WELL THAT’S OVER!
FIRST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE YIELDS STRANGE RESULTS
First of all, the media is praising Lester Holt for his moderating skills but as for me I didn’t see any. Except that he didn’t interrupt but a couple of times. While Presidential Debates aren’t necessarily run according to Roberts Rules of Orders, there should be rules – and I’m assuming that there are - about the exchange of views between two debaters that includes allowing the side that has the floor to speak without interruption. I didn’t keep track of the number of times Trump interrupted Clinton (the Pew folks say that Trump interrupted Clinton over 50 times compared to Clintons 17) but it had to be more than a couple of dozen. And Holt should have called Trump to task for this. Of course, perhaps he let it slide since Trump interrupted is a Trump opening for a tirade against the liberal media who he claims is biased against him. Yeah, right.
But my takeaway from the first Presidential Debate is not that Hillary won as most of the reliable press is claiming this morning, but that Trump lost it. He did well for the first twenty minutes when the topic was the economy, the area that those polls that ask “Who Would Do A Better Job Of…..” puts Trump and Hillary closest in polling results (Clinton beats Trump on all the other such questions by substantial margins) but after than it was all downhill for The Donald. Clinton remained calm and composed as Trump lobbed taunt after taunt (e-mails, stamina, experience) and Hillary responded by throwing out baited questions (tax returns, stiffing contractors, racism) against which Trump simply screwed up. He had no answers. Tax Returns? He’ll release them after Clinton releases 30,000 e-mails but this flies in the face of his “I can’t release my tax returns while under audit.” Stamina? As Clinton responded “After Donald has gone through years of negotiating with foreign leaders, 11 hours of hearings before a Congressional committee, then we can talk about stamina.” The Birther Issue? Trump desperately wanted to close this chapter of his racist, years long campaign but failed one more time and raised the fully debunked meme that it was the Clinton Campaign that started the Birther Movement.
It was clear that Clinton was prepared with facts. What I found most fascinating was Trump’s baseless, factless throwaways the he proffered all night long. “This has been the most disastrous Administration in American history.” “Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama gave birth to ISIS.” “Our cities have been destroyed by Secretary Clinton.” “America is in the worst shape in decades.” The evening was full of such pronouncements, all offered with no backup, no facts, no rationale, no justification. These “themes,” of course, are the very same ones that the Trumpettes adore their leader for throwing out into the airwaves. But during a Presidential debate? It all came off as lame, unfocussed and irrelevant. It would seem that those folks who watched the debate agree. There are various polls – both last night and this morning – that showed Clinton winning the debate by wide margins.
Then there were the Trump interjections, “Wrong!” “Not!” “No!” as Clinton was speaking that basically came off as juvenile, school boy interruptions worthy of a four or six year old. It just came off as dumb.
The media is characterizing the debate as “fiery, contentious, tough” but it really wasn’t. There were pointed barbs and heated exchanges but if you think back to the Republican Primary debates where 16 contenders nearly came to blows several times, this was a mild, spring freshet in comparison. The Donald would probably have fared much better in the eyes of viewers if this debate had been more contentious since it is Trump’s bombast and bullying that enders him to many Americans and sparks all the media coverage. But Clinton was smart. She just let Trump do himself in, without much effort on her part. And he did.
I found it interesting that last night the results of two focus groups – one from MSNBC and one from CNN – both thought that Clinton won. In Frank Lutz’s undecided group, it was 16 for Clinton, 6 for Trump. CNN undecideds: 18 for Clinton, 2 for Trump. Also CNN’s post debate polling showed that 62% of registered voters gave the win to Hillary while 27% gave the win to Trump.
The Donald is already all over the airwaves citing the “bias” of Lester Holt (a Republican, by the way) as the reason why Clinton won.
We still have 40 days to go before the election and God alone knows what might happen. So far, it’s been one hell-of-a ride and I suspect it’s going to get a whole lot bumpier.
Have A Great Day Folks!