De-Bait And Switch: If It Was About Stamina, She Won

De-Bait And Switch: If It Was About Stamina, She Won


Leonard Zwelling

       This morning, the airwaves are full of commentary about the debate last night between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. I actually thought there were two debates last night. Each was approximately 45 minutes in length.

       In the first, the split screen was an apt metaphor for what transpired. The two candidates seemed to be talking past one another in parallel and as if the other was not even there. Trump coughed his way through adequately and Mrs. Clinton was her usual cool self making her points with a series of polite jabs allowing her opponent to flail away rarely making any contact. I cannot even remember the details, but this was never going to be about details unless one of the two of them made a complete gaffe and neither did.

       In the second half, Mrs. Clinton pulled away as Mr. Trump got bogged down in his taxes, the birther issue, Japan and nuclear weaponry. She had the stamina that he claimed she didn’t have and he frankly dropped the ball an awful lot in the second half. He was out of gas and full of bluster. She was ready for another 90 minutes and looked as fresh as when she walked on the stage.

       My take on this is simple. She is prepared to be President and did prepare for the debate. He is not ready for prime time and did not study. She is smart and thoughtful. He is full of himself and thoughtless with very little to say of substance. Sometimes you can’t fake your way through the final exam.

       The one thing we do know is that there will be additional debates because he lost and he doesn’t like to go out a loser. Neither of the two damaged themselves with their core supporters and neither managed to sway any of his or her opponents’ proponents to come their way. For those still making up their minds or who considered voting third party, last night was a victory for Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Trump will have to prepare better next time if he is to stand on stage with her and last 15 rounds.

       And let’s not forget about the big winner last night. Lester Holt. He has been my new favorite newsman for quite a while as I watch his 5:30 broadcast every night. I find him objective, informative, concise, and appropriately dispassionate. He was all those things last night and in being himself, he added greatly to Americans’ ability to judge the two candidates without insinuating himself on the proceedings. Good for you, Lester.

3 thoughts on “De-Bait And Switch: If It Was About Stamina, She Won”

  1. I agree with the split-screen metaphor. These are back-and-forth monologues, not true debates. Nor I guess have they ever been, even since 1960, when it was all about Nixon's haggard appearance and JFK's youthful glow. I guess I disagree, though, on Lester Holt. I thought he was completely ineffectual. He had ample opportunities to keep Trump's bloviating under control, and he bucked at every turn. I was talking with a friend from the UK who couldn't understand why Holt let Trump keep talking, not only over Hillary but also over him as well.

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