A play by play of the first debate.

First of all we already knew from the beginning that this wasn’t going to be a traditional debate. Mr. Holt did a great job of maintaining his composure because I might have been a little hot if they interrupted me like this.

I am not a crook. I like Hillary more and I want her to win. However, I pull no punches. If you want to read a Clinton cheerleading story go elsewhere, because they don’t pay me yet. So here we go down the rabbit hole.

The Opening

“Achieving Prosperity.”

We all know exactly what this question meant. How are you going to make every American rich?

I’ll start with Secretary Clinton:

She wants more “jobs in infrastructure, in advanced manufacturing, innovation and technology, clean, renewable energy, and small business, because most of the new jobs will come from small business. That plan starts with raising the national minimum wage and finally equal pay for women workers.”

Now this sounds just lovely, and prepared. And moderate. Classic Clinton. Everyone wants new jobs, but it’s good to hear it either way. These are the opening statements so we weren’t expecting any punches to come out from jump street. Secretary Clinton is usually and unsurprisingly advocating for equal pay and that has echoed throughout her campaign. However, what is interesting is her plug to the wage raising campaign which she hasn’t been particularly supportive, though a number was conspicuously absent.

Her statements were generally subtle, well-crafted, and perfectly polite if not just a little robotic. So Hillary is going to make poor people less poor (we shall see) and women will be equal to men (again we shall see). Her comments on profit sharing is also an interesting tidbit because the idea of profit sharing is a little socialistic for someone who gets so much crap for being a wall street crony from the far(ther) left.

We also heard a little about family leave from her, which I thought was great. I love paid family leave. We expect for our population to be maintained and it is a part of the culture that people will eventually start families. It’s absurd to me that we should penalize people for doing something that is literally necessary for the survival of the human race. But that of course is my opinion and the subject for a drunken article some years and a P.H.D. in the future.

Finally, how are we going to do it Secretary Clinton?


You want a government that provides all of these wonderful things?

Gotta pay taxes. Implementing a less forgiving model on the more fortunate will enable the U.S. to collect more revenue without necessarily taking from the lower and middle classes. An analysis of her plan is available here. Will her plan accomplish what is claims? Who knows. The tax people say kinda and I can’t do math so that sounds about right.

Now for Mr. Trump

” Our jobs are fleeing the country. They’re going to Mexico. They’re going to many other countries. You look at what China is doing to our country in terms of making our product. They’re devaluing their currency, and there’s nobody in our government to fight them. And we have a very good fight. And we have a winning fight. Because they’re using our country as a piggy bank to rebuild China, and many other countries are doing the same thing.”

Now here Mr. Trump jumps directly out of the gate with some of his usual rhetoric. Things were awesome, now they aren’t. He turns to China as a major economic adversary as a nod to the phrasing that made his base so enamored with him in the first place.

Trump heavily leveraged his business experience and with his plan he will be “be reducing taxes tremendously, from 35 percent to 15 percent for companies, small and big businesses. That’s going to be a job creator like we haven’t seen since Ronald Reagan. It’s going to be a beautiful thing to watch. Those same tax guys analyze his plan here. And they’re giving us the same “meh” that we got from Secretary Clinton’s plan.

Clinton’s tax plan raises revenue for the government while Trump’s does the opposite. I love taxes so #Imwithher, but I know that plenty of people believe that putting money into the hands of the people and not the government is the better method and until we have a definitive answer I think I can safely table this one.

Then it began

Hillary got the chance to respond and immediately attempted to divide Trump from his base by illustrating that his “small” loan from his father was to the tune of 14 million. More than many of his supporters will ever see in their lives. On the other hand, I felt compelled to roll my eyes as Secretary, Clinton tried to play poor. Now she certainly wasn’t part of the super duper rich but her father owned a moderately successful textile business, she wasn’t wearing knockoffs either.

How, specifically, are you going to tell American manufacturers that you have to come back?


Fear is one of Trump’s best weapons. He relies on the industry of the Chinese to carry him through the question. He proposes incentives which ring eerily of a system of nepotism and drives into bashing Mexico. Substantively he is going to renegotiate trade deals. And he is going to tax imports. Yea, I guess.

“Don’t let the jobs leave, but tax them if they do.”

Also this began Trump’s assault of every elected official in the last 30 years who hasn’t fixed these problems.


Hillary starts as any self-respecting politician would and promptly tooted her own horn. What scored a major point for secretary Clinton here is that she revealed that Donald Trump previously said he wanted the Housing Collapse to happen so that he could profit. This is what developed and he did weep the benefits.

Trump’s response was priceless and jaw dropping: “That’s called business, by the way.”

Whoa, let them eat cake.

Hillary then goes on to say that she will take the money from the taxes and use it to create jobs. She also manages to get in what might have been one of the best line’s of the debate.

“I think science is real”

Trump really said that climate change was a Chinese hoax in 2012 but , like, that’s like a decade in political years. Right?

I’m a sucker for clean energy and if Clinton pulls off a deployment of half a billion solar panels, which we shall see, I could die a marginally less bitter man. But Pie in the sky.

Mr. Trump has had his experience with solar energy due to a failed endeavor, but not of jobs. Pointing particularly to the work that has been done in Michigan and Ohio. He also used his most powerful weapon, Clinton’s perceived lack of bragging rights. She has been in public service and there isn’t any one thing that comes to mind where the average American is going to be like “Hillary definitely did that.” He used this to be a particular thorn in her side. Trump also really took the time to criticize NAFTA. he took the time to make up some ground by making the TPP her baby. He brought up the “Gold Standard” language as a jab and then he did something that was politically beautiful and I daresay, brilliant. He tried to make Clinton directly criticize President, Barack Obama.

Is it President Obama’s fault?

I most certainly put down my cheap merlot to give a very enthusiastic golf clap. President Obama is a touchstone for the powerful but illusive black voter. One that Secretary will need if she hopes to slay Mr. Trump in the polls. Then the brilliance ended and we were back.

Tax Return, Emails. We all know the talk. No emails, No Tax return.

After these petty jabs went back and forth one of the most uncomfortable issues was brought up….because they were late (pun): Race.

This is where I believed that Clinton had the biggest opportunity to get the African American youth that she has been looking for. The answers that she gave in the race section did not accomplish that.

Race has been a big issue in this campaign, and one of you is going to have to bridge a very wide and bitter gap. So how do you heal the divide?

“Race remains a significant challenge in our country. Unfortunately, race still determines too much, often determines where people live, determines what kind of education in their public schools they can get, and, yes, it determines how they’re treated in the criminal justice system.”

Hillary masterfully answered this question to raise exactly zero emotions. She in a roundabout way acknowledged that racism is still a major problem. Not quite a resounding “Black Lives Matter”.

She played the middle by immediately appealing to the police demonstrating the tactical savvy that is ultimately her weakness and her strength.

“The gun epidemic is the leading cause of death of young African- American men, more than the next nine causes put together. So we have to do two things, as I said. We have to restore trust. We have to work with the police. We have to make sure they respect the communities and the communities respect them.”

Her tactful middle ground message ended up being a combination of both the “compliance” and “don’t shoot” doctrines. Making something that is both palatable and less than satisfying to both sides of the issue.

We had no such problem with Mr. Trump.

Trump wasted no time going for points with his base and bringing in one of his favorite catch phrases “law and order“.

He cited an endorsement from the Fraternal Order of the Police soon after he expressed his regret for  what is happening in terms of the backlash to the most recent instances of police violence. He advocated for stop and frisk. Which is of course unconstitutional. When questioned about he answered.

“No, you’re wrong. It went before a judge, who was a very against-police judge.”

That’s not how any of this works. Immediately skipped past the racial profiling argument and went to the felons and gang members argument. Chicago shooting. Law and Order. Dallas. Law and Order. The hood is dangerous. I guess those economics just haven’t finished trickling down yet.

Hillary was limp in her response and jumped to mention the black church, because that’s what you do. Right? But she scored a few points.

“We need to have more second chance programs.”

Talk is cheap but if we can enfranchise and decriminalize criminals we might lower recidivism.

“If you’re too dangerous to fly, you are too dangerous to buy a gun. So there are things we can do, and we ought to do it in a bipartisan way.”

I love gun control but that no-fly list is preeeetty imperfect. This worries me even if the possibly resulting unconstitutional profiling is bipartisan.

Then Holt checked his watch and realized he had to go home.

Secretary Clinton, last week, you said we’ve got to do everything possible to improve policing, to go right at implicit bias. Do you believe that police are implicitly biased against black people?


“Lester, I think implicit bias is a problem for everyone, not just police. I think, unfortunately, too many of us in our great country jump to conclusions about each other. And therefore, I think we need all of us to be asking hard questions about, you know, why am I feeling this way?”

Alright Hillary, I’ll let you have this one…ish.

‘But when it comes to policing, since it can have literally fatal consequences, I have said, in my first budget, we would put money into that budget to help us deal with implicit bias by retraining a lot of our police officers.”

Then Mr. Trump got in it with beautiful segue.


“I do want to bring up the fact that you were the one that brought up the words super-predator about young black youth.”

Trump is dangerous, but he didn’t become the nominee for nothing. Second time I gulped down my cheap merlot.

Trump cont.:

“Look, the African-American community has been let down by our politicians. They talk good around election time, like right now, and after the election, they said, see ya later, I’ll see you in four years.”

“The African-American community — because — look, the community within the inner cities has been so badly treated. They’ve been abused and used in order to get votes by Democrat politicians, because that’s what it is. They’ve controlled these communities for up to 100 years.”

This has been true since black people have been voting and because Clinton doesn’t have a particularly strong history with her “super predator” past looming heavy on her level of support within the younger black community this was a lovely political strategy. Trump really tried to whip the black community into a disillusioned frenzy and I’ll be darned if he didn’t have some amazing rhetoric. His staffers are really trying to have jobs after this campaign. But,

To continue on the clown show of a debate, the candidates went on to discuss cyber security; the cause of Isis; discrepancies in the media; the war and “stamina and presidential look.” When it came to substantive policy Clinton appeared to be the most knowledgeable but when it came to criticizing the opponent Donald Trump was the victor.

In conclusion, the debate appeared to be a contest between which candidate can prove the other to be more of the racist, sexist and untrustworthy individual. Neither won by score of a knockout. Unfortunately, the winner will not be determined until November 8, 2016.

Vote in November

Peter Simmons

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