Sunday, October 9, 2016

Pre Second Debate Thoughts

Okay, so the second Presidential debate is in roughly two hours.  It's a town hall format so who knows what the moderators role will be like.  While the last couple of posts have unloaded a two week observation period I'll try to keep this brief with a few thoughts on what tonight has in store.

First, as I said in the last post, these next two debates are Hillary Clinton's to lose.  She came in with a strong performance on the first one and is riding a two week cycle of preparation and low profile as opposed to Donald Trump, where reportedly mixed messages over what he should do and his habit for saying or tweeting whatever outrageous things pops in his head created a hole for him even before the infamous leaked tape.  There is some truth in a media claim that tonight Trump has little (if anything) to lose and that Clinton has to maintain a good performance to keep what lead she has.

Many assume Trump will try to use decades old news of Bill Clinton's extramarital affairs against the former Secretary of State.  Trump has given contradictory messages on this, claiming a few days ago he wouldn't but tweeting Juanita Broadrrick's claims that Bill Clinton reportedly raped her nearly 40 years ago.  While a case can be made that Broaddrick's claims are credible there is an irony of this being shared by a man still reeling from a leaked tape that has the GOP candidate apparently boasting of sexually assaulting women.  Also, the fact that Bill Clinton not only isn't running for office (he served his two terms back in the 90s) but survived his impeachment over having an affair with then White House intern Monica Lewinsky in the late 1990s and the fallout from that.  Add to this a history of misogyny from Trump that he tried to claim was for entainment last Thursday but often re-emerged on the campaign trail at rallies and this could backfire big time.  How big?  In an article in Politico, it was reported that right wing radio host Hugh Hewitt told MSNBC's Hallie Jackson that if he engages in "relitigating the ’80s and ’90s, it will be a disaster for the party."

So what will happen at tonight's debates?  It depends on the questions asked by those "undecided voters."  While it is possible for Trump to turn things around, their debate prep appeared to start at the last minute after the tape was leaked. Add to that Clinton's penchant for preparation and the fact she probably knows she'll have to take a slightly different tack than in the first debate means that there remains to be a lot of variables.  In an age when a Wikileaks leak of e-mails regarding Clinton's speeches to banks gets almost totally overshadowed by a leaked videotape with a hot mic then a lot of things can change at a moment's notice.

Some people say it's pretty much over for Trump after the leaked tapes.  However, while the recent polls seem to have Clinton roughly five points ahead tonight can change things (which, if Clinton is half as god a politician as her supporters think she is, she already knows).  The latest polls took place just before the leaked tape and that and this debate will possibly be lumped together in the next round of polls.  However, as I said in the last post and briefly mentioned in the last paragraph while it is within the realm of possibility that Donald Trump could win the election, after the events of the last couple of weeks it was less likely.  After the leak of the tape and the hot mic comments where he appears to boast of sexual assaulting women, it's a lot less likely than it was even on Thursday.

In a normal election cycle it would be all over.  This time around it's anyone's guess.

No comments: