So, I watched the first US Presidential debate on Monday night and I think there is little doubt that Hillary Clinton won. She was well-prepared, knowledgeable and was calm and steady throughout. Donald Trump, whose campaign seemed to be making his lack of preparation into a virtue, was unprepared, didn’t have enough of a foundation of knowledge about many of the issues to wing it and rambled and misstepped a number of times.
The split screen of the two candidates, which was shown for most of the debate, offered a good opportunity for viewers to make an ongoing comparison for an extended period of time, both when the candidates were speaking and listening.
The link below takes you to the full debate, with the candidates coming on stage at 4:22.
Lester Holt of NBC was the moderator and the three areas scheduled for focus were “achieving prosperity, America’s direction and securing America”. A couple of notable moments were:
Clinton & Trump on aspects of race in America ( video 43:18 – 58:43)
Clinton & Trump on nuclear capabilities & defense (video 1:25:25 – 1:31:30)
NPR’s annotated transcript from Monday night is another useful resource for reviewing the debate.
I agree with Clyde Williams that Clinton outscored Trump in all aspects of debate performance.Yet I obviously can’t say that this performance guarantees that Clinton will win the election. Nobody realistically can. Not in what is an extremely strange election on so many counts. Many commentators after the debate said that they had never seen anything like it in their 20, 30, 40 years of watching US presidential debates. The most I would do is to agree with one commentator I heard, who said that Clinton’s debate performance may stop or at least slow the previous momentum towards Trump that was being seen in the polls. By next week, the polls should be showing whether or not this is so.
There are two more debates and 6 weeks to go till the election, which is a lot of time in politics.