I have been scrolling through my feeds and looking at various sites all over the web and I have yet to come across anyone who wasn’t either a paid shill for Mr. Trump or using chemical enhancements who says anything other than Hillary Clinton cleaned Donald Trump’s clock.
The contrast between the two was startling even if you cringed at the idea of anyone going up against that unpredictable and chaotic mess that the Republicans have nominated. And what, pray tell, was all that sniffing and snorting from the left side of the stage?
Okay, maybe that explains it.
I was nervous going into the event — and that’s what you’d have to call it — but in the end it was fascinating to watch even if you were totally skeptical about either candidate being able to provide serious responses to the questions. This was not the forum for new thoughts and I expected to hear the stump speech snippets and anecdotes that we got last night. But given that most of the country has probably tuned out the campaign since the end of the primaries and have not heard them, it was startling to see how quickly Donald Trump went from calm and measured respondent to ranting spouter of word salad and disjointed flailing so quickly. NASA should bottle it and use it to send probes to Mars; we’d be there in twenty minutes.
James Fallows at The Atlantic wraps it up.
Donald Trump rose to every little bit of bait, and fell into every trap, that Hillary Clinton set for him. And she, in stark contrast to him, made (almost) every point she could have hoped to make, and carried herself in full awareness that she was on high-def split-screen every second. He was constantly mugging, grimacing, rolling his eyes—and sniffing. She looked alternately attentive and amused.
If you were applying the famous “How does this look with the sound turned off?” test, you would see a red-faced and angry man, and a generally calm-looking woman. Hillary Clinton’s most impressive performance-under-public-attack so far had been the 11-hour Benghazi Commission hearings. This was another 90 minutes more or less in the same vein.
I don’t expect that this evening will change the minds of any of his committed supporters. But they have topped off at around 40 percent of the electorate. The question is the effect it will have on undecideds in a handful of crucial states. Especially undecided women (seeing Trump constantly interrupt Clinton while she was talking, and end up challenging her “stamina”), non-whites (hearing his praise for stop-and-frisk), and environmentally conscious younger and older people (hearing him say, falsely, that he had never said that climate change was a hoax engineered by the Chinese). We’ll see.
I’m not a betting man, but I’m sure there are those taking odds that Donald Trump will find some reason for backing out of the next two debates. Just a hunch.
H/T to Balloon Juice for the photo.