Another post in The Red Zone, a place where I let my conservative convictions show.
Yesterday, the two nominees for president squared off in their second debate. It was conducted in a town hall setting with questions coming from moderators and the audience. Let me be honest – I couldn’t watch it. Knowing what I do about Hillary Clinton, I just can’t stomach listening to her anymore. Thankfully, EP’s conservative contributor, Jeff Murphy, did watch and provides the following reactions.
It looked to me as if this debate was much better for Trump, but not a clear win. I think Hillary wasn’t that good, but she made no really serious mistakes which was probably her aim. I give her about a C+ and Trump about a B-. CNN had it about even and Frank Luntz thinks, based on his focus group, that Trump turned it around a bit and might be back in the race. However, the CNN poll had Hillary winning 57-34, though by 63-21, they thought Trump exceeded expectations. Hillary was about even on that question.
Trump didn’t and probably couldn’t do that much about the tape, but he did clear up that it was talk, not action, so it wasn’t sexual assault. His counterattack on Bill and on Hillary for going after the women victimized by Bill was probably not a good idea, but this is uncertain. (Scott’s note: I think it is a great idea. It pits largely harmless, though admittedly lewd and inappropriate, banter against intentional and vicious actions on Hillary’s part to enable her husband’s criminal and devastating sexual pillaging and to suppress the voices of his victims.). The moderators started out by ganging up on Trump on the tapes which was unnecessary to make their point. However, after the first 20 minutes or so, they were then pretty fair, unlike Lester Holt who campaigned for Hillary throughout the first debate. I think the impression that the moderators were unfair stuck in the minds of many watchers, because it was the first thing they saw.
Hillary did get hit on the leaks of her remarks about having a private position and a public position, and her attempt to say this was a reference to Lincoln on getting support for freeing the slaves was pretty lame. Trump repeatedly said that Hillary had had opportunities to do many of the things she is now advocating and accomplished nothing – the repetition was probably effective. On Syria, Trump had the awkward problem that he disagreed with Pence, since Trump does not want to go into Syria and wants to concentrate on ISIS. I agree with Pence, but the exchange may have come out OK for Trump as Americans do not want to get sucked into the Middle East any more than to kill ISIS.
Bottom line: I think the debate stemmed the bleeding and should stabilize the polls, leaving Trump well behind, but still in a position where he could come back. Also, it is critical that this not become a rout, losing us the Senate and severely reducing our House majority (I don’t think the House majority is in danger).