5 takeaways from the Trump-Clinton debate that hasn't happened yet


The second and most important presidential debate for Donald Trump comes Sunday night.

If what you read the morning after the St. Louis town hall isn’t something resembling this post, then the billionaire’s gone bankrupt again. You can bend over and kiss your Trump goodbye:


Donald Trump bounced back Sunday night from a disappointing opening debate 11 days ago. He was poised. He was pointed. Most importantly, he was plausibly presidential.

Open-minded voters (there are several left) were not invited to fear a President Trump mocking a foreign leader’s stature or accent in English. Or speculating on the developing weight problem of Britain’s new prime minister, Theresa May.

Trump actually started out well back on Sept. 26. But as Allahpundit pointed out here, after 30 minutes Trump’s ego could no longer resist Hillary Clinton’s tempting bait.

Even without her little riser, Clinton should have been a push-over for the reality TV celebrity. She used to be the worst candidate in modern memory. Now, thanks to Aleppo Johnson she’s only second-worst. But that’s nothing to cough at.

To anyone who can endure her voice long enough, Clinton warned during her convention speech how easily Trump is baited. She may lie about her emails, Benghazi, the Clinton Foundation and Chelsea-knows-what-else. But the former lawyer, former first lady, former senator and former secretary of State was dead-on about trolling Trump.

Insults. Taxes. Bills. Beauty queens. Bankruptcies. Everything she tossed out caused Trump to make a long, defensive explanation, wasting his precious TV time on Clinton points in front of nearly 90 million people.

Worse, it kept Trump from epoxying Democrat Clinton to Barack Obama as the most status quo of status quo candidates at a time when two-of-three Americans know the country is on the wrong track. If you want more of this malaise, folks, stick with Hillary. Instead, subsequent polls showed serious erosion in Trump’s standing on issues.


This debate, however, came smack dab in the center of angry, worried flyover-country. One-issue-after-another Trump went after Clinton for her trade flip-flops, for the jobs her one-sided trade agreements cost America, for her failed Russian reset.

For the useless war she championed in Libya that produced another failed state and for her sadly wince-able claim that no Americans lost their life there. Breaking news to Benghazi families.

And how, Mrs. Clinton, did you come up with that cockamamie anti-Muslim video fable so Obama could get to his Vegas fundraisers on time?

Clinton tried to defend herself. But Trump’s barrage just kept landing. What about pushing to get U.S. troops out of Iraq allowing ISIS to germinate? That awful one-sided deal with Iran? And your promise, Madame Secretary, to destroy thousands of coal jobs? How does that make Americans ‘Stronger Together’?

What about your national security failures? How can we trust you with nuclear codes if you knowingly send state secrets on an email system less secure than g-mail? Average people need Google maps to follow your intentionally arcane explanations that turn out false anyway.

Last Sunday, Clinton’s elfish VP partner Tim Kaine revealed their campaign strategy: Throw everything at the Trump campaign and force it to explain.

Except – Oops! – Mike Pence is a professional politician of the kind Trumpers profess disdain. He saved Trump’s south side, handing the top of the ticket last night’s second-chance.

The GOP vice presidential nominee looks like every steady, experienced airline pilot you’ve ever seen stride confidently into the cockpit. He did his homework, unlike some candidates. He knew the exchanges weren’t about him.


Pence knew how to deftly deflect each one and pivot to sharp, concise Trump campaign points he knows well without notes. Pence knew what he wanted to get out. And he did. So, it was Kaine wasting his time desperately interrupting more than five dozen times.

Trump watched that debate. He graciously tweeted during it. He said it made him proud that he picked Pence as partner. Clearly, the TV showman learned his lesson. This time he left the campaign trail for two full days of debate prep.

And it showed last night in Trump’s relentless presentation of why he’s the man to change what everyone is so blessedly sick of in Washington—and why Hillary Clinton and wandering hubby Bill is just more of the same old same old that’s abused our trust for 30 years.

That’s the sort of thing you might read Monday morning. If you don’t, then save your betting money on the final debate in Las Vegas Oct. 19. It won’t matter.

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John Sexton 7:00 PM on December 09, 2023