The first US Presidential Election Debate for 2016, turned out to be a crackling affair with both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton bringing out their A-games at times, trying to outwit each other. Hosted by Hofstra University, the debate was a mix of wonkish policy discussions, smart one-liners, empty rhetoric and some below the belt attacks.
Hillary prevailed, but failed to give Trump the knockout punch needed to get a fillip, at a time when her numbers are steadily tapering in most opinion polls. Trump on his part avoided any major gaffe, which could have brutally exposed his frailty to become the Commander-in-chief. Of course, when we say Trump avoided any big mistakes, that’s by the low bar he has set for himself during the campaign trail and previously during the Republican primaries. Over the course of 90 minutes, viewers were subjected to several Trump gems. He implied that he was smart to have not paid federal taxes, justified cheering for the 2008 realty crash, defended not paying small businesses saying they did a ‘bad job’ and gave a spin to his businesses going bankrupt by saying they merely made use of certain laws.
The debate hosted by Lester Holt of NBC, had three broad topics. Achieving Prosperity, America’s Direction and Securing America. It was a hostile debate with a lot of cross talk, but thankfully it didn’t cross the level of civility, which many had feared. Let’s look at what worked and didn’t work for both the candidates.