I am far from an impartial judge when it comes to the 2016 presidential contest but in my estimation Hillary Clinton won Monday night’s debate at Hofstra University by every metric!
I heard constant sniffling in the background. I’m not sure whose microphone it came from. I almost have to believe it came from the moderator NBC’s Lester Holt because I saw no visual evidence of it on the split screen of the two candidates. Donald Trump may want to claim he had a cold as an excuse for his performance.
Hillary Clinton looked presidential. I could imagine her negotiating with a dictator, (perhaps that is why Russia’s Vladimir Putin is a Trump supporter), or working with someone like Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel (arguably currently Europe’s most powerful leader). Trump, on the other hand, looked and sounded like either a wise guy in high school or a loud mouth drunk in a bar.
I’d have to think Trump played well with Bubba (who like Trump knows little of policy). Trump still appears to be busy consolidating his primary base. Hillary should have appealed to the few persuadables that were listening. Political science research shows that the most committed to a side are the most likely debate watchers. The question is whether Hillary convinced her supporters to actually show up at the polls. Trump appeared so unfit that he may have been more effective at that than Hillary was.
The split screen didn’t benefit Trump. Who or what was he looking at off stage? It reminded me of the Al Gore groans and Bush 41 checking his watch of debates gone by. Hillary smiled at Trump’s lies; Trump lied a lot!
Although I will give Holt pretty good marks he couldn’t control Trump. I wonder if anyone can. Trump’s arrogance was on display almost from the start. He consistently interrupted both Holt and Clinton. The one time Clinton succinctly called him out on a lie during his time he did his, “Excuse me”, routine. Trump is just another bully who can dish it out but can’t take it. To the civilized among the listeners Clinton actually benefited from obeying the rules. Trump has never felt the rules apply to him.
I never read or listen to any other critique of a debate until I have filed my article, but I am willing to bet I will be one of the very few who make the next point. Trump made a point of agreeing with Clinton that nuclear arms are the number one threat to America. He only did so to criticize Clinton on her concern over climate change. How does he square that with not knowing what the nuclear triad was when he was confronted with it in a Republican debate earlier in the contest? Does that mean he admits he is ignorant of what by his own evaluation is the number one threat to America?
I agree with Clinton that Trump’s secret plan to defeat ISIS is secret because it doesn’t exist. Nixon fooled much of American with his non-existent secret plan to end the Vietnam War. Some of us are old enough to remember that.
The bottom line of the debate is that Trump acted like the spoiled brat, Lucky Sperm Cell Club member he is, while looking anything but presidential and offering no policy to speak of but he did have a plethora of lies. Hope Glenn Kessler has some strong coffee.
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