Fred Henneke, Attorney & Counselor-At-Law
My pre-debate prediction was Trump in a split decision. I meant to say Hillary. Here’s how I saw it.
POISE AND BODY LANGUAGE:
Whoever agreed to that split-screen from Trump’s camp should be boiled in oil and then shot. There was no way that he could control his natural instinct to respond vigorously for that long under that level of attack. His facial expressions, gestures, discomfort with the mike, etc., distracted from and undercut his presentation. The longer the debate went on, the more agitated he got and the more bemused Hillary became at Trump’s obvious agitation. Hillary, on the other hand, managed to stay under control and play to the TV audience rather than take notice of her opponent. ADVANTAGE -Hillary.
Donald dominated the discussion on trade issues and also was very strong and forceful on national security and job creation. Hillary did better on race relations and women’s issues. She had more nuanced policy proposals but Trump’s following is not based on wonkishness; no one expected Donald to have a 14 point plan for whatever. ADVANTAGE: Even
Donald started out well, dominating the trade discussion, but let Hillary get to him and he lost his focus. His body language betrayed his discomfort on being on stage with her. The constant interruptions and talking over her and the moderator did not serve him well. She, on the other hand, came across as poised and prepared, at times appearing “canned”. ADVANTAGE: Hillary
Clearly, Hillary was more prepared for this type of debate than Trump. But, she has steeped herself in these types of issues for 30+ years while Trump has been running a high-profile construction business. The issue, though, was not who could pronounce detailed plans or solutions but who managed to engage the audience and advance their campaign. By letting Trump be Trump, Trump managed to reinforce the attributes that gave him the nomination – newness, forceful leadership, confidence.His performance was not polished but effective for his supporters. ADVANTAGE: Even
Donald left a lot of potential issues unfavorable to Hillary on the table – Benghazi, the Clinton foundation,speeches to Wall Street for large sums. I feel confident he was prepped for those issues but never found a way to get them into the conversation. His inexperience in this form of political jousting was apparent. He has a large up-side for the next 2 debates. Hillary set out to get under Trump’s skin and ultimately did so.She had her attack lines firmly in mind as well as several “canned” lines. Neither candidate scored a knockout; Trump won by being on the stage with Hillary and remaining standing at the end. Hillary won by demonstrating the clear differences between the candidates. Both played to their respective bases, hoping to hold onto their core while creating some positive movement among the undecideds. We will know the result on November 8.