Sunday, October 09, 2016

Trump Lives for Another Day

That is my take. Obviously as Nate Silver mentioned earlier, he had done a good job of 'lowering the expectations' about his debate performance. But either he was prepared or he focused his mind in the second debate.

One thing is sure though - no Trump backer is going to feel bad or ashamed for supporting Trump after today's performance.[1]

Hillary seemed tired, tired of all the baseless accusations from Trump. She did not derelict in her duty of responding competently to Trump's responses, but clearly she gave the impression that "what do I say to this non-sense". But we know that, it does not play well in the end. 

The only thing which came out negatively for Donald Trump was that, he is still very ill prepared for policy questions facing the next president. He avoided answering many questions straight on, essentially he is "ill-prepared". I am not sure whether Donald Trump was able to clear out that impression, thought he seemed to nullify Hillary's temperament question. He did not loose himself as like in the first debate. 

For Hillary, Donald ensured that voters know she has 'skeletons in the cupboard'; albeit all those are exposed and there is nothing new there. To that end, she kind of overcame that weakness by displaying her earnestness about the policy and her constant theme of family first, children first.

So what is the net effect? Here are my thoughts:

- Foremost is you are unlikely to see more draining of GOP support after this debate. In that sense, Hillary Camp should be feeling good that it sowed the disunity in GOP before the debate as much as possible. It will not be easy, almost impossible, for Sen. McCain and Sen. Ayotte to rescind negation of Trump endorsements. Essentially Dems plundered GOP support for Trump as much as possible, before the debate. One thing is very likely, more damaging tapes or facts about Donald are bound to come in remaining weeks. That will essentially make Sen. McCain and Sen, Ayotte "I told you so". But, after today's performance; stanching of Trump support in GOP will happen. 

- Those GOP members who jumped the ship in last 48 hours, they will be extremely vulnerable to loose their elections.

- I doubt Hillary losses here. Her base support is strong, the arguments Trump is making are nothing new and seems hard that those will bring any new 'voters' to him. For sure Hillary did not deliver knock-out punch; but nothing damaging happened to her. It is just that she may not cruise to a landslide, but she ensured that she takes care of her base - case in point linking Energy Policy to Climate Change and showing her support for Second Amendment.

- If at all any Trump rally is there, it is unlikely to go over the winning the line. Why? For example, Trump completely lost in essentially supporting Bashar Assad. That is a loosing argument, expect more ads from Hillary in that regards.[2] Show one picture of dead body of a four year old boy washing ashore or images of havoc made by 'barrel bombs' thrown by Assad; there is no way you will win hearts and minds of any civilized society - including America. Trump completely bungled on Syrian question.

- The last question showed, and as both debaters answered it predictably but so well, that this country is crying for "unification". That was the most positive moment for America in many, many days. The person who asked that, he did a great service to this country and both contestants answered it very well - raising above the politics. No doubt, that was a softball, but a best saccharin moment. We as a country have fallen so low that any such iota of 'civility' enlightens us. We know in remaining days, that civility is unlikely to stay. But to demonstrate that Donald can be a leader to acknowledge positives about his fellow contestant - that is American. Hopefully, that will help to take this election campaign about issues rather than individual vices. 

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[1] - For whatever worth my notes about how each fared about those 11 questions in the debate, here is my score card:                 
Question is as per my score keeping, Hillary seems to have won; then why do I not say so? Just to account for my bias in favor of Hillary. Reality is Donald has 'low bar' and what mattered is whether he clears that or not. Sure, it is 'grading on curve'; but face it - that is life. If else, Hillary Campaign should have taken the care of setting expectations low. When you are ahead in the political horse race, you do not get much favors.

[2] - Her equivocal answer for not putting boots in Syria will earn her ton of gratitude, and votes, from Sanders Base. 


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