Winner: Hillary Clinton
Judge: Praba Ganesan
Not the gold standard of Presidential debates and neither hit any high notes, even for showmanship, but Clinton easily edged Trump by being far more substantial in her policy explanations-rationale and with a shade better willingness to engage.
The one positive was that the “sex” contentions were over in the early part of exchanges. Trump accusing Clinton’s spouse as the worst perpetrator ever in the oval office and defending his own discretions as “locker-room talk” which are less dangerous than actual misdeeds. Clinton chose to focus on Trump being unable to be contrite and exhibiting a constant theme of sexism. The relevance of sexual verbalisations and spousal misdeeds will be left to the voters to decide.
Clinton reigned over Trump when it came to tax policies and protecting the richest with her commitment to higher taxes to the richest and previous votes to end loopholes. Trump’s allegations that she should have ended all loopholes if she was senator was naïve and his statement that he did avoid taxes just like Clinton’s backers was soft at best. She was strongest at presenting a clearer scope of what the US can do in Syria, revamp Obamacare as to not lose the present benefits when it is tinkered, an explanation of her energy plan which was built on defending energy independence and advocated her preferences for supreme court justice along with what they should be defending.
Trump relied on apparent holes in the Clinton armoury as a basis to rule her out as president, with reference to the 33,000 emails she deleted, her husband’s trysts in the past and her reliance on special interest. Clinton could have done a better job in refuting these rather than saying the evidence or data does not completely support the possibility of misdeeds.
He did have the opportunity to turn the taxation contentions to his favour, but he was unable to provide a good defence on his own tax-avoidances, which was expected, nor about how he will codify the laws to improve collections from the richest except by pointing on to carried interests and Clinton’s affiliations with George Soros and Warren Buffett.
The immigration slash are Muslims welcome debate went through the normal, “I’m strict” versus “I’ll vet them enough” lines, and drug-lords living off American goodness.
Trump did not build on his trackrecord in this debate, other than that he is self-funded. This makes it difficult for him for while Clinton was underwhelming in her efforts to appear sincere for her America which was great because its people are good, Trump did not cut through the vagaries of policies and ideas with his brand of optimism and brashness.
The substance, even if open to discourse, but as seen by their presentation even if not spectacularly by Clinton over a downcast Trump makes this debate easy to call.