Post-Debate Thoughts

My first impression last night after the Presidential Debate at Hofstra University was that Donald Trump wasted too many opportunities.  He had chances to go after Hillary Clinton on Benghazi, and Madam Secretary’s emails, and he squandered them.  If one were keeping score on a points basis, Hillary would be declared the winner.  Debates aren’t scored that way, though, in the mind of the electorate.  All Trump really needed to do was avoid some kind of spastic explosion; so from that standpoint, Trump won.

Lester Holt, as expected, fact-checked Trump repeatedly and let Hillary’s exaggerations slide without comment.

Those watching the debate last night learned nothing new about either candidate.  I’m not sure what people expect to get from the format, really.  It may be entertaining on some level to watch two politicians go after each other in verbal exchanges, but I have serious doubts about the usefulness of debates.  Once upon a time, maybe, there was a purpose beyond opportunities for cheap one-liners, but the debate model these days seems tailor-made for gotcha moments; and the substance of policy positions are neglected in favor of making candidates explain every stray word they’ve ever uttered.  Are debates useful?  I really don’t think so.

Is it November yet?