The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

No, Donald Trump Won the Debate

Posted on | September 27, 2016 | Comments Off on No, Donald Trump Won the Debate


Liberals are calling Monday night’s debate a win for Hillary Clinton, as might be expected, and even producing snap polls claiming to support this claim as a fact, as might also be expected, I guess. However, the reality is that Donald Trump did not lose the debate, and thereby won.

What was Trump’s basic challenge going into the debate? That he was “not presidential,” without the necessary standing to challenge an experienced politician like Hillary. And yet there he was, side-by-side on stage with her, clearly unintimidated by her.

Did he score any knockout blows? No. Did he persuade any liberals? No. But no one could have reasonably expected such an outcome. Trump committed no great gaffes or blunders, he evaded moderator Lester Holt’s “gotcha” questions and, if at times Trump was “not presidential,” he was not so un-presidential as to disqualify himself in the eyes of any voter who prior to Monday night had considered voting for Trump.

Ross Douthat makes some apt criticism of Trump’s debate performance, but it’s not Harvard-educated pundits who are Trump’s core constituency. This is one of the basic problems with political punditry: Highly educated (and highly ideological) commentators have difficulty imagining how things look to the average voter in Ohio or Florida. Remember how the Bernie Sanders boom during the Democrat primaries caught much of the journalistic world by surprise, in much the same way that Trump’s success in the GOP primaries shocked professional pundits on the Right.



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