The first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump took place Monday night and it won’t change a thing.
Trump left some cards on the table and Hillary pulled no punches, but in the end, this won’t change the death spiral Clinton’s campaign is experiencing nor will it quell the movement that Trump has fostered.
Social media will drone on about Trump failing to focus on the emails, Hillary making $200 million without creating a single product, or Benghazi or whatever.
Talking heads will go on endlessly about Hillary’s well-rehearsed, over-polished lines, the fact that she looked like a politician and that she didn’t fall over on stage. None of that matters – well her staying vertical for 90 minutes was a positive for for the Democrat.
Sure, all of Holt’s questions were softballs for Hillary and tough on Trump:
- Why won’t you release your taxes
- Race relations in America
- Mr. Trump, why were you a birther
- Mr. Trump, you were for the Iraq war but lied about it
Questions that didn’t happen that would have balanced the mix:
- Mrs. Clinton, you told those moms and dads that their children died due to a movie, wasn’t that untrue
- Mrs. Clinton, don’t you think that taking appointments from people that give to your foundation is a bit .. unethical
- Hillary, why does your charitable foundation spend so little money on actual charity
- Hillary, why weren’t you able to take out ISIS when they were small
Hillary remarked several times about her “fact checkers” on her “campaign website” in a tactic intended to deflect attention away from her inability to do the fact-checking on her own. This tactic also put Donald on notice that people would be fact-checking his statements perhaps to make him more cautious with his answers. At one awkward moment, Hillary shouted “turn up the volume fact-checkers!”
With all the theatrics and optics considered, how did they do – and more importantly – does it matter?
Hillary had the edge on optics in the first 2/3rds of the debate. Her smug grins will likely grate on viewers, but she’s already struggling with unlikeability so it won’t change things much. The shoulder shrug at the end will get replayed ad-nauseum. Other than that, she didn’t look sick, confused or otherwise physically unfit for office and had well-constructed pre-written responses that seemed to fit the questions exactly. She was the consummate professional politician we’ve been used to seeing for decades.
Trump was Trump – not the polished version we’ve seen the last several weeks, but primary Trump. To-the-point, unrehearsed, off-script – the breath of fresh air many Americans are looking for. The 400lb hacker on a bed meme will likely outlive the news cycle and cost him the morbidly obese, bed-ridden hacker vote…
What’s more important is … none of this matters.
Trump has been an unconventional candidate in an unconventional campaign. Tomorrow, he’ll be in Melbourne, Florida talking to real Americans about the things they care about:
- The economy
- Direction of the country
- Law and order
Things the debate tried to make important that most Americans aren’t focused on:
- Global warming
- Solar Panels
- Trump’s tax returns
Trump didn’t build his movement on overly-rehearsed lines and an ultra-polished political image. He’s running as an American.
The debate was a slight win for Hillary if it is analyzed like past debates, but it shouldn’t be. She has zero ability to connect to the average American, comes across smug, “holier than thou” and otherwise odd when talking to regular citizens. Being able to recite heavily practiced lines over a 90-minute period doesn’t change any of that.
Hillary needed to show voters that she could make a positive impact on their situations and make them feel like she was going to change the direction in which the country has been going. While her “debt-free college” pandering might lure millennials to vote for her empty promise, the rest of America knows that money must come from somewhere and that somewhere will be the middle class. She had nothing to offer hard-working, everyday voters.
The New York Post found a group of undecideds, some Democrats, that felt Hillary didn’t really offer anything that mattered to them.
Reed, 35, is a registered Democrat and small businessman. “By the end of the debate, Clinton never said a thing to persuade me that she had anything to offer me or my family or my community,”
Reed said Clinton came across as either smug or as though she was reading her résumé, adding there was nothing on her résumé that touched on his life. “I am a small businessman, a farmer, come from a long line of farmers and coal miners. The policies she talked about tonight ultimately either hurt me or ignore me,” he said.
That aloof, out-of-touch approach is exactly what Americans have experienced for the last 7 1/2 years and they aren’t looking for more of the same. Hillary can nail the next two debates, but she’ll still be the same, unlikeable, cold, disconnected bureaucrat that she is today.