Debate One Review

(AFP/SBS)

TCD take a look at the first Presidential debate between Trump and Clinton.

Varun’s View

One of the most fascinating aspects of the current presidential cycle is where exactly the political fault lines lie. Without a doubt there is much polarization. However, both are advocating in some way for bigger government albeit coming from different entry points.  The traditional division between the GOP and the Democrats has become diluted in the vile nastiness of the whole affair, and one cannot help but become infected by it. The debate played as a canvas upon which the ‘crafty’ art of contemporary American politics was sprayed across. Let’s take a brief look.

Economics – Trump wins hands down. Lowering taxes for business keeps companies in America. Slapping tariffs on off shore American companies helps keeps more of them in America. Keeping companies in America creates fertile ground for employment and keeps economic activity flowing which in turn creates tax dollars to strengthen the future of the nation. A stronger nation has more leverage to renegotiate fairer trade deals for itself. So what’s wrong with that?

Enter Hillary for the rebuttal. She advocates spending on the middle class; taxing companies exorbitantly thus chasing them out; free education potentially lowering the worth of college degrees; equal pay for women ‘who don’t do as good a job as men’ (her words not mine); and profit sharing. Pragmatically speaking, where does the money come from if all sources of company tax are off shore and workers are languishing in the squalor of unemployment? Perhaps we should ask the esoteric cabal of economists who know without a doubt that Trump’s attempts to boost business and employment will blow the budget out by 4 trillion. At least it won’t be 6 trillion, right Obama?

Just as Hilary used fluffy starry eyed visions of inclusiveness in her rundown of the American economy, so too did she push for inclusiveness in race relations. How? By calling white Americans implicit racists. Nice effort but let’s face it, the ‘empowerment of victims’ card is a sham. It creates the false narratives that are dividing American society and shunning law and order that Obama it appears has almost no intent of keeping.

So at this stage it seems we have a one sided affair. Except that it’s not. Hilary is a seasoned politician and it showed in the debate. She took her stabs at Trump cunningly. She knew the words to use that would stir him. She knew to bait him by taking cheap shots at the beginning of each turn so he would chase her out in the open where he is vulnerable to mockery. The result was that Trump became obsessed with going on the defensive and attacking Hilary during her speaking period. It showed his immaturity as a politician and reinforced the perception of someone who is slave to impulsive decision making. More importantly it forced him to ignore going deeper into Hilary’s scandals – emails, Benghazi, Clinton foundation selling arms to donors, the Hilary death squad, cover up of sickness, contempt for voters (deplorables) just to name a few.

This is where Hilary wins. A leader cannot be just good intentions and strong headedness. A leader needs to be cunning and know when to play their cards.

The question we end with here is the one we begun with. Where do the political fault lines lie? It’s clear as day. This is a division between nationalists and globalists and it is not confined solely to America. As such, the players in the race are not as important as what they represent in the bigger scheme of global politics. Stay tuned for debates two and three.

Damien’s Debrief

There’s nothing more distasteful than sports fans who complain about referees after the game. However, it must be said the level of “moderation” from Lester Holt left a little to be desired. Clinton was given free reign to linguistically wander through the political dandelions, preaching harmony and rainbows on the horizon. Solution to race riots? We need to think about how we feel. Plan for new jobs? Why its the “green economy” we’ve been hearing about for 20 years. All waived through without any form of protest or questioning. Trump by comparison was repeatedly badgered to provide “more details”. A difficult task considering the 30 second windows allowed for explanations and clarifications.

A number of Twitter-tier “issues” were raised. A disgruntled former Trump employee, an allegedly frumpy beauty queen , as well as “Birtherism”, which was thrown at the feet of Trump, despite Clinton being known as the originator. Trump rebutted by highlighting Clinton’s tactics during the 08 nomination election, when she released pictures of Barack Obama dressed in traditional Islamic garb. Of course, moderator Holt was quick to jump in and change the subject.

Both Clinton and Trump played their own roles as expected. Trump presenting as the raging bull type, getting in under the jabs of Clinton and counter punching well. Whilst Clinton mimicked a young Ali, dancing around the ring attempting to dazzle her opponent with rhetorical trickery.

The phony, painted on smile and motherhood statements, rightly called out by Trump as the “holier than thou” routine, goes a long way to explaining why Clinton is not already guaranteed the White House. Recent elections around the western world have shown a distinct turn against the perceived established political elites, so flicking ones hair and smirking as if to quip; ‘Oh Donald, you say the darndest things’, is unlikely to sway voters who feel disconnected from their elected officials. Personal attacks and tired accusations of racism, sexism and other deplorable labels, barely raise an eyebrow anymore beyond the hysterically politically correct media outlets.

Clintonian double speak was again a central tenant of Hillary’s prose. At one point slapping herself on the back for how she plans to help the inner city black communities, whilst at the same time criticising Trump for claiming inner city black communities need help.

Trump stayed on point for the most part but faltered late, whilst appearing to keep many of his big attack weapons in the bag, he did get drawn into defending himself over nothing topics. Early he spoke over Clinton far too often, however he regained control and even appeared to bite his tongue at times where one would anticipate a tongue lashing. With the long list of Clinton controversies barely touched, Trump may have decided to tone down the negative attacks in this first encounter. On the other hand, one wonders how many weapons Clinton has left to deploy. By calling Trump a tax dodger, sexist, bad businessman and “too rich”, Clinton only managed to land mere glancing blows on Trumps’ (so far) solid jaw. The sad reality of modern politics is most people are unlikely to remember the first debate by the time the second rolls around, so a little strategic planning goes a long way.

The Republican nominee has vowed to go on the attack in the remaining 2 debates. His first head to head with Clinton was a conservative exercise, free of the bombastic style to which we’ve become accustomed. He left plenty of points out on the field but at least presented a credible alternative to the well known establishment routine. Hillary needed a big win to reverse recent poll trends whereas Donald just needed to remain in the game.

Trump by a default hair.

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