Monday, September 26, 2016
Hillary won the debate, except that Trump won the debate
Clinton won it, hands down.
But since there is no way my readers who are Donald Trump supporters will ever believe that, I decided to toss them a bone in the headline.
Trump had his chances. He was strong on the issue of trade, which stands to benefit him in some of the swing states, but he blew so many opportunities tonight that even if Clinton had not been at the top of her game she would have run away with the debate.
For instance, Trump initially had a good response to the question about his taxes, by saying he would release his taxes when Clinton released her 33,000 e-mails.
Somehow, after that first mention, he let the e-mails slide and never mentioned them again, while Clinton trampled all over him about the possible reasons he has for not releasing his taxes.
Of course, it is quite possible that Trump did not want to turn the debate to the role of the Clinton Foundation in those e-mails since Washington Post reporting has shown in recent weeks that the Trump Foundation has considerably more scandals attached to it.
More likely, it was another case of Trump's woeful lack of preparation.
His lack of preparation became more and more obvious as he fell into nearly every trap Hillary Clinton laid for him. He spent so much time talking over her and defending what a great businessman he is, that he did not hit on the best argument he has going for him in this political season- Things are not going right and it's time to give someone else a chance.
In a year like this, when Trump defeated 16 people who nearly all were more qualified than he to become the most powerful leader in the world, and when a challenger like Bernie Sanders gave Hillary Clinton such a hard time, Trump should have hammered home his status as an outsider. Instead, he bristled at any critical comment Clinton made and felt the need to offer a response at times when he should have been making the case for his own candidacy.
The tax issue also led to another of Trump's glaring mistakes. When Clinton noted that two of his earlier tax returns had shown he paid no income tax, he responded that showed "That makes me smart."
He made a similar argument later when Clinton mentioned the bankruptcies his casinos had taken. Trump once again, as he did in the Republican debates, seemed proud that he took advantage of the system.
His big argument is that we should put him in charge because he knows the system so well because he has used it to his advantage. After all, he had readily admitted that he gave campaign contributions because he expected favors in return, so he knows how it's done. If you follow that same line of logic, we should have hired Whitey Bulger and John Gotti to take care of crime in the cities.
Trump again came off as tone deaf when it comes to racial issues.
During the last part of the debate on foreign issues, he simply came off as incoherent.
Clinton was an easy winner, just by not breaking into laughter as some of Trump's comments late in the debate. She escaped the traps on trade and her e-mails because Trump did not pursue them.
Clinton was ready and except for a tendency to go into a bit too much minute detail in some of her answers, was solid from start to finish.
She also scored big time with attacks on Trump's treatment of women and with her refutation of Trump's attack on her lack of "stamina."
We have two more debates coming. Hopefully, Trump will consider actually preparing for them, but I wouldn't count on it.