- Trump is Trump -- he has a lot of energy but he's still undisciplined and doesn't focus well. Once he starts to ramble, he gets in trouble. He did a lot of rambling last night -- why the hell was he talking about Rosie O'Donnell? This tendency is why he blew off a potential one-on-one debate with Ted Cruz or John Kasich -- if he has more than one foil, he can play off the others and, from time to time, he can get out of the spotlight. He couldn't do that last night and it was a problem.
- He also, inexplicably, let a hanging curveball go by when it came to cybersecurity. Clinton is astonishingly vulnerable on that point, but he didn't seize on it. He has to do better than that. I am glad he gave Janet Yellen and the Federal Reserve a shot and it was both smart and accurate to point out that we are in the middle of a bubble.
- Hillary won on points, but I think she did plant some seeds that could be used against her later on. She got it easy this time -- moderator Lester Holt steered clear of issues that could damage her and didn't ask her to defend any of her past positions or comments. She probably won't get similar treatment from Chris Wallace later on. In her own smirky way, Clinton can match Trump's evident narcissism stride for stride. More about that in a moment.
- Not sure this debate is going to move the needle much; based on what my social media shows, people who hate Trump still hate him and people who hate Clinton still hate her. And more than a few people hate both of them. I don't see too much winning hearts and minds going on in this election. It's a visceral election.
- I don't suspect Trump would take my advice, since I'm on record as #NeverTrump, but I would suggest if he really wants to win, he needs to amplify the Hunger Games argument. Life is great in Washington, DC. The suburban areas surrounding the city are among the most wealthy in the country. It's increasingly like the Capitol in the dystopian novels and movies -- a place where the party never ends. Trump has developed some of these themes in his campaign and now is the time to make it clear that Washington is completely out of control. Trump is most effective when he comes on as the avenging angel, ready to tear the playhouse down.
- One of my favorite songs from the 1980s was a tune called "Welcome to the Boomtown" by David & David. The opening lyric is about a jaded L.A. socialite, but the description fits Hillary Clinton well: Ms. Cristina drives a nine four four/Satisfaction oozes from her pores. Clinton, like far too many people in the political class, is entirely too pleased with herself and she can't help but let it show. People notice stuff like that and in the current environment, it won't help Clinton. And as the song also says, "all that money makes such a succulent sound." It's pretty succulent in Washington.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016