woman stands politely listening to a loud man's bad ideas about the field she spent her life in— Alexandra Petri (@petridishes) September 26, 2016
Fun reminder: a former Secretary Of State is debating a game show host for the presidency tonight— Livia Scott (@LiviaLove) September 26, 2016
Tonight, one of history's most accomplished politicians must share a stage with a man who hinted that someone should shoot her 6 weeks ago.— Alana Massey (@AlanaMassey) September 26, 2016
Hillary has to debate Trump while fact-checking him. Can you imagine it? A woman having to work twice as hard as a man for the same position— Sam Grittner (@SamGrittner) September 25, 2016
Ezra Klein previously made a similar point after the Democratic and Republican conventions, writing for Vox:
The Democratic Party’s convention was a normal political party’s convention. The party nominated Hillary Clinton, a longtime party member with deep experience in government. Clinton was endorsed by Bernie Sanders, the runner-up in the primary. Barack Obama, the sitting president, spoke in favor of Clinton. Various Democratic luminaries gave speeches endorsing Clinton by name. The assembled speakers criticized the other party’s nominee, arguing that he would be a bad president and should be defeated at the polls. …
The Republican Party’s convention was not a normal political party’s convention. The party nominated Donald Trump, a new member with literally no experience in government. Ted Cruz, the runner-up in the primary, gave a primetime speech in which he refused to endorse Trump, and instead told Americans to "vote your conscience."
The Republican Party’s two living presidents, George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush, declined to endorse Trump or attend the convention. The party’s previous two presidential nominees, Mitt Romney and John McCain, declined to endorse Trump or attend the convention. The assembled speakers — including Chris Christie, a prospective attorney general — argued that the other party’s nominee was a criminal who should be thrown in jail.
This is something that many journalists and Americans largely take for granted now, as people have become more used to Trump’s theatrics. But this isn’t how American politics typically work. As Klein put it, “This election isn’t just Democrat versus Republican. It’s normal versus abnormal.”