Monday’s Debate without the Fantasy

Watching yesterday’s debate was a fascinating, frustrating informative look at this year’s election dynamic.  The most important fact I observed was that Donald Trump was the first Republican since Ronald Reagan who knew how to stand up to the moderator at a debate and say what he needed to say.

Think of the pathetic image of Mitt Romney being corrected by Candy Crowley on something that he had gotten right.  And that he meekly allowed her to get away with it.  Compare that to Trump.  Not only did he object to many things Hillary said (and while she was still speaking) but when Lester Holt tried to correct him on Stop and Frisk, Trump corrected Holt!  It was a pleasure to hear and see.  Trump may have been rambling and repetitive a lot of the time but at least he wasn’t cowed by the tag team of Clinton and Holt.  He asserted his opinion and it was a breath of fresh air.

Trump was even able to overcome the overtly biased nature of the questions.  Whereas Clinton was given neutral questions about her policy direction, Holt singled out Trump to defend his decision not to release his income tax records.  And to his credit he skillfully turned it right around on Clinton by declaring that he would release his income tax records just as soon as Hillary recovered the 33,000 e-mails that she has deleted.  It is this kind of verbal jiu-jitsu that distinguishes the effective debate performance of Trump from the weak passive performance of the last four or five republican presidential contenders.

Let me be clear.  Trump is no Reagan.  He is not a deep thinker.  He’s a salesman.  But he knows enough about scams to know that all of us are being scammed by the politicians.  He is an American and I think he empathizes with the common man.  Is he trustworthy?  Not if you’re buying steaks or college courses.  But that’s not what he’s selling.  What he’s offering is his expertise in negotiating with sharp operators. Some commentators friendly to Trump believe he avoided overtly attacking Clinton on personal matters (such as Bill’s womanizing and assaults) because it might have seemed overly aggressive. I think they’re right. He came off as a relatively moderate version of Trump which robbed his enemies (i.e., all of the MSM) of their charge that Trump is irrational. No national poll has been issued since the debate but a number of instant polls have appeared and the majority show people believe Trump won.

We’re six weeks out and two more debates to go. Where do I think we are? I’m starting to think Trump is going to pull it off. I fully expect the NYT, WP and NBC will come out with polls showing Hillary up by some enormous amount (6 to 10 points). But if the other polls (LAT, Rasmussen, Reuters, etc.) don’t move much or at all then I think he’ll win. My hope is that in fact some of the polls will even show him ahead by a significant amount (3 – 5 points). But that’s not even necessary yet. Just the fact that he’s right on her tail will be enough.

In short I feel the Trumpocalypse is afoot. Take cover.

Trump vs the Urban Fantasy Debate

Scene 1: Trump Campaign HQ. Two nights before the First Debate.

 

Campaign Manager Steve Bannon (SB):  Mr. Trump, you called for me?

Donald Trump (DT):  Bannon, I need your help preparing for the debate.

SB:  Certainly sir.  Do you need someone to stand in for Mrs. Clinton or the moderator?

DT:  Well sort of.  I need someone who’s the same height and weight as Hillary.

SB:  Uhhhh …… why?

DT:  I need to practice some fighting techniques for when she vamps out and rushes me.

SB:  Mr. Trump, I must assure you that there is absolutely no possibility that Mrs. Clinton is a vampire.  And despite what occurred in Louisiana, you are most definitely not a werewolf.

DT:  Look Bannon, obviously you’re just not as perceptive as I am.  You know, with my werewolf senses and stuff.  Trust me.  It’s completely certain that she is some species of undead and 83% certain to be a vampire.  The science is settled on this point.  You either have to lead, follow or get out of the way.  I intend to lead.  My plan is to replace the drinking water on the stage with holy water and when she drinks it her face and throat will burst into flames.  At that point I intend to stake her and pin her to the podium carpet.  Then I’ll  explain to the Secret Service the importance of decapitating her and stuffing her mouth with garlic as soon as the debate is finished.  My only problem at this point is whether I should go after Bill next or hold off until the full moon.  I believe he is the senior vampire and his strength may be too great for me to take him down without my werewolf power.

SB:  For God’s sake stop this insanity.  You’re running for the most powerful office in the world.  If anyone heard you talking like this you’d be locked up in a nuthouse within an hour.  When I took this job I knew you were goofy but I didn’t think you were bat-shit crazy.  Look I should probably drop a dime on you myself but so help me I need this gig to work.  So come on, snap out of it and try to act sane.

DT:  Bannon, I can’t work with someone so stupid. You’re fired. Now send in Kellyanne so I can get going on this debate prep work.

SB: Goodbye and good riddance you psycho.

Scene 2: First Presidential Debate.

BBC Correspondent (BBCC): Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen and welcome to the BBC radio coverage of the 2016 First Presidential Debate between Democratic Party candidate, the esteemed former First Lady, United States Senator and Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Party candidate, the eccentric failed businessman and reality show personality Donald Trump. The candidates have met for a decidedly tepid handshake and now have taken their places at their podiums. Mrs Clinton is looking decidedly hale and hearty and not at all like the frail elderly person that the Trump campaign has presented her as. As you can now hear Mr. Trump is making some decidedly sophomoric opening remarks about mexican payment for masonry or some such rubbish. Now it is Mrs. Clinton’s turn and as you must hear her diction and elocution is masterful and might I even say delightful. Why it seems entirely possible that Mr. Trump may retreat immediately and vacate the stage in the face of such commanding eloquence. Mrs. Clinton has finished and the studio audience is standing and applauding quite spontaneously. It’s an amazing sight. I think I can be forgiven for saying that a second debate will be completely unnecessary. I feel I must go on the record to congratulate Madam President for this amazing victory. Well done, oh well done.

Trump looks dumbfounded he’s just looking at Hillary as if he expects more punishment from her. Mrs. Clinton is basking in the glow of her still cheering audience. Now she’s reaching for her glass of water for a well deserved beverage. The moderator has asked Trump his first question but the oafish challenger is so overwhelmed by the intellectual beating he’s just taken he hasn’t heard a word of it. He’s still staring at the First Lady as if she will further abuse him while drinking her water. Does he imagine her to be a ventriloquist?

Wait a minute something terrible has just occurred! An enormous flash of light and flames have erupted around the face of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Was the water in the glass actually some kind of incendiary material. A horrible shriek is going up. Oh the poor woman! The secret service is converging on her. They’ve encircled her. Oh help her, help her! She’s on the floor now. But wait the agents are scattering away. All but one. He is holding the First Lady. No she has him. Now he’s screaming. Something unbelievable is occurring. Mrs. Clinton seems to have increased in size and metamorphosed somehow. She is ripping out of the delightful powder blue pantsuit and is taking on a decidedly bat-like appearance. She seems to have exsanguinated the secret service gentleman and is approaching the moderator. This is taking a decidedly unexpected turn and it appears that the moderator feels that Mrs. Clinton has exceeded the already very generous bounds of allowable debating technique at this juncture.

But hold on, Mr. Trump is charging at Mrs. Clinton and appears to have a large pointed wooden implement in his hand. Although this also seems outside the bounds of allowable debating etiquette it appears the moderator is not going to object. Mrs. Clinton must have noticed his approach because she has pivoted away from the moderator and is facing Trump. But alas she is too late. He has implanted the wooden object into Mrs. Clinton’s thoracic region right up to the hilt. And he calls himself a gentleman! Shocking.

Mrs. Clinton has landed on her back and is thrashing about spasmodically. Mr. Trump is standing back. He’s saying something. I can’t make it out. I’m looking at the program feed that we provide for the deaf viewers and it has transcribed his words as “suck on that Bannon.” Well that strikes me as entirely cryptic.

Well Mrs. Clinton appears to have expired and is beginning to deflate down into a dessicated pile of detritus. Mr. Trump is returning to his podium and appears about to speak. Let’s move in for his comments.

DT: Good evening my fellow Americans. Tonight we have witnessed the ultimate proof of the greatness that is Trump. I have saved America from the undead and also higher taxes. Because of the short window of opportunity to select a new democratic candidate I have instructed the Democrats to leave Hillary’s name on the ballot. Let’s face it, anyone they picked at this point is probably also undead and I’ll just have to stake him too. Because of the shocking events of tonight and also because I myself am now a werewolf, I’ve decided to end my campaigning activities and will just wait for your acclamation in November. So go back to your lives and don’t worry about anything. Werewolf Trump has got your back. After my inauguration I’ll be using my special werewolf senses to root out injustice and corruption wherever it exists in the federal government. My summary judgement will be brutal but fair. Also I’ll be taping these events for my new reality series “Vigilante Werewolf President.” It will be hard-hitting but classy. Very little nudity. I predict it will last eight seasons or more. Trump out.