Monday, September 26, 2016

Debate Reactions

Honestly, I'd say Hillary Clinton won the first debate, but by decision rather than a knockout.

She was clearly prepped with lots and lots of policy details, memes and attacks against trump on racism and sexism, and she was ready with a couple of zippy one-liners. But for all that, she couldn't put Trump away.

In fact, Trump on a number of occasions made Hillary look bad, awful even. Unfortunately he missed a number chances to deliver a tough blow. For me, most of all, he missed the chance to call her out on her endless "racism" attacks, which as Trump pointed out, are desperately unfounded. Also unfortunately, Trump indulged her, especially on the birther issue, rather than waving away the issue as done and settled. That was a mistake, and he wasted time defending his position, as Laura Ingraham pointed out in the post-debate analysis segment on Fox News.

Charles Krauthammer, also on Fox, called the debate a draw, and a challenger usually gets the benefit of the doubt when it's a draw, hence Trump held his own and beat expectations. Perhaps, although I'm certain Trump left some juice opportunities hanging. He was very strong on trade and international treaties. He was also good on law and order, and stayed consistent on longstanding themes of his campaign. But he looked reactive more than proactive. That hurt him, although not too bad all around. [Added: See Glenn Reynolds here, "SO I’D CALL IT A DRAW. Both Trump and Hillary left key points out. Neither looked awful, but neither looked great. And people I follow on social media seem equally divided.")

One thing not to forget: Trump was respectful, didn't call Hillary names, and avoided so-called sexist attacks, even though Hillary tried to make some sexist hay out of his remarks.

I've got CNN on now and the chyron just flashed saying Hillary won the debate according to a CNN/ORC snap poll. Whatever. That's not going to be a trustworthy poll, considering the tiny number of those sampled. Trump, for example, may have helped himself greatly in the Rust Belt with his consistent attacks on the economy and the offshoring of jobs. We won't know for sure on that until the next round of high-quality polls.

So, Hillary came out on top, but not by much, and only won be a decision.

There's more at WSJ's live blog, "First Presidential Debate: Live Coverage."

Also, at LAT, "Clinton and Trump clash often in ferocious opening debate."

And FWIW, the pro-Hillary spin, at Politico, "Clinton gets under Trump’s skin: The Republican nominee loses his cool as a composed Clinton hits him on his business record, the Iraq war, and his secret Islamic State plan."