Saturday, October 01, 2016

Race for the White House- Volume 92

37 Days Until Election Day

I am definitely not voting for Hillary Clinton and I disagreed with nearly everything she said during Monday night's debate from a policy standpoint. However, I could not find myself rooting for her during the 90 minutes. This is hard to reconcile and would be nearly impossible to explain to my past teenage self. However, I can appreciate the fact that she kicked Donald Trump's ass in a way it deserved to be kicked. I only wish she could have done more, but there are supposedly still going to be two more debates.

While poised and well-practiced, Clinton's debate performance may not have been exemplary. I remain convinced that just about any other Republican would have gotten the best of her and would be leading solidly in this election. However, the campaign and the debate itself were mostly about Donald Trump. Many of her vulnerabilities were not even brought up or just glossed over. That is because Trump was on the defensive all night and far more interested in defending himself against any sort of slight, no matter how insignificant, instead of pivoting and trying to score points against Clinton.

He wore a blue tie and appeared on the left side of the screen. She wore a red pantsuit and appeared on the right. From a policy standpoint, there really was not a Republican on stage, although the former Secretary of State at least pointed out the necessity of the U.S. keeping it's NATO commitments. Some felt Trump had a good start to the evening, and I think Clinton did look a bit foolish trying to defend her trade flip-flops, but as soon as she started criticizing him, any pretense of him pretending to act Presidential went out the window. He interrupted her constantly and tried to speak over her. His body language when not speaking was thoroughly horrible, but that is the same as what happened in the GOP primary debates. For the most part, the crowd remained silent, as directed to, and that did not play to Trump's advantages. As the evening wore on, Clinton, who did not cough once, seemed to not tire at all, whereas Trump lost steam and was basically incomprehensible at the end of the debate. Moderator Lester Holt was indeed tougher on Trump than Clinton, but the fact is that Trump did far more to not answer the questions placed and seemed to have no interest in following the debate rules. Holt gave him tremendous leeway as it was. Right after the debate, Trump said Holt did a great job, but a day later, was attacking him as having been unfair. That's par for the course with Trump.

Clinton won the debate, as confirmed by every focus group and every scientific poll of debate watchers, although it might not have a huge immediate impact on the horse race itself. She simply was able to bait Trump at every turn. Her and her campaign masterfully understood what could set Trump off and having him looking bad to swing voters and that is what happened. Of course, Trump fans will still love his performance. It's all basically show business to them.

She got Trump to basically brag about the fact that he might not have paid federal income taxes and that he was rooting for the housing crisis in 2008. To Trump, defending his business acumen is far more important than actually trying to appeal to voters. He also had some really weird talking points. As usual, he minimized the basically proven instances of Russian hacking, saying it could have been a 400 pound person on a bed and he suggested that his 10 year old son, who apparently is a wiz with computers, could lead up cybersecurity efforts. That reminded me of Jimmy Carter talking about discussing nuclear weaponry with his daughter Amy.

The most lingering result of the debate though was something that occurred during the end, and was of course well planned by Clinton. She brought up an instance, in which I only vaguely remember this being discussed, of Trump (who also bragged about calling Rosie O'Donnell names and said that "everyone agrees" that she deserves it) saying rude things to a former Miss Universe winner, back when he owned the pageant. Trump was taken aback when Clinton said that he called Alicia Machado, the winner some 20 years ago, "Miss Piggy" because she put on weight as the reigning winner, and "Miss Housekeeping"  because she is a Latina from Venezuela. Trump has not admitted saying those things but it sure sounds like him. He is on the record at the time talking about how Machado put on weight and ate too much. The woman, who is now an official Clinton surrogate, is now a new American citizen and a registered voter.

The next day, Trump in between bragging he won completely non-scientific internet polls, was still very much focused on Machado, talking repeatedly about what a problem her weight gain was. He just could not help himself from walking back in the trap over and over again. It shows why someone with his "issues" should never be President, regardless of how horrible the other main alternative is. He also blamed a defective microphone at the debate for clearly obvious observations that he sniffled several times during the debate. Furthermore, he patted himself on the back, both during the debate and after for not bringing up a "personal issue" in regards to the Clintons, apparently in deference to Chelsea, although he has said he might at the next debate. What is he going to say? Everyone knows that Hillary Clinton was cheated on by her husband, and probably did not like those women very much. During the sordid Lewinsky saga, Hillary was seen a sympathetic character and her popularity soared. She probably would not have first run for elective office if not for it. I just do not see what his campaign thinks they can gain out of this. Like Bill Clinton, Donald Trump has been accused of rape. Whether true or not, that will be pointed out if he goes there. Former President Clinton, whether sincere or not, has expressed regret for his unfaithfulness. Trump has never done anything but brag about his infidelity during his first two failed marriages.

By 3 am Friday morning, Trump has descended even further. As he has often done, he went on a Twitter rampage, accusing Hillary Clinton of illegally pulling strings to make Alica Machado a U.S. citizen, and continuing to call her names and reference allegations about her past. The Presidential nominee of a major party tweeted "check out the sex tape." There will never be a campaign like this. Let's hope. There is not actually a sex tape of Machado, although she did something on some Venezuelan reality show years ago. On the other hand, Trump has appeared, as himself, in a cameo of a pornographic Playboy lesbian film. Also, his current wife has basically done porn too.

Clinton beat Trump in the debate and has beaten him even more so in the post-debate spin. The polls are showing a little movement in her direction, but the race still appears to be close, at least for now. Other stories are appearing about Trump's taxes or possibly violating U.S. law in the 1990s regarding the Cuban Embargo.  It just never ends. There is not a major newspaper in the country who has endorsed Trump. Conservative papers, who have never or almost never backed a Democrat, are endorsing Clinton. USA Today, which never endorses in races, made clear that whatever people should do, they  should not vote for Trump. Other publications are endorsing Libertarian Gary Johnson, despite his ongoing problems on the campaign trail about foreign policy names and details alluding his marijuana riddled mind.

Trump will probably never be President, but rest assured America, as he has told us, if a crisis happens at 3 am, he will already be awake. He just might have to finish tweeting something nasty to Wendy Williams or whomever first, before dealing with the problem.