Lowering the Bar
Compared to the first presidential debate, Trump had a strategy and largely executed it. Trump’s campaign must be pleased. He brought it back to the 33,000 e-mails she deleted while still under a subpoena from Congress. And he framed his opponent as someone that “doesn't do anything about anything other than talk.” This is his main talking point: all Hillary Clinton does is talk. For thirty years, she’s been “in the arena”, and she has nothing to show for it. She has “terrible judgement.”
In a normal election, this is, by far, the most effective argument against Hillary Clinton. The Democrats nominated an unaccomplished, untrustworthy, ineffective adherent to the same ideological presumptions as the current president. Most of our modern presidents have had the honor of serving two terms, but it’s typical for voters to prefer a changing of the guard. Two-thirds of Americans think the country is the wrong track. 68% of 2012 voters said this is because “government does too much” but they didn’t like the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney - he lost the group of voters concerned that he “cares about people like me” 80% to 12%. This country is ripe for change, a chance to turn the page, as long as the alternative is acceptable.
Look, Hillary Clinton is the frontrunner, and she’s a proven failure. She’s headed for four years of failure with a Republican Congress resisting her every ambition. I shed no tears for poor Hillary - even the least ambitious aims of the progressives would bring irreparable injury to the country. Trump is just proving that he’s even less prepared for the rigors of the most difficult job in the world. Republicans have been accusing President Obama of “learning on the job” but Trump really does appear to have little, if any, knowledge of the mechanisms of government. His biggest accusation of the night is “all Hillary does is talk.” “All politicians do is talk.” “If she’s President, all she’s going to do is talk.” Well, yeah, democracy depends on dialogue. Results depend on relations. Hillary attempted to emphasize that point, but her record says otherwise. Trump leveled a powerful charge against her, calling her ineffective, one she can’t rebut. She hasn’t had to though, since Trump can’t even get on her level.
Tonight, “an undecided voter” asked the candidates which kind of judges they would appoint. To his credit, Trump promised to appoint Justices that will consult the Constitution, Hillary didn’t. Another asked about energy, Hillary Clinton promised to “find solutions” for coal country, after she admitted they were “injured” ...by the EPA acting on President Obama’s orders. She pledged to expand the Affordable Care Act minutes after being reminded that her husband assailed it as “the craziest thing in the world” this week. Hillary is running to guarantee a third term of the progressive Obama agenda. She’s promising to appoint justices that will not defer to the Constitution, instead focusing on delivering results on a plethora of liberal priorities. In this race, the slightly better candidate hasn’t had to own the last eight years of political failures because of the revolting nature of her opponent. That is how low the bar has been lowered for Hillary Clinton.
There’s a reason Clinton is the frontrunner. It’s Donald Trump. There’s a reason why Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and the Republicans will be returned to D.C. to stop her. The bar has been lowered for our presidential candidates. Clinton doesn’t have to own Obama’s failures and the unpopularity or results of his policies. Donald Trump gives her something else to talk about, just about every day. In fact, Hillary is no longer running against “her enemies”; she let Republicans and “deplorable” Trump supporters off the hook: “my argument is not with his supporters. It's with him!”
Hillary had a strategy tonight too - let Trump implode. The aforementioned tape led to many Republicans denouncing Trump’s vulgar remarks and several withdrawing support for the party’s nominee, some even asking him to step aside. A bad debate would crater his campaign speeding up such an exodus. Trump didn’t deliver. Hillary didn’t fail though. She once again set up a week of fact-checks and controversy for the ever-combative Trump to engage. The polls have been in her favor since their last bout, and there’s no reason that should change now.
Once again, Hillary Clinton crossed the low, low bar set by this presidential election cycle.
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