Some Post-Debate Thoughts

In no particular order. Here we go:

1. This probably didn’t sway any partisans’ opinions. To Trumpists, Clinton was probably fake, hectoring, and shrill, while Trump hit the regular high notes they’ve come to expect. To Clinton supporters, Trump was a disaster.

2. Having said #1, this debate hurt Trump. BIGLY. First, any Democrats/leaners on the fence were scared shitless by Trump–when they didn’t think he was being a mansplaining asshole (I’m a straight guy and Trump reminded me of an ex-husband). Second, ‘Team Clinton’ needed a victory of sorts and they got one. Will this move polls? Not very BIGLY, but it will bring Democrats back home.

3. Donald Trump has the sniffles. He should probably see a neurologist.

4. Final theater criticism point: I’m still amazed that Clinton has so little stage presence. It makes you realize the importance of an arts curriculum in school. Before you say this doesn’t matter, that’s sort of like saying that you’re a really good extramural PI researcher, except that you can’t write grants very well. That’s a huge part of the job (a BIGLY part, if you will…). It is a problem.

5. Donald Trump was a disaster. Incredibly rude and pushy. Leaving aside his BIGLY temperament, he was ridiculously unprepared. I was embarrassed to watch. He really thought he could just bullshit his way through the debate in front of 100 million people. Whatever one thinks about Clinton’s style, this was like watching someone pick on the slow kid. After thirty minutes, they should have created a mercy rule and just called it.

5a. Gish Gallop? Nope. Gish Warp Drive.

6. On the policy front, one bad point for Clinton: when pressed, she reverted to New Democrat, balanced budget form. Doesn’t bode well after Nov. 8…

7. On the policy front, Clinton did well with both the notion of structural racism and for-profit prisons. Overall, she did explain her policies well.

8. Regarding Trump policies, other than regurgitating his campaign speeches, he was too incoherent to make any sense.

9. The debate probably won’t have much effect, but it’s close enough that this might matter. Again, the key take home is that this debate probably encouraged Clinton’s supporters and consolidated some Clinton leaners.

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8 Responses to Some Post-Debate Thoughts

  1. Tracy Lightcap says:

    Good analysis, except for two points.

    1. Everybody in a presidential debate says they are for a “balanced budget”. What else? That you’re for more debt? Why hand the other side something to hit you with? Clinton is too experienced a debater to do that. I wouldn’t take this as saying much of anything about what she’ll do as president.

    2. Clinton has stage presence – not like Bill, but she has it – if she wants to exercise it. But she usually doesn’t. The problem here is that “women in politics” thing. What is she supposed to do? “Stand up” to Trump? Oh, she’s a “domineering” type! (This is one reason why I think Elizabeth Warren will never be president.) Get all upset at how he was interrupting/talking over her? Oh, so now who has the thin skin? Talk policy all the time? Oh, she’s a know-it-all, just like my ! She played it exactly right. She was firm, she let him dig his own grave in terms of debate style, and she let him have it when he walked into it. That’s what you get for not preparing.

    Next time he will be prepared and that’ll be even worse. Since he lacks contextual knowledge, he’ll get confused on policy points and most of the details of his policy ideas (such as they are) are repugnant to the very voters he needs to win over. I’m actually looking forward to that.

  2. Min says:

    Dick Cheney: “Deficits don’t matter.” (Harumph!)

    I actually think that the Clintons both believe in balanced Federal budgets. Like Andrew Jackson did. Like Franklin D. Roosevelt did, before he was elected.

  3. Min says:

    As for Trump bullshitting his way through, that’s how he operates. In business terms, he is a shark. He goes for the jugular and operates on instinct. That has always worked for him, and it got him the Republican nomination. It may even get him the Presidency.

  4. Tom_b says:

    I’m delighted how Clinton disposed of the email nonsense that was already tiresome back in the primaries. The emails have been fully litigated.

    Now, Trump’s taxes? NOBODY has seen those and it is a big thing. Clinton suggested he paid no federal tax and Trump more-or-less confirmed it. And who’s to say there isn’t worse dirt, like a Putin connection?

    On the stamina response: I loved it when she alluded to the “11 hours before a House judicial committee”, shoving the House’s excesses back in their faces.

  5. jrkrideau says:

    And who’s to say there isn’t worse dirt, like a Putin connection?

    What’s this US paranoia about Putin? Trump was/is a real estate developer and may have dealings with Russian investors. So what? That was his business.

    • David Taylor, MD says:

      That is not the issue with Trump and Putin. The issue is that Trump admires Putin and Putin’s leadership style. This has nothing to do with business — except in Trump’s poor understanding of the difference between business and government — but offers us a glimpse of what Trump’s leadership might be like. “You’re fired!” on steroids.

  6. Alan M says:

    The biggest effect of the debate, I think, has been to buck up despairing Dems and give them reason to act like they’re proud of their candidate. This matters.

  7. albanaeon says:

    Yeah. Her bringing up deficits pretty much means progressive policies will be hard to enact, at best.

    “Geez, improving things takes money. Oh NOES, we’z broke. Oh well, guess we can’t improve things. Here’s a country to bomb!”

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