The “Weak” in U.S. Politics: An explosive yet demure first debate between Clinton and Trump; while a scientist who has correctly predicted the Presidential winner for 30 years weighs in.
The “Weak” in Politics as seen by Alexandra Tselios
Prior to tonight’s debate, the two questions that resonated for me from The New York Times were: “Can Trump perform for an extended period of time without a net?” and “Can Clinton hide her contempt for her opponent and her disbelief at being locked in such a close race?”
Yet, the much-awaited debate turned out to be slightly underwhelming, with the real question being, “How can a debate be both demure and explosive at the same time?” The juxtaposition almost feels as if it cannot include the words Trump or Clinton, yet that is the debate I watched after months of gagging for the first showdown between the two candidates. Trump has predictably become a lot more palatable in the past few weeks, so was clearly attempting to ensure this debate was not a repeat of the earlier debates which saw him insult Bush, Cruz, and Rubio mercilessly. Trump clearly wanted to come across as prepared and logical, even while repeating tonight during the debate, “I have a very good temperament, it’s a winning temperament … she does not have a good temperament.” The debate saw both candidates press each other on issues that have been widely discussed as either known U-turn politics or unresolved investigations. When Clinton mentioned the unreleased tax returns as a sign that Trump is hiding a “bombshell,” Trump said he would release it when Clinton releases the deleted emails from her private server; while Trump’s knee-jerk reaction to anything he didn’t like was to just project loudly the word “Wrong!” It did not seem like Trump was overly prepared for this debate, other than changing his demeanor slightly (or is that his temperament again?). While some people have asked me why he doesn’t know more, I am quick to remind them that it is not because he does not have access to the right minds or analysts, but that he is unlikely to listen.
In saying that, there were a number of crucial opportunities for Clinton to jump in with stronger responses, but she almost at times seemed over-prepared and just repeated what could be perceived as soulless-at-times rhetoric. Clinton, however, got the final zinger in with her remarks towards Trump about his past comments regarding women, while calmly watching him “mansplain” to her on countless occasions throughout the debate on matters he clearly knows very little about. However, where Trump can beat Hillary during the next round of debates is by assessing her previous performance around the very issues that she is now claiming passionate focus; and in regards to trade agreements such as NAFTA, TPP, and U.S./China trade reform. When it came to Clinton trying to unpack these issues and, for example, the economy, Trump’s knee-jerk reaction was the crowd-pleasing but lack of depth rhetoric, “Typical politician … all talk, no action. Sounds good, doesn’t work. Never gonna happen.” Meanwhile, Trump decided that issues such as “stop and frisk” were not deemed unconstitutional (it was) or that it was wrong to say he supported the war in Iraq (he did). But let’s not pretend regular flip-flops from the Clinton side of politics hasn’t been a regular occurrence also. If you can’t bear to watch the whole debate and just want to know the facts, you can check out NPR here.
So, who won the debate? TIME displayed voters saying Trump won the debate at 59%. However, a CNN poll of debate watchers found 62% felt Clinton won compared to 27% for Trump. Other commentators are saying that Trump would have appealed only to his zealous supporters and would be unlikely convincing to Clinton supporters or swinging voters. Ted Cruz chose tonight to randomly come out in support of Trump, which has annoyed quite a lot of Republican voters considering his recent performance at the Republican Convention, while Bernie Sanders tweeted a reminder of Trump’s world record of being sued. Ultimately, Trump has the chutzpah but not the substance, yet Clinton did not do too much to remove doubt over her representation of the political elite, the establishment, and the inconsistencies that surround her Presidential campaign.
It is also worth noting that Scientist Allan Lichtman has for over 30 years correctly predicted election results by ignoring much of the polling and rather focusing on his tried and tested “Keys to the White House” system. Lichtman has come to the conclusion that the winner of the 2016 Presidential Election will be Donald Trump saying, “Donald Trump has made this the most difficult election to assess since 1984. We have never before seen a candidate like Donald Trump, and Donald Trump may well break patterns of history that have held since 1860 … very, very narrowly, the keys point to a Trump victory. But I would say, more to the point, they point to a generic Republican victory, because I believe that given the unprecedented nature of the Trump candidacy and Trump himself, he could defy all odds and lose even though the verdict of history is in his favor.”
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The “Weak” in Politics as seen by Roger Pugh
Heard at Trump’s Campaign HQ
“How’s life treating you these days?”
“Oh, everything looks fine: my wife thinks I’m adorable and Hillary thinks I’m deplorable.”
Heard at Hillary’s Campaign HQ
“Who could we get to help ensure Hillary doesn’t sink any further?”
“How about Sully?”
Heard at Trump’s Campaign HQ
“What can Donald do to maximize his Hispanic vote?”
“He could promise to send the illegals to New Mexico instead.”
Heard at Hillary’s Campaign HQ
“Trump seems to be running a much more disciplined campaign.”
“He must have appointed Madame Lash as his campaign manager.”
Heard in a Chicago Pub
“Can you imagine a worse choice for President than either Trump or Hillary?”
“No, I don’t suffer nightmares anymore.”
Heard in a Hollywood hairdressing salon
“Which section of the voting public are Trump’s strongest supporters?”