Ok, I’ve read the commentaries on both sides (even diving into the Pro-Trump and Pro-Clinton Reddit threads), read the transcript, and lastly watched the actual debate. Gotta say that debate does not look like a clear win for either candidate.
From outside the USA, I’d be looking at either option as a bad deal. You’re getting Crazy Weird or Crazy Evil. Friend and foe alike must be wary. But then again, these days it is Crazy’s world. Walmart is the world’s wealthiest company and the terrorist equivalent of GI Joe’s Cobra is actually toppling governments.
It’s been interesting rewatching different segments of the debate immediately after reading different commentaries and how this affects perception — how one interprets certain words, pauses, glances and phrases, for example.
With that in mind, I don’t know how much this debate sways “on the fence” folks at this point. I think your starting point before the debate affected where you came out at the end.
If you’re pro-Trump, you saw an outsider fighting a crooked system (e.g. the political Left colluding with special interest groups, a Left-leaning media bias, etc.) You saw a moderator who attacked your candidate and let the other candidate slide. You saw your candidate score tremendous hits on Hillary for her emails, the Left’s terrible handling of the economy and international security, and all that. You saw a candidate who was making reasonable points.
If you’re pro-Hillary, you saw Hillary demonstrate her intelligence and masterfully leverage her image as the Strong and Smart Woman. You saw a candidate who is in sync with Progress for the non-rich, the non-male and the non-white…or if not “in sync” than at least not in opposition. You saw a Hillary who acts polite but isn’t afraid to throw a punch…especially in self-defense. You saw a Hillary with a track record of hard-won victories in situations where the choices are Bad Option A, Bad Option B and Worse Option C.
Now, we all know damn well that both Trump and Hillary have devils on their shoulders. We should worry about what will happen when Reality crashes its car through the Oval Office window. Hillary’s track record is *not* one without outbreaks of bloodshed, destructively distorted trades, economic/political exclusion, etc. And who knows what would remain intact after Trump gets over the learning curve and realizes just how much larger and more dangerous the world is than his microscopic-by-comparison business deals.
From my perspective, I think the debate showed that Hillary can lead in the current System (she grew up in it and she’s part of the Clan that runs the current System)…but the debate also showed that the current System could be more appearance than reality, that it really is failing/under attack and that Trump is perhaps more in sync with that spirit of disruption.
I think your choice of Trump or Hillary depends on how you feel about the System, where you think its going and how you think its going to treat you you (plus your friends and family). If you think it’s going to elevate you or at least not strongly threaten your desired status quo.
It’s where you see yourself in the System.
That’s what it all boils down to. Everything else — immigrants, health care, jobs, what are the right laws, trade deals, taxes, energy policies, who gets hit with what kind of military action, blah blah principles blah blah doing the math blah blah justice — is noise.