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The Trump-Clinton Debate

That’s it. Trump blew this thing, in my view. Hillary caught her stride about a half-hour in, and showed herself to be presidential. He came off as extremely unprepared. I cannot believe Trump helped himself tonight, though for all I know, the voters loved him. Hillary didn’t have a big win, but she did win, and I believe that she stopped the bleeding for her campaign.

I know that everybody has a different standard for Trump, but if Trump ends up judged the winner of this debate in the polls, I don’t know what to say anymore. There is no way Donald Trump is ready to be President of the United States. No way. And I don’t believe many undecided voters changed their mind to vote for Trump based on his performance tonight.

Your thoughts?

UPDATE: This:

UPDATE.2: The only positive reason Hillary Clinton gave tonight for voting for her is that she’s not Donald Trump. That’s not nothing! But when I think about what any of the other GOP presidential contenders could have done against her tonight, and what a Clinton presidency will mean for the country, and for the Supreme Court, I … despair.

UPDATE.3: Yes, Lord, yes, it is. With a stake through its heart and a garlic necklace. Ain’t nothin’ left for us religious conservatives but the Benedict Option.

UPDATE.4: Reader Alex, on Trump’s uncanny ability to undermine his own campaign with petty self-obsession:

He called into Fox & Friends this morning and seemed particularly upset that Clinton had mentioned that he had called a pageant winner “Miss Piggy”. Trump’s defense: “She gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem. We had a real problem. Not only that, her attitude.” That’s the *next morning*! It’s hours after the debate is over and his big take-away isn’t about trade or immigration or Benghazi, it’s about fighting for the right to call out fat b*tches for being fat and b*tchy.

The Republicans are losing the college-educated, white female vote for the first time since JFK, and stuff like this really isn’t going to turn that around.

What bothers me about Trump more than that he’s a misogynist pig is that he’s so stupid as to think that this stuff matters. Here’s a man who has a real shot at becoming president, but six weeks before the election, he’s calling a national TV show to talk about this crap, even though there’s nothing he can say that makes him look good. His sense of reality is crackpot, and his lack of self-discipline staggering.

191 Comments (Open | Close)

191 Comments To "The Trump-Clinton Debate"

#1 Comment By Viking LS On September 27, 2016 @ 12:54 pm

I am going to say this before I read Adam’s take on this. I don’t think that Trump was trying to win the debate. I think he was trying to change the narrative and he was trying to appeal to swing state voters. The people in the states he needs are in exactly the situations that he kept talking about and are the ones most likely to be frustrated about the idea of going further into debt while our infrastructure crumbles and that our NATO allies and other clients persist in depending on the USA to protect them despite in many cases being wealthy enough to defend themselves, or as in NATO, meet their treaty obligations.

(Don’t bother trying to debate me about that, I’m saying that’s HIS point)

I think he’s also trying to change the narrative to suggest that it’s Clinton who’s the mean one, thus his repeated complaint that she’s spent millions of dollars on attack ads on him, while he hasn’t done the same to her. That’s also why he said he considered saying something about her family, but refrained despite all the things she’s said about him.

Now you may be thinking, “that’s ridiculous, everybody knows how nasty he is” and if you are, you’re missing the point.

If she keeps running the attack ads people who already dislike Trump will nod along, people who either like him, or dislike her even more (I’m in the latter camp) will ignore it, but he needs the people who are wavering to, instead of taking in her message, to see that as “there she goes running attack ads again”.

That’s also why “it was bad experience” was an important line. When she brings up her experience he wants people to associate it now with failure. (Clinton has been doing the same thing with his business experience for months)

Both of them seemed to be trying to get everyone of their stock arguments into this debate, and I think Trump was taking the opportunity to rebut as many of hers as he could, which is one reason why he wouldn’t shut up.

Of course I could be wrong, and it all could be just as random as some of you think it is, but there’s a point at which “he’s not capable of long term thought” seems like sticking your head in the sand.

Again I’m not saying he won the debate, I’m not saying that I think he will succeed. I just think this is what he was doing.

Clinton for her part was trying to look strong and capable, and to show she wasn’t going to take any crap. I think she succeeded, but I can’t tell that she was concerned about actual content at all.

I don’t know how this election will end, but I doubt this debate is going to settle it.

#2 Comment By Cecil On September 27, 2016 @ 12:55 pm

Scott Adams has been trolling Trump supporters for over a year now.

#3 Comment By Hal Espen On September 27, 2016 @ 12:59 pm

In Update 4, your reader Alex is dead wrong when he writes, “Republicans are losing the college-educated, white female vote for the first time since JFK.” In fact, college-educated white women “are consistently the best group for Democrats (who have carried them in four of the past six presidential elections and essentially tied among them in a fifth),” per Ronald Brownstein. Potentially worse for Trump are trends indicating that “it’s possible that college-educated white women will comprise the largest single block of white voters in 2016.”

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#4 Comment By George On September 27, 2016 @ 1:02 pm

Just checked the Time magazine poll. 55% to 45% said Trump won the debate out of 1.8 million votes cast. Trump won the debate with the public.

[NFR: As has been pointed out, online “opt-in” polls are meaningless. — RD]

#5 Comment By Cecil On September 27, 2016 @ 1:06 pm

The “Trump is a con artist who has only been seeking publicity” claim does not square with the reality that this presidential run is likely to do extreme damage to his personal business interests. Only the affluent who generally oppose Trump can afford his expensive properties. It makes no sense he would risk severe damage for no reason.

I think the one definitely sincere aspect of Donald Trump is that he really does care about the victims of the oligarchy’s trade deals and the push for globalization. It’s too bad he didn’t prepare more. It’s interesting and in some ways contradictory to Trump’s tendencies because if Trump is such a narcissist you would think he would want to do everything possible to win. By winning, he could write his name into history by changing the trajectory of the United States and possibly the world.

I think Trump is ultimately just what he appears to be, a entertainer-business man hybrid with no political skills or clear political principles but who is working with powerful issues and who is on the right side of many of them. If Trump wasn’t right about many things, he never would have gotten this far.

#6 Comment By allaround On September 27, 2016 @ 1:55 pm

“What he [Trump] was talking about was multilateral action by NATO against ISIS–burden sharing with our NATO allies.”

That is already occurring:

“Present at all three meetings were the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Turkey, and Denmark. The coalition of 5 September (10 countries) decided to support anti-ISIL forces in Iraq and Syria. The coalition of 15 September (26 countries) decided to support the Iraqi government militarily.”

It’s almost as if Trump and his supporters just aren’t paying attention. Or, maybe this another example of Trump just wanting to do what is already occurring “with more energy.” In any event, it is clear that Trump has no substantive plan for anything and only intends to throw insults and spread blame.

#7 Comment By Susan D. On September 27, 2016 @ 2:07 pm

This debate has hardened my resolve to write in the American Solidarity Party candidates, Mike Maturen and Juan Munoz. I genuinely support ASP, but I’d encourage voting for a third party candidate regardless – it is the only way to register a vote against both Clinton and Trump.

#8 Comment By Noah172 On September 27, 2016 @ 2:36 pm

JonF wrote:

Has Scott Adams ever said a negative or pessimistic thing about Trump or his campaign?

Yes. Adams has a blog and a Twitter account, and YouTube has some of his Trump commentary, so go see for yourself.

#9 Comment By Joe the Plutocrat On September 27, 2016 @ 2:46 pm

take your pick, Einstein’s definition of insanity, or Capt. Renult’s “shock” to learn there is “gambling at Rick’s”. Trump’s appeal to some, as well as the media has always lied in his “anti-establishment” “no time to be politically correct” carny barker approach. his campaign has never been about policy (economic, foreign, or otherwise) or even “making America Great”. in many ways, it’s just a typical form over substance campaign. he’s merely “learned” (by accident or plan) bigotry, misogyny, vulgarity, “play in Peoria”. really, does this surprise anyone?

#10 Comment By Noah172 On September 27, 2016 @ 2:55 pm

Haven’t had a chance to read all the comments here.

Re: Trump’s (lack of) preparation

I think Trump’s people prepared for this debate, and tried to prepare him. I don’t believe that Kellyanne Conway, Stephen Bannon, Ivanka, Rudy, Newt, Priebus, et. al wanted to see the performance we saw. Trump brought the stream-of-consciousness style from his rallies — which seems to be successful in that format — to the debate, where it falls flat, rather than, like Clinton and any other conventional candidate, spitting out memorized, clear responses to the expected questions and attacks, which would have cornered Clinton on her biggest vulnerabilities and reassured those whom Trump needed to reassure.

That said, let’s look at each candidate’s weak spots demographically. With Trump, it’s educated white women (he doesn’t need to win them, just not lose by >15-20). With Clinton, it’s low enthusiasm with blacks, Hispanics, and most of all young white Bernie fans. Trump definitely didn’t help himself with his weak group, although let’s give it a few days of polling to see if he lost any further support among them. Clinton probably shored up the blacks a little, but otherwise I don’t see how her performance, technically better than Trump’s, excited apathetic Hispanics and young whites who don’t like or trust her, and are flirting with Johnson/Stein or abstention.

My weakness in analyzing these things, and it’s a weakness shared by political junkies and strongly decided citizens (meaning, among others, almost everyone commenting on this blog post), is that we don’t have the minds of people who don’t follow campaign news and issue substance as much as we do, and don’t have strong ideological priors the way we do.

#11 Comment By George On September 27, 2016 @ 3:01 pm

@allaround I meant real multilateral NATO action and burden sharing, not symbolic statements of support and token commitments by our socalled allies.

#12 Comment By Brendan Sexton On September 27, 2016 @ 3:02 pm

allaround says “It’s almost as if Trump and his supporters just aren’t paying attention. Or, maybe this another example of Trump just wanting to do what is already occurring “with more energy.”
But what it is, I think, is that Trump AND a depressingly large fraction of his supporters just imagine what reality they think should be, or must be, or they heard once would be, and respond accordingly, They don’t think they have actually to LEARN anything about anything (he certainly doesn’t believe so), once their opinion is formed–on the basis of something heard on the internet or whatever–well, that’s it. They will run with that. Anything from another point of view is hostile, hillary-brainwashed-libtard unAmerican blah blah. Or worse, might cause them to actually think. This is very uncomfortable, especially if your mental muscles are not used to it.
So no, they certainly are not paying attention.

#13 Comment By Joshua B On September 27, 2016 @ 3:05 pm

In response to Update.3, the themes of the debate were “Achieving Prosperity,” “Securing America” and “America’s Direction,” so there wasn’t much room for those discussions.

Trump’s belief that shooting down an Iranian military ship (mind you for insulting US) would not lead to a war should be reason enough that he is not fit to be President.

#14 Comment By Captain P On September 27, 2016 @ 3:21 pm

Cecil says:
September 27, 2016 at 12:55 pm
Scott Adams has been trolling Trump supporters for over a year now.

———–

Well, when did you first conclude that Trump would win the GOP nomination? I bet it was long after Scott Adams did.

#15 Comment By It’s My Party On September 27, 2016 @ 3:26 pm

I watched them take the stage, at which point I experienced an extraordinary, overwhelming intuition of slime, at which point I stood, said “that’s enough for me”, and left the room. Most of my guests joined me on the terrace within twenty minutes or so. There was a longish interlude of head-shaking silence. Our politics differ widely, but our taste in and expectations of others is similar – we’re friends after all – so there was no real need to speak.

#16 Comment By George On September 27, 2016 @ 3:33 pm

[NFR: As has been pointed out, online “opt-in” polls are meaningless. — RD]

Have to disagree. I understand the skew to such polls, but in the Time poll you had 1.8 million people going to the website to say Trump won 55% to 45% at last count. Other similar online polls like CNBC also have huge numbers of participants and are even more lopsided for Trump. That is not meaningless. Even in a skewed sample, that is a huge number of participants saying Trump won (a good chunk of the nation literarily), and they are saying it in the face of a general media narrative that Clinton won. Even assuming Trump supporters had really skewed all these polls, you would have to acknowledge their incredible motivation in supporting Trump to get here.

[NFR: No, they are statistically meaningless, even though that’s a huge chunk of people. All that tells us is that X number of people who support a particular candidate opted to register that support in an online poll. Think of it like this: if a website wanted to poll all the 200 people who live in your apartment building to see if they preferred Hillary or Trump, and 20 Hillary backers happened to be reading that website and voted for her, but only 5 Trump backers were reading it, and said they supported him, you would be wrong to conclude that 80 percent of the people in the apartment building prefer Clinton to Trump. All you can reasonably conclude is that 80 percent of the people in your building who happened to see that website *and* who chose to register their opinion on the presidential race support Hillary. It gives you no reliable estimate of how many people who live in that building and who are registered voters (and who are likely to vote) intend to go for Hillary, and how many for Trump. — RD]

#17 Comment By MikeCA On September 27, 2016 @ 3:35 pm

artsandcrafts,I remember reading that those that listened to the Nixon Kennedy debate on the radio thought Nixon was the clear winner,while those who watched on tv thought the opposite. I wonder how many others last night had your experience.

#18 Comment By Cecil On September 27, 2016 @ 4:09 pm

Well, when did you first conclude that Trump would win the GOP nomination? I bet it was long after Scott Adams did.

I laughed when I heard Trump announced. But after that initial skepticism, I became certain as 2 + 2 = 4 that Trump was going to take the nomination when I realized he was serious about making immigration restriction a centerpiece of his campaign. That was around August 2015.

If Scott Adams knew it before that, my hat’s off to him. He’s still a troll that a great many Trump supporters should have been reading more skeptically and critically than they have been over the last year. His schtick on this subject is telling Trump supporters what they want to hear so he and his rich liberal friends can share a nice laugh at the perceived dupes.

#19 Comment By The Other Sands On September 27, 2016 @ 6:18 pm

“I am going to say this before I read Adam’s take on this. I don’t think that Trump was trying to win the debate. I think he was trying to change the narrative and he was trying to appeal to swing state voters.”

I think that maybe you and Adams are waaaay overthinking it. If you really want to get into Trump’s head space, you should definitely try to *underthink* things.

#20 Comment By Dale dykes On September 27, 2016 @ 7:36 pm

When has Trump ever debated well ?

When has it ever hurt him ?

#21 Comment By WAB On September 27, 2016 @ 8:52 pm

[Treehugger: …did anyone notice or think notable, toward the end (I think in the exchange over NATO when Trump was making the point that our allies aren’t paying their fair share) Clinton responded by assuring the REST OF THE WORLD that when she’s President they can rely on her word? She actually went on about it and even noted that she bad been talking to world leaders and offering the same assurance. I was really stunned]

Why would you be stunned? Clinton simply made the point that US foreign policy wasn’t a Tony Soprano protection racket, i.e. “nice country you got there, shame if something should happen to it”. And thereby reassured our partners that they could count on us.

That’s not a policy we put up for a referendum.

#22 Comment By Chinese Democracy On September 27, 2016 @ 8:55 pm

Re: [NFR: “A good chunk of what passed for conservative Christianity was really little more than a stalking horse for unsavory racial attitudes.” You cannot back that statement up, I’m betting. — RD]

Most of the “segregation academies” set up in white flight neighborhoods in the South in the 1960s and 1970s were affiliated with conservative Protestant churches. This served the dual purpose of ensuring there was a facility for the school to be located in and to provide the fig leaf that these parents were pulling their kids out of public schools because they wanted them to be educated in a “traditional Christian environment” and not because they didn’t want their kids in a classroom with n*****s. They did not explicitly put “No Coloreds” on any signs or any documents, but compare the student bodies to the demographics of the area and it’s quite obvious what the intent was.

[NFR: You’re right about the existence of segregation academies (alas), but you’re going to have to be a lot more specific to claim that a “good chunk of conservative Christianity” was “really little more” than about racism. — RD]

#23 Comment By W. On September 27, 2016 @ 10:09 pm

I saw a Mike Pence interview this morning. (Although I think Clinton is terrible and I’m a lean-Trump voter at present, I feel obliged to offer this comment.) His spin consisted of using the word “literally” like he was a 16-year-old girl in a cheerleader smack-talk competition. I think Pence is a great guy asked to tackle a very difficult task, and it’s showing.

I watched the first 40 minutes or so of the debate and the tail end. Apparently, I missed the part where Clinton is supposed to have run out ahead with an assist or two to the moderator. But from what I saw, Trump was quasi-presidential (setting aside his probably too-frequent interruptions of “Secretary Clinton”). I do like that there’s now a candidate for president who is willing to talk about “law and order” without apologizing for it. President Obama along with AG Holder and AG Lynch have helped the hate mongers set race relations in the country back 40 years and for this President Obama will go down as one of the principle actors in setting off the new urban crime wave.

The Dems also think that porous borders and unlimited trade deals build up this country. I believe they’re wrong on that point, and very wrong at that. Clinton’s 30-plus years of nothing but self-promotion seeking the so-called “highest office” (pst, it’s really not or at least shouldn’t be) obviously prepared her well for a debate (a format which like the SOTU should fall by the wayside, btw). However, I’d like to see someone elected based on a criteria other than master-debator-in-chief.

Agreed with Mr. Dreher on this point: social conservatism is in hibernation. Might do us Christians good in the long run, really. Let the rich neo-marxist (mostly) atheist “anti-establishment” establishment folks keep running things for a while against the best interests of the rest of us, and then observe as the pendulum swings the other direction (as it always does0. Perhaps not in this lifetime but at least by the time these elitists all colonize Mars and leave the sane people to rebuild society on Earth, whether in the midst of rising ocean tides or not.

Fin.

#24 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On September 27, 2016 @ 11:35 pm

I didn’t watch the debates, because I didn’t expect to see anything worth the time of day. From a quick skim of the print coverage next morning, I have no regrets. Two idiots spending more time punching each other than telling voters what they stand for.

I agree that Trump is in no way qualified to be president, but, I’m glad the race is tightening up. What I want more than anything else is that whoever wins, their nose should be rubbed all through October AND November in the fact that a solid majority really don’t/didn’t want them to be president. I want the Democratic leadership to feel their heart sinking into their boots at what a colossal blunder they made getting behind Hillary. I don’t mean that they should all have backed Bernie Sanders either, there may have been even better candidates, perhaps serving on a school board somewhere in Montana, and I don’t mean that as sarcasm. It would have been worth four years of Cruz to watch those cretins searching in the mud for their missing teeth. But its not worth four years of Trump.

#25 Comment By Noah172 On September 28, 2016 @ 12:00 am

The unscientific online polls are an interesting measure of enthusiasm for candidates among internet users, if obviously not an accurate gauge of sentiment in the general public. In this way they are similar to small online donations. Insofar as online users skew young, and the young skew left, these unscientific polls may indicate that HRC failed to excite skeptical young adults (many of them Bernie fans, one can imagine), with whom scientific polls show HRC lagging relative to Obama.

In short, these impressionistic polls are not meaningless, even if they are measuring something different from what they claim to be on the surface.

#26 Comment By Chinese Democracy On September 28, 2016 @ 12:47 am

“[NFR: You’re right about the existence of segregation academies (alas), but you’re going to have to be a lot more specific to claim that a “good chunk of conservative Christianity” was “really little more” than about racism. — RD]”

The fact that Donald Trump, a man who has never asked God for forgiveness, referred to “Two Corinthians” and tried to put money in a communion plate, beat far more bona fide Christians like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio among Evangelical voters in many Southern states is very telling.

I am not saying all conservative Christians are racist for the same reason I wouldn’t say all Muslims are terrorists. That doesn’t mean a given religious community can’t contain a very nasty group of people for political or cultural reasons not directly related to the religion’s actual doctrines.

In the Bible Belt, there are a lot of what might be called “cultural” Evangelicals, just like there are secular Jews in New York and cultural Catholics in a lot of northern cities. These are people who rarely if ever attend church and hold no strong religious beliefs. Evangelical Christianity is just a component of a grab-bag identity that is part of being a white Southerner. In the Republican Party this year, it is pretty clear that many people who describe themselves as Evangelicals in exit polls and surveys are simply using that as a vehicle for a specific type of white grievance.

#27 Comment By Sean On September 28, 2016 @ 12:50 am

To Noah, George, et al: No, online polls are nothing more than voting contests. People spam online forums, reddit, etc. pleading their fellow travelers to participate.

There is nothing of value to be gleaned from them at all. Ever. Otherwise Ron Paul would be completing his second term now.

#28 Comment By Clint On September 28, 2016 @ 12:55 am

Ted Cruz,
“Tonight, Donald Trump had his strongest debate performance of the election cycle. He drew strong contrasts with Hillary on taxes, regulations, law and order, and the disastrous Iran deal,” <

Trump continues to drive home issues that Champion the interests of American voters, as well as U.S. National Interests.

Trump continues to defy The Washington Establishment and The Corporate Media.

[NFR: Man, you are all in. Don’t you ever doubt your guy, just a little? — RD]

#29 Comment By Eliana On September 28, 2016 @ 1:33 am

This Trump thing seems to have developed into a kind of cult.

Though it looks crazy to outsiders, people keep getting sucked into it, and then walk around in it glassy-eyed and out of touch with reality.

To name but one case in point: Ted Cruz.

And above them all floats the giant, colorfully blimpish figure of the fearless leader, rather like a huge, attention-grabbing balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade.
while cult members gaze upward at it, awestruck, in the manner of children.

And where will it end?

#30 Comment By Clint On September 28, 2016 @ 6:36 am

[NFR: Man, you are all in. Don’t you ever doubt your guy, just a little? — RD]

Actually, We Trump Supporters let other low stamina wimps do The Doubting Thomas Routine, while we’re busy playing four hard quarters and incrementally beating down The Yesterday Clintons and Their Yesterday Washington Establishment and Their Yesterday Corporate Media Fellow Travelers.

Bless Ya for askin’ Rod !

Stay Healthy!

See Ya on November 8th !

#31 Comment By Liam On September 28, 2016 @ 7:59 am

“good chunk of conservative Christianity”

Rod, if I may: I believe there’s an implied but unstated/missing modifier, given the examples provide – *political/politicized* conservative Christianity, which of course =/= conservative Christianity as such (lower-case orthodox conservative Christians might reasonable question how much of that is authentically Christian, but the point is that was an important cluster of political Potemkin villages – the residual evidence of which is easier to see in the rear view mirror).

#32 Comment By VikingLS On September 28, 2016 @ 8:08 am

“I think that maybe you and Adams are waaaay overthinking it. If you really want to get into Trump’s head space, you should definitely try to *underthink* things.”

You all have been saying some version of this all year, and yet now the man’s in striking distance of the presidency.

#33 Comment By VikingLS On September 28, 2016 @ 8:21 am

@WAB

Expecting Allies to come through with the 2% of their GDP they are obligated to spend on defense is NOT running a protection racket.

The way you all are pretending not to understand this is a very damned lie.

#34 Comment By Noah172 On September 28, 2016 @ 8:45 am

Sean,

I wrote clearly that the unscientific polls (not all online polls are unscientific) are not accurate predictors of who will win the election. They are a measure of enthusiasm, of who has the more committed fan base for, among other things, giving small donations, volunteering for campaign tasks (versus paid staff), and talking to friends about their candidate (which can be more persuasive than paid advertising). These particular polls in the last 48 hours also suggest, IMO, Clinton’s continued weakness with the young relative to Obama (a key problem for her).

#35 Comment By Noah172 On September 28, 2016 @ 8:54 am

Chinese Democracy wrote:

The fact that Donald Trump, a man who has never asked God for forgiveness, referred to “Two Corinthians” and tried to put money in a communion plate, beat far more bona fide Christians like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio among Evangelical voters in many Southern states is very telling

This is moronic.

For one, you are saying that evangelicals have to vote for one of their own, irrespective of issue platform or professional record. Must blacks always vote for the black guy, no matter what? Women for the woman? Catholics for the Catholic?

Second, while some of Trump’s Republican opponents could spit out Bible quotes and religious lingo with ease, their issue positions and actions in office weren’t necessarily so Christian. Is the sincere heathen so much worse than the Pharisee Christian? Did not the Lord find more faith in a Roman centurion than in all of Israel?

#36 Comment By Maggie Gallagher On September 28, 2016 @ 10:14 am

If you convince enough people to abandon politics you aren’t going to allowed to have any “monasteries” out there.

#37 Comment By WAB On September 28, 2016 @ 4:35 pm

[VikingSL: Expecting Allies to come through with the 2% of their GDP they are obligated to spend on defense is NOT running a protection racket.

The way you all are pretending not to understand this is a very damned lie.]

Sure it is – if the threat is that we won’t be there if Russian tanks roll through the Fulda Gap unless they pay up – that is exactly how Trump presents it. For him everything is transactional – a deal. We don’t participate in NATO out of the kindness of our heart; we defend Western Europe because it’s in our interest.

#38 Comment By Barry On September 28, 2016 @ 7:49 pm

“[NFR: “A good chunk of what passed for conservative Christianity was really little more than a stalking horse for unsavory racial attitudes.” You cannot back that statement up, I’m betting. — RD]”

Rod, Trump is currently pulling what – 90%? – of the expected votes for a GOP presidential candidate. That has got to include a very large proportion of the Religious Right.

#39 Comment By VikingLS On September 28, 2016 @ 8:06 pm

“Sure it is – if the threat is that we won’t be there if Russian tanks roll through the Fulda Gap unless they pay up – that is exactly how Trump presents it. For him everything is transactional – a deal. We don’t participate in NATO out of the kindness of our heart; we defend Western Europe because it’s in our interest.”

Have you ever taken the time to look at the military capabilities of the EU vs Russia?

Western Europe no longer exists as a poltiical reality. What exists is the EU which has Russia out manned and out gunned. Russia has some forces that are quite impressive, but the idea that Russia is going to successfully invade Europe with their half starved conscripts (and I’ve seen them) and beat the Europeans on their own ground is absurd.

NATO members, many of which are new signatories, agreed to put 2% of their GDP into defense. It’s not unreasonable for us to expect them to keep their promises.

I still think you are lying when you pretend you don’t understand this, but then I usually presume other people are rational actors and are decently well informed.

#40 Comment By artsandcrafts On September 29, 2016 @ 8:45 am

Mike CA, I just saw your comment (if you’re still reading)–that’s interesting. I either hadn’t known it or had forgotten. I guess the television viewers would have thought Nixon did poorly; he was said to have been so ill at ease and uncomfortable-looking. But so few people now listen on radio, we will probably never have a survey like that. Still, I think people would be surprised at how much they would get out of listening, rather than watching.

#41 Comment By Steve from CA On September 29, 2016 @ 7:21 pm

This nice piece by Ezra Klein addresses in more detail Douthat’s contention that Trump “won” the initial segment of the debate:

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