Following the first debate of the general election season, the divide is clear when it comes to who won. Right leaning media and Trump supporters’ say that Donald Trump won in a landslide. Left leaning media and Clinton supporters say that Hillary Clinton won in a landslide. Then, of course, there are the independents that are not fond of either candidate and think that America lost overall. But when talking about this debate specifically, I think that Hillary Clinton won, however, the victory was not huge in my opinion. But let me break it down.
Many people were really looking forward to this debate some even comparing it to a UFC fight. The conservatives were united behind their authoritarian leader (as always) and the Hillary camp was really backing her. Donald Trump, in my estimation, slightly won the first half of the debate while Hillary Clinton dominated the second half. Donald Trump’s biggest accolade when it comes to debating Hillary Clinton is to point out the terrible “mistakes” she has made in the past and he always does that very well. However, when it comes to policy positions (which is the most important part of the debate and really what it should be focused on rather than the he said/she said bickering between Democrats and Republicans) he is very, very vague in his solutions. He has these big ideas (like building a wall to keep Mexican immigrants out or banning all Muslims from the country) but his plan is never there. That’s not to say that his ideas are good (they’re quite honestly, ludicrous) but he at the very least needs to have a plan and state it. At one point of the debate he bragged about not paying his taxes and even made fun of Hillary for being too prepared. He’s like that greaser punk who thinks he’s too cool for school and part of me is petrified that he is even taken seriously.
Meanwhile, when he goes after Hillary’s corruption and the “mistakes” she has made in the past, Donald Trump looks like a strong candidate. During the debate he went after Hillary and Bill over NAFTA and TPP. He went after her saying that “You called it the gold standard of trade deals but then heard me saying how bad it is. Then you said, ‘Well, I can’t win that debate’ and just changed your position.” Hillary Clinton followed that up with “that is just not accurate”. The thing is, it was accurate and Donald Trump schooled you, Ms. Clinton. That embarrasses me and it sure as hell better embarrass you. But let’s look at the facts. Donald Trump started this exchange talking about special interest. He explained that giant corporations are practically in bed with the politicians (Democrats and Republicans) and when they move out of the country, they want trade deals. Hillary Clinton supported NAFTA and referred to TPP as the gold standard. These are facts. Then she went on to say that she was against the Columbia deal, which was true…until she received money from Columbia business and then magically voted in favor of it. This fits right into Trump’s narrative and confirms his “crooked Hillary Clinton” theory.
In the end, Hillary Clinton won the debate. While she is anything but perfect on the issues (she’s more of a moderate Republican masquerading as a liberal) but she is better than Donald Trump in the sense that she knows what hell she’s talking about. When it comes to the issues and policies themselves, Donald Trump is pretty clueless and that is apparent in the second half of the debate. But where Donald Trump excels is attacking Hillary Clinton on her record. With these two candidates, it seems that the only argument either one of them have is “yeah, well I’m not as bad as (fill in the blank Donald Trump/Hillary Clinton)”.