The 2016 First Presidential Debate

Before the first one-on-one presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump the press consensus held that if the coiffured orangutan managed to refrain from throwing his own excrement around the stage his supporters could claim it as a victory. He did somewhat better than that last night, giving a respectable if typically bombastic performance. The businessman fired several effective barbs at Clinton in the first part of the televised encounter before – as predicted – loosing stamina or interest in the final third. The economy and domestic affairs were by far his strongest talking-points, national security and foreign relations by far his weakest. The former secretary of state’s patronising smirk throughout the proceedings may have gone down well with her prep-team but how will that have played with undecided voters? Grinning and laughing her way through Trump’s hokey contributions, or making references to fairly obscure past incidences of misconduct on his part, seemed a weak tactic. The Manhattan tycoon has a litany of more recent and relevant sins that could have been brought into play, and it is pretty clear by now that the further you dig into his controversial history the more disinterested the general public becomes.

However much of the US media believes that Hillary Clinton emerged as the winner in the debate, albeit by not much of a margin. My gut instinct says it was more of a draw. I think Donald Trump succeeded in consolidating – and perhaps widening – his “deplorable” base while doing enough to blacken Clinton’s reputation (and remember, these “shows” are more about presentation than substance) . Encouraging potential Democratic Party voters to head in the direction of the Libertarian and Green Party candidates is not a bad tactic for someone in his electorally weak position. Judge for yourself below.

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10 comments

  1. Serious? I thought it was a clear win for Hillary. I mean, the deplorables will be delighted with the four word answer to racial tension (law, order, stop and frisk) but you can win with just the deplorable demographic.

    1. Yep, that seems to be the general consensus in the morning shows and press but I’m trying to look at it from the point of view of Trump supporters or would-be supporters. With that demographic I suspect it was more a case of confirmation bias, hearing the best of Trump and worse of Clinton. I dunno. Just looking at those polls, even in the swing states, Trump has tapped into something the media are missing or not understanding. Clinton’s performance was so-so. What hits she delivered were recoverable. And she showed her vulnerable points for next time. I reckon Kellyanne Conway, Donald Trump’s campaign manager/saviour, will have been pretty satisfied with the first round. He didn’t crumble, he rolled with the punches and next time he’ll be less nervous, better prepared and targeted. Will Clinton?

  2. I didn’t get to start watching until about 9:30 (U.S. East Coast time), since I had been slaving away at work. I did not actually absorb much of what Clinton was saying. All I was looking for was a display of idiocy from Drumpf. And holy cow, did I get it. He could not muster a single coherent thought, and he sounded like an asshole in general.

    Among the high(low-)lights: Avoiding federal income tax “makes me smart,” cheering on the housing crisis (“that’s called business!”), Barack Obama really should have produced his birth certificate (why, you Nazi dumbass, why????). He just says stuff! Honest to God! I don’t think an intelligent thought has ever come out of that buffoon. The cocaine-addict-style snorting and the water-gulping were also a wee bit snicker-inducing.

    My dad thinks Clinton “sliced and diced” Donald, and he hates her as much as any Sanders Democrat.

    1. But do the Trump supporters or would-be supporters think the same? I suspect not. Breitbart, Fox News, etc. will be selling this as a victory or a draw. Outside that closed circle, what about those wary of Clinton? Did she do enough to make them get out on polling day?

      Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s super-savvy campaign manager, must be pleased with his performance, given the low expectations.

      Speaking of Bernie Sanders, he would have sliced and diced Trump in a manner no one could doubt or dispute 😉

      1. I get what you’re saying about it not changing the minds of the true believers but I was, as much as one can be this side of the pond, a Sandersita, wary of Clinton and I found myself impressed by her.

        1. I would be a Sanders’ supporter myself, though that is the problem. Seeing Trump from that position clouds one’s judgement. That is not the position a significant swathe of Tea Party/conservative Republicans, right-leaning Democrats and rightist independents. Trump’s constant admonishment to Clinton, “30 years in politics and government and what have you done with it?!”, might be inaccurate or unfair but it plays well with a lot of non-Trump voters who think the same.

          Actually, I think the same! 😉

      2. True, I guess. People watching these things are looking most carefully at the candidate they aren’t supporting.

        That said, if someone can still support Trump after watching him be a total idiot, I have serious doubts about that person’s own IQ.

        Oh, indeed, if only we had Bernie!

  3. Trump did fantastic. Hillary did her usual dull politician platitudes. Claptrap about bringing people together. She along with her mainstream media allies lied about Trump supporting the war in Iraq. (He didn’t). And anyways if supporting the war in Iraq is such a bad thing why doesn’t Hitlery apologise and say she was wrong for voting for that criminal war?

  4. Almost every online poll gave the victory to Trump. His common sense non politician answers resonate with people.
    All Hillary had to do was not pass out,have a 5 minute coughing fit or die so i guess she accomplished that☺
    The bar is so low for Hitlery and the mainstream media is 95% in the tank for her one can only hope voter turnout is yuge for anti war candidate Trump to keep her fascist ass out of the White House.

  5. Btw,ASF,almost all the US media outlets you sight in your link (USA Today,NYT,Huffington Post,Washington Post) are pro democrat and pro Clinton outlets. And the Blaze is a failing conservative outlet run by Glenn Beck. A mentally disturbed ex cocaine and alcohol addict who hates Trump because he has been divorced and uses naughty words which upset his mormon sensibilities.
    Almost every online poll show Trump won easily. I predict Trump will rise in the polls. The media is in the tank for Hillary so they would say she won regardless.

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