Round One goes to Hillary

I hate to say it, but objectively speaking, Trump lost the first debate.

Hillary told 100% lies and focus-grouped tag lines.  They were slickly delivered and effectively pre-planned.  Trump’s responses were too extemporaneous and relied heavily on some of his stock emphatically delivered lines like “believe me” and “we have very, very serious problems.”  Trump was somewhat subdued relative to his Republican campaign rallies.  He didn’t do anything horrible, and he didn’t destroy his chances, but right now I doubt he converted any Hillary-leaning Democrats.

Trump was unnecessarily sidetracked answering personal questions about his taxes, his business interests, and the Obama birther controversy.  Hillary was effectively laughing at Trump and treating him condescendingly.  Whatever health problems Hillary has were well disguised.  She looked good for her age.  Trump often looked dour during her speaking time and drank from his water glass too often.

Trump was substantively correct about many points (e.g., the stock market is a bubble rigged by the Federal Reserve zero-interest rate policy; NATO is obsolete; we shouldn’t be paying for Japan’s defense when we’re $20 trillion in debt; NAFTA decimated Midwestern manufacturing), but he didn’t sell them effectively.  He was earnest and sincere, but he didn’t demonstrate a fast, glib, conversational grasp of policy details.  Hillary was selling pure snake oil, but the pitch was very slick.

Trump whiffed on a couple of golden opportunities to bury Hillary – most notably, the question on cyber-security.  The obvious answer Trump should have given is that the best way to protect top-secret information from foreign government hackers is to not have the secretary of state have a private server in her bathroom with classified information on it.  He talked about his 10-year-old son and 400-lb. hackers in their bedrooms instead.

When Hillary attacked Trump’s wealth and incessantly referred to the “middle class,” Trump failed to point out the $675,000 Hillary received for giving three 20-minute speeches to Goldman Sachs or the tens of millions the Clintons have raked in from other sources.  Nor did Trump mention the crony capitalist arrangement with NBC (the same network that moderator Lester Holt works for) that gave Hillary’s daughter Chelsea a lucrative no-show job.

Trump wrongly agreed with Hillary on banning people on the “no-fly” list from owning guns and wrongly advocated expanding New York City’s “stop-and-frisk.”

Trump may be right on most of the issues, but the voting public who will rely largely on optics will vote Hillary unless Trump really ups his game for the remaining debates.  If that doesn’t happen, the nation will be well and truly screwed come November.  If you think the presidency of Obama has been a disaster, “you ain't seen nothin’ yet” if Trump loses.  He is a thin reed to pin the nation’s hopes on…but the only reed we’ve got.  Right now he’s not closing the deal.

If you experience technical problems, please write to