I love the presidential debates. Why, especially in a campaign that will go down in history as one of the nastiest? Because the debates uncover what the candidates want to cover. They ultimately show us the character of the candidates. And they tell us a great deal about how each person would rule, should they win the election.
This year was no different from any other.
For most of the campaign, the media reported that Donald Trump was unique and that he could say anything without exacting any penalty from the electorate. We were also told that Hillary Clinton was a flawed, unpopular, programmed candidate who could do nothing but damage herself in the debates because, surely, Trump and the moderators would pummel her with the emails and the foundation and Benghazi! It turned out that exactly the opposite was true.
Hillary Clinton’s performance in the three debates will become mandatory viewing for anyone who aspires to national office. She utterly defeated, deflated and defanged Donald Trump with clinical efficiency and cool professional effectiveness. She turned questions about her weaknesses into attacks on Trump, and was able to deflect the more damaging accusations into her past with a smile. Of course, we all want candidates to answer for their sins, but part of being a great debater is knowing how to parry and evade. Clinton did that; Trump did not. By the end of the third debate, it was crystal clear that Trump did not prepare or have any strategy other than to bully, interrupt, cite questionable evidence or hurl accusations.
And this is where the debates were so instructive. They really did show us that the Trump campaign is a Potemkin operation, built on personality and the teachings of Chairman Breitbart, with the GOP’s greatest conspiratorial hits from the 1990s thrown in. They also showed that Trump is not suited for the presidency. Given the biggest stage of the campaign, he didn’t prepare, and it showed. His answers were short and scattered, he didn’t press advantages that he did have, and his behavior was abominable. For someone who was supposed to be able to use his television experience, his body language showed him to be too aggressive, and his constant interruptions came off as ill-mannered. He went for every piece of chum that Hillary threw at him and he got angry, which rarely plays well on the tube (contrast Trump with Reagan’s “I paid for that microphone” line to see the difference between power and tantrum).
Clinton was not perfect, but she was close. Trump helped by letting her off the hook on many occasions and by reacting too emotionally when she brought up things that he didn’t expect, which is part of debate preparation. She interrupted him at times despite her promise to “go high,” but she understood that she had to seem even more in control because she’s a woman, so she couldn’t back down. At the third debate, where she essentially closed the deal on the election, Clinton spoke forcefully and in command of the issues. She’s clearly thought a great deal about them over the course of her adulthood and she enunciated them impeccably last week. Trump played along for a while, but his lack of preparation, personal control, and content sunk him.
In the end, we learned a great deal about each candidate. Clinton did her due diligence, Trump did not. She displayed a command of events and issues and explained them in cogent, factual terms. Trump was able to do that on occasion, but he then got caught in rhetorical whirlpools which led to what unfortunately became signature moments that didn’t help his campaign. She was able to put him on the defensive and keep him there; he tried, but didn’t have the intellectual stamina to press his points. He called her names and accused Clinton of conspiracies and plots that the right has manufactured for almost 30 years. He also, fatally, said he would not accept defeat.
As for Trump being able to say anything he wanted and get away with it, those days ended for good with the groping tape. Trump had always been penalized for what he said, rarely polling over 42% nationwide and never leading in the electoral college count, but the media couldn’t fold up its tent in July, so they continued to feed us the story that this campaign was different and that political correctness was on the run. Yes, there is a sizable group of people in this country who support Trump and what he says, but there are far more who finally saw through his tactics and are abandoning him with impressive speed.
The record low for a major party candidate in a presidential election is a popular vote of 39%. I predict that Trump will poll lower on election day. He’ll cry fraud, but he’s the only fraud in the race. Clinton beat him fair and square in three debates because she’s the most qualified of the two, and of many more, to be president.
Donald Trump is always chastising Muslims because, as he sees it, they always fail to report crimes to the authority, so it is fitting that during the second presidential debate between Trump and Hillary, this particular Muslim, Moustafa Bayoumi, took to twitter and tweeted this;
I’m a Muslim, and I would like to report a crazy man threatening a woman on a stage in Missouri. #debate
— Moustafa Bayoumi (@BayoumiMoustafa) October 10, 2016
As Hillary Clinton went about the business of winning the second Presidential debate, her opponent, Republican Donald Trump, was busy auditioning for the role of ‘David’ in the sequel to the 90’s Stalker film, FEAR!
1. Keep talking, I’m sneaking up behind you
2. Now I’m right behind you and you can’t see me
3. Lurk Lurk Lurk
4. Now I’m on your side and you still can’t see me
Donald Trump has benefited from over a billion dollars in free media since announcing his candidacy for president. In essence, the same media that Trump and his campaign manager are complains about is the same media that allowed Donald Trump to lie once every 3 minutes, and to constantly go unchallenged.
But suddenly, due to some calls for the presidential debate moderator to fact-check the contestants, Trump and his people are crying foul!
In a recent interview, Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, actually had the balls to say the job of a journalist is not to fact-check.
And I really don’t appreciate campaigns thinking it is the job of the media to go and be these virtual fact-checkers and that these debate moderators should somehow do their bidding. They picked on Matt Lauer after the Commander-in-Chief debate … forum. We thought he did a great job, but they didn’t like the fact that Hillary Clinton was asked about her email server and her vote in Iraq. That’s not Matt Lauer’s fault. And Lester Holt, he’s a respected…brilliant newsman. He’ll do a good job tomorrow night as a moderator. It’s not his job…
The fight to keep Americans ignorant is alive and well in the Trump world. Just let the candidates lie and let the American people believe whatever they want!
I suppose it was inevitable that the first debate of the 2016 presidential campaign would be touted as a must-see, Super Bowl-sized audience extravaganza. This has been building since Dwight Eisenhower lamented that running for president was akin to being a product marketed across the country. Television and now social media has turned this election into the first full-force, multi-screen election. We will never turn back.
But the main concern is about the match-up. Who will win? How will they win? How will the debate shape the race? The conventional wisdom says that the debates in and of themselves will not change the dynamics of the campaign, but the research also says that the first debate has the most overall impact on shaping voters’ attitudes.
As of now, Hillary Clinton has rebounded from a bad couple of weeks and has seen her poll numbers improve. Trump has taken the lead in some of the key swing states, but that was based on his rise nationally, and those swing states should come back to Clinton. The reason for Trump’s rise, though, is interesting. Most of his rebound is based on Republicans deciding to support their nominee including, evidently, Ted Cruz, who endorsed Trump this weekend. The country remains as polarized as ever and there are a larger number of voters who say they are undecided and could be swayed by tomorrow’s debate. Then there are the Johnson and Stein voters, more of whom are Democrats who don’t want to vote for Hillary.
Which brings us to debate strategy. Of course, the more compelling media story is which Donald Trump will show up: the controversial, offensive one or the moderate, less blustery one. This is a false choice. Donald Trump has shown that he can’t stay away from saying things that grab headlines and reinforces stereotypes, and I expect that this is the Trump we’ll see on Monday night. He can try to appear presidential and restrained, but he’ll still be talking about building walls and deporting people and what terrible shape the country’s in right now. The last time he had to make a consequential speech, at the GOP convention in July, he painted a dystopian picture of a country that really doesn’t exist. During the summer, after he hired a new set of advisors, his message did become restrained at times, but we were never more than a few days removed from his making an outrageous claim about things that were not supported by data. And further, he told so many untruths, it was difficult to keep up. He will not be able to get away with that on Monday.
Hillary’s job in the debate, quite simply, is to appeal to the Bernie voters who don’t think she’s got his back. If she can convince wavering Democrats that her agenda is liberal enough for them to vote for her, then she’s done her job. Along the way, she needs to look presidential and strong, and she needs to remind the audience about Trump’s, shall we say, discomfort with specific policies. She will face some rough spots over the emails and the Clinton Foundation, but if she keeps the focus on Trump’s questionable business activities that will blunt some his points. And if Trump really tries to bring up things like Bill’s affairs or Hillary’s looks or any other topic from the dark side, Clinton should just remind people that we have very pressing issues, but Trump is worried about THAT?
Of course, if either candidate makes a huge mistake or comes off looking anything resembling unpresidential, then that will absolutely damage their chances. It will be interesting television and I’m glad that so many people are expected to watch.
This race is still Hillary’s to lose. I don’t expect her to.
Yes, the Republican with the biggest mouth apparently shoved his foot deep down his throat when he agreed to debate Bernie Sanders earlier in the week. But on Friday, Trump realized how EUGE a mistake it would have been to get clocked in a debate by Bernie Sanders, and decided against making himself look more like a fool… as if that is even possible.
Donald Trump on Friday said it would be “inappropriate” to hold a debate with Bernie Sanders, throwing cold water on an idea that had captivated the political world in recent days.
“As much as I want to debate Bernie Sanders — and it would be an easy payday — I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be,” Trump said in a statement.
The presumptive GOP presidential nominee added that it “seems inappropriate” to debate the “second place finisher.”
Trump had said on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Wednesday night that he would be willing to debate Sanders if the proceeds would go to charity.
“Yes, I am,” Trump said. “How much is he going to pay me? If he paid a nice sum toward a charity, I’d love to do that.”
Trump added to the speculation throughout the week, telling reporters Thursday he would “love to debate Bernie.”
By now I’m sure you’ve heard the bogus and outrageous claim by Republican Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell.
In his one and only debate with Alison Lundergan Grimes earlier this week, McConnell was asked about his plans for Obamacare if reelected to the Senate to represent the people of Kentucky.
It should be noted that McConnell already sits in that seat, he is the Senator for that state. But he knows that Republicans in Kentucky don’t like Obamacare and they want it repealed, even though Obamacare – they call it Kynect in Kentucky – provides them with life saving healthcare.
McConnell also know that Republicans cannot repeal Obamacare. They have tried over 50 times to no avail. And even if they win the Senate in November – and it’s looking more likely that they will – Republicans will not be able to repeal the law because the president is not going to sign any legislation that kills healthcare for millions of Americans.
But in the debate, McConnell could not avoid lying to the people of Kentucky, the people he represents, the people who wants the Obamacare repealed although they are benefitting from the law. When asked about his plans for healthcare, McConnell lied… twice!
“Kentucky Kynect is a website,” McConnell said. “The website can continue, but in my view the best interests of the country would be achieved by pulling out Obamacare root and branch.”
His first lie was trying to separate Kentucky Kynect from Obamacare as if they are two different entities. Kynect is not just a website, it is a marketplace set up and funded by Obamacare. Uprooting Obamacare “root and branch” is in fact, uprooting Kynect “root and branch,” and thus, eliminating health care for hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians.
His second lie? That re-electing him to the Senate will magically result in repealing Obamacare, as if the last 50 trials were just practice.
What’s the odds that the people of Kentucky picked up on these lies? Don’t bet on it. They are mostly Republicans.