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Campaigns and Elections

My take on the 1st debate, Trump, Clinton and Lester Holt

27 Sep , 2016  

Enough with the complaining about Lester Holt.

As someone who dislikes both candidates who were on the stage last night, I’m a good fit to analyze the first 2016 general election presidential candidate face-off.

You can always tell who lost the debate. It’s the campaign that whines about the moderator. Lester Holt did a pretty good job as the moderator. Keeping Trump’s erratic behavior in check is a lot like herding cats. Some Trump supporters are upset that Holt interrupted Trump more than Holt interrupted Clinton. But Trump is a bully in life and that includes on the debate stage. He was constantly interrupting and interjecting during Clinton’s answers. That’s his right. But, I think Holt provided a nice check on that. Holt sat back at times and let the candidates debate back and forth, which was a smart thing to do and takes a lot of self discipline.

I do think the one glaring omission was not asking her about the Clinton Foundation and what that says about her ethics and her decision making. However, it’s not fair to blame Holt for all the missed opportunities Trump let fly by as he was instead obsessed with defending just how wealthy he was, and defending Russia against claims of cyber espionage. Trump had several missed opportunities. You could tell he didn’t prepare; and, throughout the night, Trump’s thin-skin got the best of him.

Clinton baited Trump and Trump took the bait. He is obsessed with his image as a wealthy, successful businessman. While voters don’t really care about his taxes, if he stiffed contractors or if he got a $14 million loan from his father, Clinton successfully used these issues to coax out the unhinged Trump that I’ve come to know and loathe.

Agitated, Trump floundered and let slide a lot of opportunities to pounce on Clinton’s many shortcomings. It’s not Holt’s fault that in response to the cyber security question Trump defended Russia and ridiculed fat people instead of pointing out the fact that Clinton stored classified material on a server in a private residence’s bathroom in Colorado! Talk about a softball…and…whiff.

It is not Holt’s fault that Trump didn’t just resolve the birther question and move on, but instead kept at it taking valuable time that could have been used by Trump to expose Clinton’s problems with her Foundation.

It’s not Lester Holt’s fault that Trump failed to bring up Benghazi when Clinton disgustingly used her 11 hour Congressional testimony as evidence of her stamina.

Trump was best in the first few exchanges where he focused on the economy and jobs. He excelled when he talked about what the audience cared about. He cratered when he talked about himself. Clinton is a big government liberal with more baggage than an overseas flight. She’d be a train wreck as President. But instead of pointing this out, repeatedly, Trump couldn’t help talking about himself. His worst moments came at the end. He looked particularly crazed when talking about nuclear proliferation. This plays right into Clinton’s narrative: Do you want this guy to have access to America’s military might? If he can get so upset by a tweet or a mid-debate jab do we want him within arms length of the button?

Lester Holt did a good job. Last night was about the candidates, not the moderator, and that’s the way it should be.

It’s also why the Trump campaign and their surrogates are so mad today and are trying to deflect from their man’s poor performance by squawking about the moderator.

So Hillary won last night. The big losers? Every American who reads this post, and all those who don’t. What a mess this election is.

 

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