The Dim-Post

September 28, 2016

The First Trump Clinton Debate

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 7:24 am

I haven’t really paid much attention to Hilary Clinton – it’s hard to take your eyes off Trump. And, watching the debate last night I thought he was awful: worse than I expected, worse, I think, than any presidential candidate ever – at least by my standards, but he’s not pitching himself to guys like me.

But I thought Clinton was pretty poor too. Not compared to Trump, obviously, but the standard critic of Clinton – that she’s too scripted, too insincere, has not articulated a positive vision, recites focus-tested platitudes – all felt very true to me watching the debate. (Tactically I thought she was very good.) It helped explain one of the mysteries of the contest: why Clinton isn’t doing much, much better against such an obviously terrible candidate.

25 Comments »

  1. Bush Jr could barely string a sentence together “debating” Gore, so I’m not sure the whole circus actually means that much.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 28, 2016 @ 7:53 am

  2. ” I’m not sure the whole circus actually means that much.”

    Mitt Romney had a pretty good debate against Obama back in 2012, and still lost.

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — September 28, 2016 @ 8:10 am

  3. danyl – don’t you think what he was saying would have appealed to the type of voters he’s going for? Apart from a few screw ups, I thought he was on the mark for the whole debate. He successfully characterised her as a lying establishment politician, used her experience against her, and shouted her down without being sexist. And he came across as authentic, even while lying 95% of the time. (“It’s not a lie, if you believe it” he must be a Seinfeld fan)

    He screwed up on the foreign policy questions. His answers on Chyna and North Korea were hilarious and he clearly knows SFA about “cyber”. But even there, his points about NATO countries paying their fair share are easy to understand I bet they will resonate with millions of Americans. Clinton in contrast often came across as an uninspiring diplomat type.

    The weirdest thing about Trump is that his inability to put together coherent sentences does not reduce the effectiveness of his communication. I don’t know why exactly, but I figure it’s to do with body language, forcefulness, and repetition.

    Anyways, my prediction is Clinton will get a bump from this. Still two debates to go though 🙂

    Comment by Seb Rattansen — September 28, 2016 @ 8:37 am

  4. This is a very good article on Trump’s speaking style and why it appeals: http://www.vox.com/2016/8/18/12423688/donald-trump-speech-style-explained-by-linguists

    Comment by Seb Rattansen — September 28, 2016 @ 8:44 am

  5. Obama didn’t do that well against Romney either in the lead up to the 2012 election:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationwide_opinion_polling_for_the_United_States_presidential_election,_2012

    So it’s not that clear Hilllary is doing badly comparatively.

    She’s not a gifted orator but she landed pretty clear hits on Trump’s business credibility and morals – and in a manner that was firm but not unpleasant. That’s a reasonable achievement.

    Hillary also has to work against several decades of deliberately dishonest attacks from both the Right and the Left that few other politician has experienced. And these continue from the Left bizarrely enough.

    So I think she’s doing quite well.

    Comment by NeilM — September 28, 2016 @ 9:43 am

  6. When Trump was attacking the TPP I wonder if Little was paying attention – might have picked up some new attack lines.

    Comment by NeilM — September 28, 2016 @ 9:45 am

  7. So I think she’s doing quite well.

    Comment by NeilM — September 28, 2016 @ 9:43 am

    I agree, Neil. I think she did quite well and exactly as you described. Firm but not unpleasant. I was really afraid she would come across much, much worse, but she did well against Trump.
    He is already blaming the moderator and the microphone. http://www.politico.com/story/2016/09/donald-trump-microphone-debate-228754

    Comment by eszett — September 28, 2016 @ 9:57 am

  8. CNN reports polls indicate Hillary was thought to have won by 62% of voters.

    The only other Democrat to have topped that was Bill.

    The only other bigger margin was for Romney against Obama.

    http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/clinton-won-the-debate-which-means-shes-likely-to-gain-in-the-polls/

    So, as usual, Hillary’s poor performance is a bit of a myth.

    Comment by NeilM — September 28, 2016 @ 10:03 am

  9. It helped explain one of the mysteries of the contest: why Clinton isn’t doing much, much better against such an obviously terrible candidate.

    It is not that much of a mystery – Hilary Clinton is a terrible candidate and Trump is a terrible candidate.

    The USA is having an election between two reviled figures. For President. They are screwed.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 28, 2016 @ 10:07 am

  10. I liked this Tweet from one US right-wing commentator…

    Debate grades:

    Hillary: F

    Trump: F

    Primary voters: F

    America: Doomed

    My bourbon bottle: empty

    Apocalypse: can’t come soon enough

    Comment by Tom Hunter — September 28, 2016 @ 10:42 am

  11. “Hilary Clinton is a terrible candidate and Trump is a terrible candidate.”

    In explaining why he is voting for Hilary, P J O’Rourke, a republican, made the important distinction that while they are both wrong about everything, Hilary is wrong within normal parameters and the Donald is ……..”

    Comment by Tinakori — September 28, 2016 @ 10:46 am

  12. I thought she did well. She’s walking the tightrope of impossible expectations for women in politics: talk too loud and you’re shouting, raise your voice too high and you’re strident, interrupt or correct a man and you’re a nagger, show any emotion and you’re weak, show no emotion and you’re a robot, veer away from your talking points and you’re erratic, stay on your talking points and you can’t think for yourself.

    I like this analysis from Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo, who was recommended by some blogger a few weeks ago.

    Give Hillary her due

    Yes, she was well prepped. But it’s a bit more than that. Clinton had an important challenge in front of her. Being substantive comes easy for Clinton. That’s who she is. And she’s been in dozens of debates. But in this case she needed to be positive, buoyant and optimistic in her tone while also needling him into outbursts. That could easily come off as baiting or nasty, especially when she had to counter his confusing mix of taunts and attacks and word salad digressions. She made it seem close to effortless.

    Comment by Deborah Russell — September 28, 2016 @ 10:59 am

  13. Meanwhile in Auckland…

    Comment by Mark Rickerby (@maetl) — September 28, 2016 @ 11:06 am

  14. Re #10, that’s a good appraisal, seems apt, but I wonder if the citizens are showing any signs of shifting out of negativity towards some kind of renewal?

    The first step would be to figure out what caused the once-great nation to turn into a shambles. Understandably the blame game involves everyone pointing in all directions initially, but eventually natural opinion-leaders will influence others into a semblance of consensus on the diagnosis. Even so, likely a mix of real contributing factors. My favourite candidate is democracy (the one they’ve got – not the ideal) which is lowest-common-denominator by design: hard to find two lower than Trump & Clinton.

    Comment by Dennis Frank — September 28, 2016 @ 12:35 pm

  15. Clinton is not a good campaigner. She doesn’t have natural charisma, she makes unforced errors and she’s very wary of being frank and open because the media pummels her absurdly on the flimsiest of basis making her withdrawn and circumspect to the detriment of her opportunities.

    But she is a capable and determined professional who, even if one doesn’t agree with her policies or direction has the knowledge, temperament and capability to perform the executive duties of the President of the U.S.A.

    Trump is just a clown supported by tribal politics, frustration and dissatisfaction with the status quo (which right now, in financial terms, is objectively not bad in the U.S by historical standards) and a media that wants attention rather than truth.

    Comment by Fentex — September 28, 2016 @ 1:32 pm

  16. I’m a bit surprised though that Clinton didn’t have a stronger comeback to Trump on the issue of trade agreements.

    It’s true that the US has lost a lot of manufacturing jobs but it’s not true that the only causes are agreements such as NAFTA.

    The US was always going lose jobs in the automotive and steel industries to emerging economies and what remained would employ less because of developments in technology.

    The difficulty for Clinton appears to be that the job losses are concentrated in states that can have a disproportionate effect on the election outcome.

    So, yes the US economy is doing very well and the tech companies have made a lot of people well off but they’re more likely to be concentrated in safe democrat states.

    Comment by NeilM — September 28, 2016 @ 1:55 pm

  17. As others have said, Clinton did well enough within the current (crazy) set-up.

    If Trump said “I strangled three kittens this morning” and Clinton said “actually it was four”, that would be called a draw. He’s an evil cat-killer who gets his facts wrong, but she’s little Miss Know-All, petty and hectoring. So she mostly did the right thing: let him destroy himself, goading him into more idiocy, but not declaring victory.

    She effectively dealt to the “oh, they’re both as bad as each other” nonsense, for those swing voters who were still clinging to that lie.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — September 28, 2016 @ 2:04 pm

  18. She effectively dealt to the “oh, they’re both as bad as each other” nonsense, for those swing voters who were still clinging to that lie.

    I’ll guess we’ll see on Nov 8th.
    Crazy shit goes through people’s heads in the privacy of the voting booth!

    Re Clinton getting pummeled for the wrong stuff, this is true.
    In an ideal world she would be pummeled for her hawkishness and pretty average record in cabinet, but because the Presidency is effectively a popularity contest, she’s her own worst enemy.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 28, 2016 @ 2:21 pm

  19. She’s walking the tightrope of impossible expectations for women in politics: talk too loud and you’re shouting, raise your voice too high and you’re strident, interrupt or correct a man and you’re a nagger, show any emotion and you’re weak, show no emotion and you’re a robot, veer away from your talking points and you’re erratic, stay on your talking points and you can’t think for yourself.

    Goodness, I’m amazed that 41 female MPs in New Zealand find the energy to get out of the sack in the morning…how on earth do they do it?

    Comment by Ross — September 28, 2016 @ 8:34 pm

  20. NeilM #16: Once again, globalisation and automation are mere instruments and not job-eaters in their own right. The real fault lies with the monopolists and rentiers among us. If you haven’t already read it:

    http://motherboard.vice.com/read/dont-fear-the-robots-taking-your-job-blame-the-monopolies-behind-them

    Another factor is that non-universal healthcare & pensions in America mean its heavy industry typically foots the bill for both, where other advanced nations don’t have to.

    http://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(06)67945-2.pdf

    Also, investment in training for the new tech jobs hasn’t kept up with technological change, partly because the kind of training needed – often of an on-the-job nature – is seen as too ‘Old Labour’.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — September 28, 2016 @ 11:52 pm

  21. On the other hand, artificial intelligence (or lack of it) isn’t exactly working to plan in a number of newsrooms…

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/tv-radio/84811727/computers-are-rebelling-against-broadcasters-causing-haywire-on-live-tv

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — September 29, 2016 @ 11:48 pm

  22. I saw recently a report on how evangelicals who had previously been very anti Trump were now looking at holding their noses and voting for him. Hence one reason Trump hasn’t been doing too badly.

    The reason – they realise the next President will have a major influence over the future character of the Supreme Court because of upcoming appointments.

    The know any Democrat will be worse for them than Trump.

    It’s an example of how in some areas Clinton might be doing badly as a candidate but it’s not actually her not out performing Trump rather it’s an issue and demographic that any Democrat candidate would struggle with.

    Comment by NeilM — September 30, 2016 @ 10:43 am

  23. NeilM: At heart, the theo-cons are still Cruz-oids and covertly think Trump is too ‘godless’ for them.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — September 30, 2016 @ 11:45 pm

  24. Clinton flips Florida and has Trump on the run.

    In response the alt right furiously scrape the bottom the barrel:

    https://theintercept.com/2016/09/30/hillary-clinton-center-right/

    They’re such heros. Without Greenwald they’d just be absolutely no criticism of Clinton and he does so at such personal financial risk.

    Comment by NeilM — October 1, 2016 @ 1:24 pm

  25. Hillary playing it safe which is probably the best approach given her lead in the polls and the on gonig internecine warfare amongst the Republicans. That bantum has come home to roost and the eggs aren’t pretty.

    Meanwhile in the alt world the lads at the Intercept are wringing their hands:

    https://mobile.twitter.com/jeremyscahill/status/785312511914541056

    What to do, what to do.

    Well stop the misogynistIv attacks on Clinton and the sucking up to Putin might be a start.

    Comment by NeilM — October 10, 2016 @ 7:33 pm


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