"Because You'd be in Jail" will Echo Through History

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"Because you'd be in jail."
"Because you'd be in jail."
Photo Credit: 
Saul Loeb/Pool via AP

"It's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country."

"Because you'd be in jail."

And the crowd goes wild.

If you watched the second presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, you saw this exchange around the middle of the bloody cage match. This was the hottest and possibly most significant moment of the whole debate. Not a policy explanation, not a calm criticism of the opponent, but a spontaneous one-liner. It was so perfectly timed and delivered by Trump that the crowd - who was asked in the beginning to stay silent - had a huge reaction. So big that Anderson Cooper stammered to quiet them down in a fit of obvious irritation.

The fact that the audience couldn't contain itself from collectively cheering and applauding at this line really says something. It shows the frustration in the general public about corrupt politicians. Everyone knows that what Hillary did in her long, storied email scandal was wrong. Everyone knows that there are people in jail for doing the same thing Hillary did in mishandling classified information. Maybe that's why "Hillary for Prison" t-shirts and yard signs are so popular. The Hillary for Prison forum on Reddit has almost double the subscribers of the actual Hillary Clinton forum. This is partly what Donald Trump is talking about when he calls his campaign a movement.

But I believe this one-liner is more than a quick zinger. It's something that will be talked about for years, particularly around the time of future presidential debates. It stands out because it was a line that never could have been prepared. It never could have been scripted. All of the debate coaching in the world couldn't have generated that line. It requires genuine cleverness and wit. Hillary couldn't have responded even if she wanted to because of the roaring crowd.

That one line changed the rules of debates. Candidates interrupting each other with arguments and talking points is nothing new. Everybody wants to get their scripted sound bites in, but we’ve never seen anything like this. Moderators are stumbling over themselves more than ever trying to keep arguing politicians in line. I hope we see more loosely moderated debates because of “you’d be in jail.” Much like a good hockey fight, the ref breaks it up just when it starts getting good. Does America want to see a clean match or do we want to see some blood on the ice?

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