The First Political Dog and Pony Show

September 27, 2016 at 2:45 pm

Last night, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took the stage for their first head-to-head “debate”.  Absent was Gary Johnson – evidently because the Commission on Presidential Debates believed an adult in the room was unnecessary.

Credit to NBC

Credit NBC

As expected, there was a lot of interrupting, speaking over one another and generally ignoring the existence of the moderator as he ineffectually attempted to keep the topics on track.  Clinton sounded well rehearsed and as such came off more polished.  What little policy she did articulate though was almost complete incorrect.  I found it to be no surprise that her most glaringly erroneous statements involved economic matters.  From her support for higher taxes on companies and the “rich” to an increased minimum wage, “debt-free” college, and paid family leave, she demonstrated either complete ignorance of economic forces or an unbelievable level of hubris that she could overcome such natural law by sheer government fiat.

Trump started off the debate strongly, all things considered.  He stuck to his message that politicians were the problem… for the first 30 minutes or so.  Beyond that, he started taking every bit of bait Clinton put out for him.  At times, he ran off into the weeds, losing sight of the original question.  Despite his lack of focus, and blatant dishonesty about past statements, his policy positions were somewhat more palatable than Clinton’s.  His advocacy for lower corporate taxes and reduced regulation would incentivize companies to remain in the US.  I do have to give him credit for calling out the Federal Reserve, stating that an increase in the interest rate will cause a Wall Street crash, and that we are in a bubble.  He was correct on all counts.  That said, his support for “stop-and-frisk” as a solution for intercity crime is reprehensible.  Not only is it completely unconstitutional, but it will only increase police targeting of minority individuals.  During the course of this conversation, Clinton called Trump out on the unconstitutionality of the policy and pointed out that violent crime was down 50% over the past 20 years… a few seconds later she called for more gun control.  I guess she hasn’t read up on the data that shows that 50% drop in violent crime occurred over the same span of years in which gun ownership has exploded in the US.

On the subject of terrorism, both candidates took the expected routes.  Trump doubled-down on his wall and keeping “them” out, while Clinton tried to take a hard-line stance on a military solution and mass data collection.

Trump was questioned about his refusal (so far) to release his tax returns.  Clinton made some comment suggesting that he didn’t pay any federal taxes, to which Trump said something to the effect that that would make him smart.  I would agree.  Taxation is theft. More power to anyone who finds a successful way to avoid paying.

Overall, Clinton wins on presentation, but on what little substance was extracted from the two candidates, Trump had the edge as his economics were not as horrendous as Clinton’s.

In all honesty though, it doesn’t matter who won.  Either way we lose.

Unless otherwise expressly stated, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Creative Commons License