Live Blog: Second Presidential Debate 2016

Second Presidential Debate 2016Welcome to the second presidential debate! Unlike many, I don’t expect this debate to be all that good. But part of it is just that I am a partisan. I want Clinton to do well. But even more than that, I constantly worry that if Trump does okay, the media will turn it into “great” and “a game changer.” I take nothing for granted in this election. Trump could still be our next president.

I do have an irrational fear, though. It goes like this: the Republican Party forces Trump out, runs Paul Ryan, and given there has been little attention paid to him recently, he wins. This will not happen, however. First, it would be hard for the Republican Party to organize. If they did, there are still a number of states where the electoral votes would have to go to Trump regardless. So it would be a virtual impossibility that the Trump substitute would win. It would all end in the courts. But if you want to be frightened, you can meditate on the Republicans’ willingness to steal an election via the courts.

How the Second Presidential Debate Will Go

My guess is that Trump is going to try to take the high road in this debate. He’s done his apology. And now he’s going to move on. The whole thing was 11 years ago. He was but a child — barely 59 years old! Regardless, it is the past and he is focused on the future. And a few dozen other platitudes that I could send your way. And to be honest, I think that that Clinton would be wise to let him. The damage has been done. Let’s move on to the next Trump outrage. That’s not to say she should let it go completely. But I don’t think it is a good idea to overplay this.

And it isn’t like Clinton has nothing to fear. Wikileaks just posted a bunch of Clinton email messages that provide information about some of the things she said at talks given to big banks on Wall Street. It doesn’t look that damning. But Clinton hasn’t been great in addressing these kind of vague allegations. What I find amazing is that anyone could look at her and Trump together and think, “Well obviously we can trust Trump!”

There are two things that make me confident about the debate. First is that Hillary Clinton is amazingly good, despite her muddled answers on email and speeches. And she has a great team. And I know that they’ve come at this debate from all angles. So if humble Trump shows up, Clinton will know what to do. If combative Trump shows up, ditto. And so on.

Second, Trump really is like a toddler. The debate is 90 minutes long. He has a hard time sitting still that long. And he really doesn’t have more than 5 minutes of material that isn’t about how great he is. So even if he does okay for the first 30 minutes, by 60 minutes, he will be cranky, and by 85 minutes, he will be Alec Baldwin:

And Away We Go!

That’s all I have to say for now. It’s hard living through this election. I think it is very important. And it doesn’t matter whether the eventual president is Trump or some other Republican, it will be a catastrophe. So I take this all quite seriously, which is why I have to drink to get through them. Although I plan not to drink as much as I did last time.

Now on with the second presidential debate!

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

12 thoughts on “Live Blog: Second Presidential Debate 2016

  1. That was funny. Lorne Michaels chews up and misuses talent, but people like Baldwin and Walken can really do well as guest hosts.

    Unrelated thing, I’ve been waiting for Charlie Pierce on all this latest detritus, and he did not disappoint. Bibeau’s was great, too.

    • I have little love for Wiki. Manning to me is a hero, but not Assange.

      Did you ever see “citizenfour”? That’s what kinda put me in the anti-Wiki camp. Poitras and Greenwald took great care to make sure they’d protected Snowden all they could before publishing his leaks. Assange did not exercise as much caution with Manning. Result, Snowden’s a free man, and Manning is stuck in military jail. I hope Obama lame-duck pardons her.

      • That will never happen. I have nothing more to say on this because I have a flatly different opinion on all of it than y’all do.

        • I may not know enough details about the case. I don’t have a good impression of Assange. Manning did what the Uniform Code Of Military Justice says to do: report war crimes, disobey illegal orders. (BTW, every member of the US military is schooled in the UCOMJ. It’s like, a big deal.)

          My take would have been, tell him to go on leave, and once he’s safely on vacation in Bangladesh or wherever, publish the leaks. Assange did not protect his source. There may be good arguments for not doing so. But I wouldn’t have risked someone who trusted me that way. And I’m a real lousy selfish jerk.

      • I still admire Assange. And what the US government is doing to him (and Snowden and especially Manning) is unacceptable.

        • Nothing Assange has done is treasonous. There’s no way he should be locked in an embassy. But he’s not the hero Manning is.

          • Well, it isn’t about treason, anyway. Assange isn’t a US citizen. But it is clear this case against him is US instigated for the purpose getting their hands on him. It’s disgusting. It makes me ashamed as an American.

  2. It is time to retire this bulls**t “Town Hall” format. If it was candidates having discussions with voters, that might be useful. This is just letting one random fan get to read the next question. It’s pointless. And it really tripped Hillary up. Rather than getting under Trump’s skin, which she clearly knows how to do, she looked like she was lecturing irritatedly to the audience. And Trump hovering behind her was a masterful visual. It suggested a violent monster barely under control, which is what his supporters love. To get rattled by a woman, that destroys his mystique. To look like a lurking serial killer, that’s the strongman.

    This had nothing to do with “undecided” voters. It was all about Trump rerallying his troops and Hillary morivating more turnout. He succeeded, she failed. Thank God the election isn’t this week, because turnout would be historically low. This was the Hillary I was terrified of during the primaries; the one whose “nerdier than you” angle would destroy any serious GOP opponent, but not Trump. He doesn’t need to seem serious. He needs to seem like a successful fascist. And last night he did.

    • That’s for sure. It seemed to be a good cross-section of decided voters, however.

      According to the only poll I’ve seen, people thought Clinton did well in talking to the audience. Trump did poorly. I think those of us who follow politics too closely can miss things. But one thing that was obvious was how Trump handled the Islamophobia question by going into an Islamophobic rant. Clinton didn’t do great, but she did engage with the audience. Trump, as always, made everything about himself. I think we might also have ridiculously high expectations of Clinton at this point. If she’s only good, we are disappointed.

      • The bar being set too high is probably true. We want her to crush him without seeming petty, prove her expertise without getting too wonky for Idiot America. But I do think a less formal interaction with voters would suit her better. By all accounts, she good at that. Maybe let each candidate debate the voters on points, like a call-in show with better guests? It’d be hard to set up, though.

        • Yeah. Looking back, I really wanted a knockout. In the end, I think she won by the points. And that’s fine.

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