The Desolation of Smaug

The first 2016 presidential debate was like watching a political role-play of Greedo shaking down Han Solo in the Mos Eisley Cantina. By the end of the night, Clinton walked away tossing a coin to moderator Lester Holt saying “Sorry about the mess.”

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Credit: David Goldman/AP

Democratic strategists concerned a restrained Donald Trump would take the stage at Hofstra University, quickly had their fears elevated seventeen minutes into last week’s debate.

The former The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actor would turn mansplaining into an art form as he interrupted Clinton 51 times throughout the debate’s 90 minute runtime.

Varying on the pundit, Trump is credited with a good debate performance for the first twenty minutes when discussing jobs and the economy. However, nearly all of the points he made during that time were factually inaccurate.

Trump painted a bleak picture of jobs leaving the country in droves, specifically citing Ford building a new plant in Mexico. Except Ford CEO Mark Fields has previously stated this new plant would not cost a single American job.

“They’re all leaving,” Trump described the job situation in Michigan and Ohio… both of which happen to have lower unemployment rates than the national rate of 4.9%.

Trump would go on to call NAFTA “the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere.” The non-partisan Congressional Research Service found the overall effect on the U.S. of the North American Free Trade Agreement to be “relatively modest.” Keep cluck’n, Chicken Little.

Throughout the night, Clinton successfully baited (with little effort) Trump into incredibly odd tangents that strayed further and further away from the subject at hand.

While discussing economic policies, Clinton directed the debate audience to her campaign website for a live fact check on her opponent; which inspired one of Trump’s most bizarre attacks:

“I think I should – you go to her website, she’s going to raise taxes 1.3 trillion dollars and look at her website. You know what, it’s no different than this. She’s telling us how to fight ISIS. Just go to her website. She tells you how to fight ISIS on her website. I don’t think General Douglas MacArthur would like that too much.”

General MacArthur fought in both World Wars and was eventually fired by President Harry Truman for insubordination during the Korean War. I don’t get the connection either.

One thing quickly became clear: Trump should reconsider how much he is paying the schoolyard bully who writes his retorts… especially when it comes to the recent DNC hacking:

“I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It could also be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?”

Is Regina George writing this shit?

aaaa-regina

Credit: Paramount Pictures

According to a recent article appearing in Time, the U.S. intelligence community had debriefed Trump with “high confidence” that Russia was behind the DNC hack prior to the debate. I wonder if Putin has a collar picked out for Trump yet. The red one is so fetch, Donald!

Trump is the self-destructing tape from the Mission: Impossible series on a never-ending loop of self-destruction. And Clinton knew she just had to press play.

When Clinton discussed the possibilities as to why Trump refuses to release his tax returns to the public (Clinton has released 39 years worth), she mentioned he may have “paid nothing in federal taxes.”

Trump’s smug reply: “That makes me smart.”

Possibly the dumbest thing he could have said, for multiple reasons.

First, it opened Trump up to a negative pummeling; which Clinton wasted no time in dishing out:

“If you have paid zero, that means zero for troops, zero for vets, zero for schools or health.”

Second, Clinton was initially referencing two years of Trump’s available taxes (1978 and 1979) which Trump paid nothing. If Trump were a smarter man (or simply more prepared), he would have countered to the three years (1975, 1976 and 1977) he actually did pay taxes.

The New York Times would report on Saturday Trump likely hasn’t paid taxes in nearly two decades.

Supporters of Trump often cite his record as a businessman for his qualifications for the White House. The first debate featured an exchange that encapsulates why you don’t want a businessman in the White House:

Clinton: “Donald was one of the people who rooted for the housing crisis. He said, back in 2006, ‘Gee, I hope if does collapse, because then I can go in and buy some and make some money.’ Well, it did collapse -“

Trump: “That’s called business, by the way.”

Clinton: “Nine million people – nine million people lost their jobs. Five million people lost their homes. And $13 trillion in family wealth was wiped out.”

I like a bit more empathy in my Commander in Chief. Which brings us to the subject that crippled Trump: race.

On the issue of bridging the racial divide, Trump uses his time to advocate for the Stop-and-Frisk policy to be implemented in Chicago… the same policy a New York judge ruled was unconstitutional for disproportionately targeting people of color and conducting searches without probable cause in 2013.

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Credit: Yahoo! News

Trump claims the policy worked “very well in New York.” According to Judge Shira Scheindlin’s opinion for the court, it went about as well for minorities as this debate went for Trump.

Judge Scheindlin notes the following:

  • 
Between 2004 and 2012 there were 4.4 million stops by the NYPD.
  • 

Of the 4.4 million stops, 52% were black. 31% were Hispanic. 10% were white.
  • 

In 2010, blacks were 23% of the city’s population. 29% Hispanic. 33% white.
  • Weapons were seized in 1.0% during stops of blacks. 1.1% of stops of Hispanics. 1.4% of stops of whites.
  • Contraband other than weapons was seized 1.8% of the stops involving blacks. 1.7% of stops of Hispanics. 2.3% of the stops of whites.

While Trump advocated a flawed policy, Clinton spoke for her criminal justice reform proposal that targets the issue of bias found in programs like Stop-and-Frisk:

“I think implicit bias is a problem for everyone, not just police… I have said in my first budget to help us deal with implicit bias by re-training a lot of our police officers. I’ve met with a group of very distinguished, experienced police chiefs a few weeks ago. They admit it’s an issue. They’ve got a lot of concerns.”

Clinton has committed $1 billion to new training for law enforcement under her criminal justice reform proposal.

For five years, Trump built his support by elevating the racist birther conspiracy theory to the mainstream.

As soon as the subject comes up, Trump blatantly avoids answering the multiple times Lester Holt asks why he finally acknowledged recently President Obama was an American born citizen. Instead, Trump congratulates himself on “a great job and great service” for getting Obama to produce his birth certificate in what I found to be the night’s most disgusting moment.

If race brought Trump to the ground, the night’s second to last question concerning previous comments Trump made of Clinton’s appearance would become a Robert De Niro Goodfellas-worthy foot stomp to the face.

Trump embarrassingly avoids the question, but Clinton doesn’t. Citing previous negative statements made by Trump, Clinton closes with a punch that would ripple for days:

“…one of the worst things he said was about a woman in a beauty contest, he loves beauty contests, supporting them and hanging around them. And he called this woman Miss Piggy. Then he called her Miss Housekeeping because she was Latina. Donald, she has a name.”

Trump’s odd response of “Where did you find it?” is reminiscent of the moment in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 when Freddy Krueger senses John Saxon found his bag of bones.

The woman Clinton referenced is former Miss Universe winner, Alicia Machado. Shortly after the debate, the Clinton campaign released a Spanish-language television ad featuring Machado discussing her experience working with Trump (surprise: it wasn’t a good one).

In the days following the debate, Trump would strangely focus his energy on attacking Machado rather than Clinton. Including a 3:20 am tweet on Friday morning, suggesting to his followers to “check out” a (non-existent) sex tape featuring Machado.

This creeper tweeter is the GOP 2016 presidential candidate… and he could win.

While the debate showcased all the ways Trump isn’t equipped for POTUS, it showed us all the reasons why Hillary is.

Clinton remains calm under pressure. She’s empathetic to others. She’s incredibly intelligent and has a firm grasp on foreign and domestic policy.

Hillary Clinton never once tweeted a sex tape recommendation or told Kevin McCallister where the Plaza Hotel lobby was. Instead, she initiated the sanctions against Iran that would lead to the nuclear deal. She advocated for government programs for the ground zero workers of 9/11. She worked on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) which covers over 8 million children.

Trump panders to the worst of what our nation could be. Clinton’s very candidacy is a sign of our continuing progress of change.

Let’s continue to move forward.

Campaign 2016 Debate

Credit: Julio Cortez/AP

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