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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

First Clinton Trump Debate

Many of my blogs talk about polls and other relatively neutral data.  Today I will be discussing my personal impressions and opinions about the debate.

Like most Americans, I dislike both candidates.  Unlike most, I plan to vote for a third party, Gary Johnson.  But today I'll confine my comments to the choice between the two candidate in the debate.

Hillary Clinton reminded me why I dislike her in her opening statement.  He listed a host of liberal democratic domestic agenda policies which will harm the economy, increase bureaucracy, and continue to push business out of this country.  She offered no new ideas to solve national problems.  Rather, we go the same proposals we heard from Democrats 40 years ago.

Fortunately for Clinton, Trump spoke next.  Trump launched into the issue that helped drive him to win the nomination: protectionism. Trump wants to tax imports and put up other barriers to other countries trading with the US, i.e. end free trade.  Free trade, of course, typically has been a Republican issue, one with which many conservative and moderate Democrats agree.  I fail to understand the appeal of protectionism.  It increases inflation and the cost of living for most Americans, for the benefit of a few who can take advantage of the reduced foreign competition.  I think protectionism will greatly damage this country.  Clinton has supported free trade in the past, but now seems to be pandering to voters by obfuscating that support.

Where does Trump get the number of "30 years" for Clinton to make changes to national policy? Thirty years ago, Clinton was a private attorney in Arkansas.  Even if you consider her role as First Lady as involvement in policy making, that was 23 years ago.  Add to his time impairments, Trump's accusation that Clinton has been fighting ISIS her entire adult life without success.  That seems to conflict with his accusation that Obama and Clinton created ISIS, unless he thinks Clinton is about 25 years old.

Throughout most of the debate, I think Clinton kept Trump on the ropes, going after him for business practices and other nonsense that he has spouted during the earlier campaign.  Trump seemed surprisingly unable to counter punch.  He did not bring up Bengazi.  He made a few references to her email server.  For the most part, I think Trump remained on the defensive for most of the debate.

The one issue that might resonate with a few voters is the Trump's apparent admission that he paid no income taxes.  That may turn off some of the few remaining undecideds.  Trump did not seem to want to defend it other than saying that not paying taxes was "smart."  It seems that the better defense is that, as a businessman, he uses the loopholes in the convoluted tax system to avoid paying any, and that he is going to change that.  But he did not really say that in the debate.

I would say that Clinton won the debate.  Of course, that may not change many minds.  If one opposes traditional Democratic solutions to policy problems, one is likely not persuaded by debate tactics.  Trump said nothing particularly embarrassing, which I think remained his primary goal for the evening.

Ncxt week the Vice Presidential Candidates debate.


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