So, this debate-reaction essay is going to be different than what’s come before. I have so many thoughts on this cycle, and the debates were such unfocused messes between Trump constantly interrupting and Hillary deflecting. The way I write all of these posts is I watch the debate and take notes in real-time as I go. Then I edit my thoughts into paragraphs divided by question/issue or candidate/zinger or whatever else feels the most descriptive for that particular event. For this cycle, I just couldn’t do that because of how nebulous the dialogue was. I can’t divide things by question easily because the candidates kept changing the subject, parrying to irrelevant topics and wandering off into ad hominem tangents. I can’t easily divide by candidate (like a “Hillary Section” and “Trump section”) because a lot of the conversation was back and forth insult-flinging which wouldn’t neatly fit into such categories.
So, I decided to just leave my rough notes largely untouched. I will break up the monotony by color-coding them according to candidate, however. But this was you can also follow the whole debate sequentially if that’s easier to follow. Hopefully this will be the best of both worlds, but if I get a lot of flak for it (assuming anyone actually reads these things) I will go back and re-edit. It is because of this unusual organization that I decided to title these last three commentaries “stream of consciousness” instead of “reactions.”
Green text is for general comments and my thoughts on the moderation.
Blue text is for comments related to Hillary.
Red text is for comments related to Trump.
These debates suck. And not just because of Trump either. This first outing was especially disappointing; I was expecting either Trump would surprise everyone and get serious at the most important event of the election, or Hillary would have carefully assessed him and developed a fool proof strategy to destroy the orange menace. What ended up happening was neither the prevailing of reason over madness nor was it a fun train wreck as the ’16 GOP primary debates had been. It was just a disgusting spectacle of two genuinely awful people insulting each other. Master criminal and authoritarian personality Delores Umbridge vs unhinged and unscrupulous Gordon Gekko: the reality show of a lifetime.
Let the Madness Begin
We get off to a bad start immediately with Lester calling the commission on Presidential debates “non-partisan” when in reality they’re bipartisan. Perhaps this is a minor nitpick, but it’s still misleading about a nefarious aspect of our debates–third parties and independents are deliberately shut out since the duopoly calls the shots.
It was indeed strange seeing the two wear the opposite party’s colors. I actually think a blue tie suits Donald better than red, it contrasts his skin tone better. Hillary desperately needed to stop wearing those tacky, loud unicolor pantsuits. It’s not an appealing look, either for a presidential candidate (you ever see a male candidate wear a red clown suit?) nor a laywoman.
Hillary’s opening statement is great…if I believed for one second it would actually happen. As if for good measure she goes out of her way to claim “it’s good to be with you” to Donald, and also she ends on a pretty hallow, obviously scripted note “I hope that I can earn your vote.” You can tell she rehearsed this damn speech to herself in the mirror a million times a day as she dreamed of this moment. For better or worse it sounds like a memorized, focus grouped stump speech. I know on some level this is true for every candidate ever, but they had the charisma to make it sound natural where she does not.
Hillary’s “…trumped up…trickle down…economics” is without question the worst delivery of a would-be zinger I’ve ever heard in politics. And considering all the debates, speeches and Q&As I’ve watched, that’s really saying a lot. She forces in these unnatural pauses between each word as though she’s just coming up with it on the spot, but no one’s buying it. It would have been better if she just said it normally. Yes, we’d know that it was chosen ahead of time, but there’s nothing wrong with that when it comes to specific talking points. Campaigns do that all the time. Trying to pretend she came up with it on the spot just makes her look fake and as though she’s desperately trying to impress us with supposed quick wit. To compare political debates to Community again, it’s like when Pierce had a team of comedy writers make a script for his riffing of Kick Puncher.
Say what you will about Trump, and after witnessing the start of his Presidency I think he’s a monster, but he does raise a valid point—why didn’t Hillary do all that she’s promising before? Her husband campaigned on how bad trickle down economics was and he did nothing about it. His neoliberal faction has kept the progressive wing down for decades. He signed NAFTA. Just thinking of all of this makes me angry, to the point where when Trump says her happiness “is very important to me” and she gives a condescending smile I almost have to laugh knowing that in one month Trump would wipe that smug look off her face.
Trump first starts coming apart just 10 minutes in when he allows Hillary to goad him into admitting that he did in fact hope to see the housing market collapse so he could leverage it into profit “that’s called business by the way!” Yet who the hell is Hillary kidding with this self righteous spiel? This is the person giving secret speeches to Wall Street and admitting she has a private and a public position. Trump continues to needle her on “why did it take you thirty years to think of this?” And admit that’s great strategy. If Hillary admits these are new positions of hers (to cater to the progressive faction Bernie fired up,) she outs herself as a phony who just cares about getting elected above all else. And if Hillary tries to say she was for this all along, Trump can point to her and her husband’s neoliberalism and force her to either condemn or embrace it, both of which could be made to look bad. (“You don’t even support your own husband?”)
To go off that, Hillary clearly stumbles in trying to respond to this attack. “Well, not quite that long!” with a punchable Professor Umbridge smile. The way she smugly rambles on about “manufacturing went up in the ’90s!” ignores the fact that this happened largely because of the tech-bubble Bill had nothing to do with, and it side-steps the issue of whether or not she supported her husband’s decidedly non-progressive administration or not. And I have to say, her “well that’s your opinion!” is a weak counter in a Presidential debate. At this level, that kind of line just doesn’t cut it; there’s a reason you never saw JFK, Bill Clinton or Obama say something like that.
That said, nothing excuses the way Trump constantly interrupts and shouts down Hillary. That’s not professional or dignified. And while I disagreed with the hardcore Hillary supporters dismissing every challenge that came her way, or her loss as a whole, as sexism…I have to admit this is in fact an example of sexism. Donald shouts down men too, but women face this a lot in their day to day lives since a lot of men act more chauvinist around women, and female voices are easier to drown out. I have no doubt this moment rang true for a lot of women and reminded them of that jerkoff boss or three they’ve had who constantly treated them like dirt.
Where the hell is Lester Holt during this national tragedy? He constantly allows Trump to dominate the entire proceeding. Trump, just 15 minutes in, has completely taken control of the entire debate. Not only will he not let Hillary get 2 sentences out at once, he’s asking her questions out of turn, destroying protocol. At no point does Lester even try to speak up and maintain order, which is literally his entire job. Maybe he was scared of Trump, maybe he thought letting Trump implode would be good for Hillary, or maybe he secretly wanted her to be knocked down a peg. Who knows. Either way, Lester’s far and away the worst debate moderator in all of US history and I’ve seen enough of these to make that bold assertion. Other mods played favorites or asked too many questions, but they at least maintained some semblance of dignity and order in the proceedings where Lester couldn’t even do that much.
Hillary plugs her own lame book while trying to defend herself, which even seems to get some groans from the audience. From what I remember reading, it only sold 10,000 copies or so which is abysmal. She also plugs her own damn website as a “fact checker.” Because I’m sure “HillaryClinton.com” is going to be an objective source. I have no doubt a lot of what Trump said is false, but I’m gonna read about it somewhere less overtly biased, thank you very much. I chalk this up as Hillary being really out of touch with how the internet (and its community) works, and undeniably tone deaf to how distrusted she is.
At one point, when Hillary gives her spiel about “all the…gains…have gone to the…1…%” you can tell she’s struggling to remember a new talking point she was forced to memorize recently to compete with Bernie. It’s undeniable that this isn’t coming from the heart, where Bernie, McGovern, Jackson, Ross Perot or even Trump could give their respective spiels in their sleep since they lived and died by them every day. Plugging your own proprietary book in answer to a debate question is completely unprecedented and a weak tactic anyway you slice it. I understand that answering these questions in a minute or two is unfair and stupid, but for better or worse simplifying your position into that time-frame is part of the game. No other candidate ever plugged a book as an answer.
When Lester finally tries to get them to move on, Trump easily dominates him and continues to rant and rave. I think, in hindsight, this kind of thing played well to his supporters and independents. It went into that bullshit “he’s tough!”/“he’s a true alpha male!” persona Trump curated. It’s stupid that this kinda thing works on people but the fact is, it does. It’s a baser animal instinct where we naturally crave a strong male leader on some unconscious level. Some of us have moved on from that primitive drive but not everyone. That’s my speculation anyway. I don’t think trying Trump’s methods would be good strategy for anyone else, however. It worked for Trump because he’s almost certainly an undiagnosed clinical narcissist who lacks manners or shame. When Romney tried the same thing four years earlier (admittedly against a more formidable opponent) he made a complete fool out of himself. And Romney never had to go into primary debates where the entire audience booed everything he said in unison–Trump did. Whatever else you think about Trump, the majority of people would crumble under situations like that, while he let it roll of his back and kept going.
Hillary tries to bounce back “at least I have a plan to defeat ISIS!” with a self satisfied little grin…and no reaction from the crowd (who laughed at Trump’s earlier barb about how MacArthur would not have liked her plan.) She practically starts laughing at her own “zinger” with this insufferable grin on her face as no one laughs or applauds to her line. Her comeback to Trump’s ridiculous assertion that she’s been fighting ISIS “her entire adult life” is similarly terrible. “Fact checkers, please! Go to work!” How about YOU fact check him, Hillary? Say “uhh, Donald, pretty sure ISIS didn’t exist until 1999, nor were they a threat until just the last 5 years.” You can’t rely on Baby Boomer Jones and Grandma Crockett to go online and do your work (proving Trump’s full of shit) for you. I have never seen any other candidate do this in a debate before, even since the internet went mainstream in the 2000s, and the reason is because it’s not smart. It’s passing the onus onto others when the whole point of having you two side by side on stage is so YOU can rip his arguments apart.
I actually do think Hillary’s comeback “I have a feeling I’m gonna be blamed for everything” was pretty good, and when Trump said “why not” and everyone gasped, that was a gift-wrapped soundbite she should have just left alone. Instead she rambles out a stuttering reply that diluted what would have otherwise been the iconic gaffe for the debate. She’s just such an awkward person to where she ruins it for herself. And it’s not even one fatal flaw, it’s a lot of them. In general, Hillary doesn’t open up when it would undo the “too robotic and focus-grouped” accusations. But then there are moments like this where she fancies herself to be as suave as her husband or Obama with their epic zingers and comebacks and it just doesn’t work. She just doesn’t have the gravitas, the charisma, eloquence or quick thinking to make it work.
Say what you will about what an idiotic, unstable madman Trump is…he’s right about the FED. Their interest rates are artificially low but the FED won’t raise them because they know the economy even [in 2016] is balancing on a house of cards. If they raise them, it could tumble, yet if it tumbles anyway, they’ve already blown their wad. This is part of the reason I believe Trump was reported as “somber” on election night. Among other things, he probably knows this will happen on his watch now and therefore he will take the blame.
The best line of the night came when Trump said “I’ll release my tax returns when she releases her 30,000 emails!” This got a round of cheers from the audience and deservedly so in my opinion. It’s shady as hell Trump still hasn’t released them, and it’s inexcusable. But what’s equally appalling is that Hillary obstructed justice and got away scott-free when anyone else would be in solitary confinement for the same actions. For the Democrats, running Hillary with that massive scandal was an absolute death sentence and the DNC should be sued for malfeasance. I don’t care how bad Trump was, you don’t run a candidate with that much self-inflicted baggage especially when the stakes are at an all time high with the Supreme Court hanging in the balance and a uniquely dangerous opponent. Now just look at her reaction here. Once again, Hillary has this obnoxious toothy grin like she’s in on the joke. You just want to shake her and say “they’re cheering against you, idiot! You’ve doomed us all with your unforced errors and corruption!” In hindsight it’s no wonder Hillary lost when she inspires such a visceral hatred in people. Some of it’s irrational, but some like the emails is 100% justified. Her attempted comeback “well you just saw an example of bait and switch!” doesn’t work because it’s applicable to her too. Stop trying to cover up your own wrongdoing with whataboutism. Yeah, not releasing tax returns is unprecedented…but so is running while under an active criminal investigation! Who are you to harp on Trump for what he’s hiding? It was a solid thing to attack him on, yes, but Hillary Clinton was far and away the worst person in America to try to make this point. It came off as hypocritical when it shouldn’t have and didn’t need to be, due to all of her own baggage. Throughout the entire campaign, she nullified her own best attack lines against Trump because she (or her husband) were guilty of the same things.
And then Lester, like the big fat joke he is, admonishes the audience for cheering when he has let Trump completely take control of the debate for the preceding 20 minutes. What’s the purpose of admonishing anybody at this point? The debate has already descended into a complete, unprecedented farce.
Trump made his biggest faux pas of the night, what proved he was too stupid and impulsive to be President when he says “that makes me smart” in reference to Hillary’s accusation that he pays no income tax. By the look on his face afterwards, I think even Trump himself realized all too late what a dumb move that was. But that’s the problem, we can’t have leaders who speak before they fully think things through.
I don’t buy Hillary’s line “it was a mistake” in reference to the emails, and again say what you will about Trump but he’s right on with this. The woman broke the law, plain and simple, and likely did so to cover up some corruption and crooked dealings with foreign governments. I do not care how anyone tries to spin it–if any one of us did what she did, we would be in jail for the rest of our lives. I think it’s disgusting neither Lester nor any other person ever held her feet to the fire about it. He shouldn’t have let that “it was a mistake” excuse go. In any case, even if you believe it was a non-malicious mistake as she says, this was too little too late. She should have held press conferences about this in the primaries and earlier in the general so it would have been old news by this point. Only just now addressing the issue at the eleventh hour in the debates was perhaps the worst self-inflicted error in modern campaign history. For someone married to an expert like Bill and who called themselves “the most experienced candidate ever!!!!” this is inexcusable hubris.
Hillary completely dooms herself bringing up guns at this debate. That’s really the big thing with Democrats—they NEED to stop harping on guns. It’s over. It’s not going to happen. It’s hemorrhaging votes for the left to keep pushing this point. We would salvage so many single issue gun voters if we just stopped harping on this and focused on things that we could actually get done without alienating half the country. And for a person who was so concerned about the constitutionality of stop and frisk just a moment ago, she sure has no qualms about taking away the second amendment rights of people who find themselves on a secret government list (no fly list) with no oversight, no ability to appeal, and no set criteria for getting on it in the first place. Once again, Hillary had a decent attack against Trump, (that he’s pushing an unconstitutional policy via stop and frisk,) but completely bungled it with an unforced error. Just more Nanny state Authoritarianism from Grandma Nixon.
It’s interesting and seriously disappointing that Trump also supports the “no fly, no buy” thing. He predictably brings up super-predators, which I will give him credit for, it’s great strategy. That was a damning soundbite and I don’t know what Hillary was thinking when she said it. Even back then, as first lady, she knew she was going to run for President some day. Alienating the voters is never a good idea, and she still didn’t learn her lesson in 2016 with the incredibly arrogant “basket of deplorables” line. Even if true, that’s just unconscionably bad strategy from someone who was supposed to be “the most experienced candidate of all time OMG!!!!1” She ended up alienating both left and right wing voters with all these condescending public soundbites.
There’s an audible laugh from the audience when Trump mentions all the cities he’s gone to as Hillary “decided to stay home.” Really, watching this again, it’s just now clear to me how good Trump was at this. He didn’t get nearly the credit for it at the time because the media was reluctant to give America’s racist orange uncle any bone. Now, his tone is disgusting and he lays about many points of fact, but Trump’s owning this debate in terms of staying on message and hammering Hillary in every category. He doesn’t let a damn thing go by without landing a strike. And unlike Hillary, who bungles would-be great attacks with comparable skeletons in her closet, awkward delivery or rambling explanation of why it’s bad, Trump does it in these funny, catchy zingers which anyone can understand and repeat the next day at the water cooler.
Once again, Hillary just doesn’t seem to get it. She gives the same little smug grin as Trump lays out the aforementioned attack, and then tries to respond with “I think Donald is trying to criticize me for preparing for this debate. And yes I did.” Hillary says it with this ridiculous confidence as though she just told him off in the zinger of the century. But the moment falls flat since she just admitted she needed to prepare against a debate with a guy who doesn’t know what he’s talking about by her own admission. And really, come on Hillary. There’s a difference between preparing to be in the debates and not doing any campaigning, especially in the rust belt. This moment was played up as the big line of the night the next news cycle, and I thought it was bullshit even then, indicative of arrogance not responsibility, In any case, you’re hardly going to see that “zinger” played side by side with “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy”/”Please proceed, governor.”
Trump’s deflection against the Birtherism topic is sneaky, underhanded and terrible…but I have to admit it’s also really effective as well. He deflects to Hillary’s campaign for starting the murmurs and then says “I wanna talk about the issues!” I could see that working on a lot of people, and I admit Blumenthal is a shady guy who did in fact muddy the waters on that issue. That doesn’t excuse Trump’s racism, taking the ball and running with it, harassing a sitting president for years about his supposed foreign heritage. But from a rhetorical sense, it’s an effective dodge, and more proof of why Hillary was the wrong person to take him on, because even here her hands are dirty too. In Lester’s one decent moment of the whole night, he presses Trump on the issue. It’s disgusting how Trump seems to take pride in forcing a guy to produce his birth certificate, and when pressed on what he’d say to black people and the message that sends to them Trump responds “I say nothing.” That moment really summed up what a callous, thoughtless man he is. The term definitely gets thrown around a lot these days, sometimes without sufficient merit, but this man is without a doubt a racist. This answer all but proves it to everyone but those who’d bury their head in the sand.
Hillary’s one good parry of the whole night? When she reacts to the answer on Birtherism and says “well, just listen to what you’ve heard!” This gets a round of laughter. Once more though, I think she blows her load by pressing too strongly on the matter. If she just left it there and said “that speaks for itself,” I think it would have been stronger. The whole “they go low, we go high” thing was better as a first lady speech, not a rallying cry from the nominee. And Obama didn’t go high (not that I blame him) he handed Trump his ass at the White House correspondents dinner in 2011. Also, while Trump’s answer certainly was racist, I don’t think she should have resorted to calling him that on stage. It further undermines the “we go high” thing she just rolled out. Leave the accusations to the press. Plant the seed and let the public do the work with it. Just how I would have handled it.
This seems to be a running theme with Trump, but he does have a good point about how Obama helped allow ISIS to rise to power by evacuating Iraq. We all wanted him to at the time, it was a popular talking point that helped elect him. But in hindsight it was a dumb move. Of course, that doesn’t mean Trump knows how to stop ISIS, and his whole “take the oil” thing is a war crime.
Hillary tries to counter this with the lame “oh boy, I hope the fact checkers are…turning up the volume and…really working hard!” Yeah, good one Hillary. That’ll really show him. That’s totally the new “Please proceed, governor.” Uh huh.
At one point, Hillary tries to throw the “Donald supported the war in Iraq!” attack out there and it falls completely flat because she herself also supported it—and unlike him, her support actually mattered because she was a Senator who voted in favor of that disastrous invasion. She even tries to throw Libya at him for good measure, even though that was her pet project as Secretary of State, and there’s video of her quivering with delight upon receiving the news that a man (whoever awful he was) just got sodomized with a bayonet and murdered in the streets. “We came, we saw, he died! (laughter, clapping).” But hey…this non-politician reality TV star supported it too so it’s actually his fault, guys! Apparently being a Senator voting for Iraq and a Secretary of State spearheading the Libyan intervention even Obama has expressed regret about somehow makes her less culpable on those historic blunders than Trump, who had ZERO political influence or power at that time. It’s like I was saying before, these are good attacks against Trump in theory, but Hillary was the ABSOLUTE WORST person in the world to deliver them. If it were Bernie, O’Malley, Webb or Chafee saying all of this it might have worked, but with Hillary her own hypocrisy on the subjects completely blunts the attack.
Probably the funniest, saddest moment of the debate, when Trump collapsed under his own weight, comes as Lester presses him on his support of the Iraq War. Trump starts ranting about a supposed private conversation he had with Sean Hannity—the media personality most openly loyal to him—and expects us to take that as proof he was always against the war. Again, Hillary undercuts this nigh-unprecedented moment of an opponent’s self-implosion with her toothy grin. It’s that awful Dolores Umbridge face, that condescending look which makes your skin crawl. If she had kept a straight face, or put her head down in a second hand embarrassment way, I think she’d have come off a lot better in that moment. All those smug “I’ve got this in the bag!” faces really look bad in hindsight with the knowledge she actually managed to lose to this clown.
Trump keeps digging his own grave with another massive self-inflicted wound “I also have a much better temperament than she does!” which produced audible gasps and guffaws from the audience. People were rightly shocked that he would dare say something like that after yelling, interrupting and rambling for an hour and change. Again, the thing that was both Trump’s biggest strength AND weakness as far as all his debate performances go was in his lack of shame. The guy is a textbook narcissist and people loved or hated him for it. I think if he had gone against a more charismatic and/or less viscerally unlikable/untrustworthy opponent his abrasiveness would have been a far greater liability. Against the hated Bush-Clinton dynasties in the primary and general he was set up aside two punching bags whom most of America wedesperate to see get their comeuppance.
The disgusting “Clinton-shimmy” was referenced a lot on social media the next day as funny or cute or “she’s got this down easy!” but, again, I was always bothered by it. It was just so weird, unnecessary and awkwardly sexual. It was like her aforementioned reaction to Qaddafi’s murder, just needlessly unprofessional and creepy. This is a running theme by now if you haven’t noticed, where Clinton is gift-wrapped a great opportunity to shine and she blows it. She thought by that moment she had it in the bag and it brought out the worst in her—snarky, condescending, sexually repressed and obnoxious—because she figured she could get away with it. Some people are going to call me sexist for pointing that out, but you didn’t see Obama or anyone else do a jig or crotch-thrust after their opponent had a gaffe, and if you did I would call that out for being disgusting and unprofessional as well.
It’s deeply ironic that the very same attack Bill Clinton used against George Bush Snr “bad experience” is parroted by Trump against Hillary here. I’m curious if that was deliberate on his part. Really, there are a lot of parallels to 2016 and 1992, and between Hillary and George: from the stupid “most experienced candidate EVER!!!” hype to the awkwardness to losing in an upset against a total dark horse whom everyone underestimated. Hillary’s downward momentum from debate to debate, thinking she was winning in the first to getting upstaged at the town hall and visibly flustered in the third also mirrors Bush’s earlier performance.
I feel it was weak for Hillary to bring up Trump’s sexist tweets at the debate. This just played into the SJW “isms” being thrown around by the Left that year which was driving everyone including me crazy. Personally, I feel like this kind of attack is something to be left to the papers and the public. It undermined Hillary’s “I’m here to talk about the issues” authority she could and should have had. Rather than be the adult in the room and stick to what Americans cared about, she got right down in the mud with a pig. She let herself get sucked into the bullshit mud slinging contest where Trump had the advantage. By this point everyone knew what Trump said and those who weren’t bothered before were not going to get offended now. The fact that all her ads and the entire DNC convention were built around how offensive Trump was also blunted the effect of these attacks, because it was beating a dead horse long before this point.
And thus ends literally the single worst general election debate in all of American history. I don’t think you need to have sat through as many of these as I have to appreciate that this is not an exaggeration either.
You’ll notice a pattern where Trump, despite being a complete unprofessional jerk with no depth or shame, does actually make a few decent points against his opponent. It’s just clear he doesn’t fully understand what these institutions and issues are. Worse, he’s an interrupting, loud, abrasive, rambling maniac for most of the debate. But Hillary’s the one who really dropped the ball. Everyone knew what Trump was going to be, the question was how would Hillary respond to it. And I think she picked the worst way possible. If she had fully committed to either a) ignoring Trump and being the adult in the room talking straight policy or b) beating Trump at his own game with some expert zingers, parries, deflections and shouting him down I think she could have won. The problem is she tries to have it both ways, where she kinda talks policy but also she rolls in the mud and throws insults too. Her zingers are terrible and the delivery of them is weak, a lot of her attacks are undercut because of blatant hypocrisy or because we’d heard it all before a million times in her ads and the DNC, and she squanders a lot of gift wrapped moments.
Basically, Hillary tried to argue with an internet troll in real life, and learned the wisdom of the timeless maxim “don’t fee the trolls.” You could be the most intelligent person in the world, and for all her faults I do think Hillary is very intelligent, but once you start trading playground insults with someone who doesn’t care about facts, it doesn’t matter who started it because to observers you both look stupid. The difference is the troll doesn’t care and neither do his supporters who find the whole thing funny.
It’s clear from her demeanor and weak attacks (“the fact checkers on my website will prove him wrong!!”) that Hillary thought she had this in the bag already when both the tightening of the polls and now hindsight shows that was far from true. Her obnoxious grins, plugging her own website and book, that gross shimmy, not letting Trump’s insanity speak for itself…she blew it. Pure and simple, she blew it. Trump’s antics were certainly unprecedented and shameful, but in the scandal of his presence, nobody talked about how a lot of Hillary’s antics were awful as well. Again, I’ve never seen a candidate answer a question by telling people to buy their book before, or get so cocky they literally dance at the podium. In a more normalized election cycle, I think these actions would have been considered scandalous as well (remember how Romney’s line “binders full of women” was a big deal in 2012???) it’s just that with Trump sucking all the oxygen out of the room, there was no interest in pointing out lesser faux pas such as those. It’s like Colin Powell said “everything she touches she screws up with her hubris.” Watching this in hindsight, it’s far from the Clinton-blowout the media and her supporters were trying to frame it as the next day.
Once again good analysis on your part. It is so sad that these two were the best the two candidates the major parties could come up with. Both were so bad that I think in this election most votes were not cast for either candidate but against their opponent.