As is now common knowledge, last night’s debate came on the heels of the Access Hollywood leaked video of Primadonald bragging about how he had gotten away with predatory sexual behavior in the past and expected it to continue in the future. So, it was not surprising that the Clinton/Trump set-to began on that topic.What follows covers that and so much more.
“Grab their p—y”
According to Primadonald, that was just “locker room banter” and nothing more than “words”. Such dismissiveness put to lie whatever sincerity was part of the candidate’s October 7th apology. Fortunately, the back-and-forth over all this lasted only about 15 minutes, thus sparing the viewing audience around the world from the deeply embarrassing spectacle of seeing on full display, the flawed character of the presidential candidate of one of our two major political parties.
Segue to “buzz words”
Throughout the rest of the debate, Primadonald did his very best to shout out the inflammatory rhetoric that so energizes those members of his base that live in the conservative fever-swamp; e.g. “Benghazi, e-mails, acid-wash, jail (as in ‘lock her up’)”. If all this was designed to fluster HRC or throw her off her game, it was a palpable failure.
The former Secretary of State remained calm and in control throughout (1). Rather than get involved in a point-by-point slugging match with Trump, HRC, on at least one occasion said that she would let “fact-checkers” respond to what had been thrown at her. That she was otherwise responsive her remarks were relevant and in some cases, detailed and informative. Specific reference is made here to how she handled the question about the problems that have surfaced vis a vis Obamacare with its increasing premiums, higher deductibles, and reduced coverage.
What was up with this?
As HRC was speaking, Primadonald was alternately standing behind his chair, his hands grasping its back (a lack of stamina?), prowling around the stage (working off a bad case of nerves?) or hovering right behind his opponent in a manner reminiscent of Al Gore “invading” George W. Bush’s space during their 1999 presidential debate (intimidation?). What was up with all that? We can’t know for certain, but one must wonder what if any impact it had on voters?
Fact-checkers surely worked through a better part of the night because bright and early this AM, they published a list of false statements by both HRC and Trump. In sum, the latter’s misrepresentations outnumbered those of the former by a ratio of 9 : 1. In examining Primadonald’s departures from the truth, it was striking to note that many of them were flat-out repeats of lies he told during the first debate that were subsequently fact-checked as such (2). Clearly, the Republican’s ticket-topper believes that if you tell a lie often enough, at least some people will come to believe it.
The bottom line
With points for both style and substance, HRC won this debate and two flash polls conducted immediately afterwards confirmed that judgment. That said, it may not even matter. In the last two weeks, Clinton has slowly and steadily improved her standing in the polls and the Access Hollywood video is likely to accelerate that trend. Republican members of Congress are rapidly turning way from supporting Primadonald to whatever strategy will help them save their own seat.
- Perhaps a little too calm as some talking heads opined. They wondered why HRC didn’t engage more with her opponent when she had the chance. Was she playing it safe or just getting out of the way as Trump continued in self-destruct mode?
- To cite just two, Primadonald continued to insist that he was against the war in Iraq, and that HRC was responsible for the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, nine Congressional committee findings to the contrary.