It was believed by many that Donald Trump would tone it down for last night’s debate. He would act in a mild-mannered, civil way. He would have no embarrassing moments like those he had earlier in the campaign. And with polls tight and expectations down, he’d be declared the victor by the media and possibly take the lead in the presidential election.
It didn’t happen. He turned in a miserable performance. According to the CNN/ORC snap poll of debate viewers, 62% of them believe Hillary won the debate. Only 27% believe Trump did. I was watching the twitter reactions along with the debate and his supporters disappeared after a while, although #TrumpWon has emerged after the fact, based on cherry-picked website polls.
What was so terrible about Trump’s performance? Well, for starters he interrupted Clinton a reported total of fifty-one times. That’s bad enough in and of itself, but when you have a reputation for sexism and are up against a female opponent, it’s downright devastating. Also, he looked grumpy throughout the entire debate, which hurt his attacks on Clinton quite a bit. Truth be told, he probably should have opted to save his email and Clinton Foundation attacks for a more competitive debate. Of course, this is presuming a lot about Trump’s self-awareness.
Clinton, on the hand, looked very presidential, had a pleasant demeanor about her throughout and seemed concerned rather than vicious when she attacked Trump on his tax returns and history of sexism. If I’m not mistaken, Clinton never brought up Trump University, so it will be available for a later debate.
Perhaps Trump never had a chance to win this debate. He wasn’t remotely impressive in the Republican debates but succeeded by throwing red meat to his base. Problem is, that wouldn’t work in the general election, what with it being decided by indies. But his bad attitude truly made the worst of things. But he’s gotta be him. He has a long history of making racist and sexist remarks, which may merely be because tabloid and reality stars feed on controversy. Now, in a realm in which there actually is such a thing as bad publicity, Trump’s in way over his head.
If Clinton truly needed a boost to salvage her lead, she probably got it last night. And the first debate is almost always the most important. Example: President Obama’s debate meltdown in 2012 that changed the polls from an Obama lead to a virtual tie, even as Obama won the other two debates. So Trump’s best chance to secure victory just might have come and gone.