OA’s Quick Take on the Second 2016 Presidential Debate

 

Sunday, October 9th marked the second presidential debate of the 2016 Election. Coming on the heels of a scandal that drove dozens of supporters away from the Trump campaign, many Americans were anxious to see how the debate would take shape. Our team shares their initial reactions below:

  1. Hillary walked out strong, confident, smiling. Trump seemed reluctant, nervous.
  2. If you were a Trump supporter, he came out and did exactly what you wanted him to do. He did enough to stop his landslide. And he clearly did some prep. It was still not enough to drastically improve his debate performance, but he performed better on the first few questions of this debate than in the last one.
  3. Locker room talk is no excuse for the language used by Trump in the leaked 2005 video. It’s a sorry explanation, especially after his terrible apology.
  4. The visual of Trump lurking behind Hillary will likely be the lasting memory from this debate, and it was not a good look for him. It made viewers uncomfortable – not just women, but also men.
  5. The questions from the audience were very broad, and given the challenges that this campaign has had on focusing on policy, I think that the broadness of the questions did not help in that effort. I think that this audience should have been encouraged to write questions with more specifics regarding policy.
  6. It seems that Trump believes being President is essentially acting on one’s own and clearly has a lack of understanding about the government’s system of checks and balances. This is an exaggerated statement, but there is some truth to it. He seems to think that one senator has a lot of power.
  7. I don’t think that this debate changes any of the fundamentals of the election. Trump may have shored up collapsing support from the Republican Party, but he did nothing to expand his base. Hillary continued to look substantive and presidential, which is what she needed to convey.

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