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2016 First Presidential Debate


65 replies to this topic

#1
Ms. Spam

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Are you guys excited or what?

 

They've been "practicing" and "studying" for this debate.



#2
Jacen123

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I hear that Trump's preparations are debatable.



#3
Poe Dameron

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Are you guys excited or what?

 

Excited isn't the word, but Clinton's bad September makes this definitely meaningful. If you go by the RCP no toss-up map, Trump is in better position now than he has been all year, up to 266 electoral college votes.  Which means that if he banks those states and wins anywhere else other than Maine (where he'd only get the two at-large votes), Trump wins.  Opportunities in Virginia, Colorado, Michigan, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania which are all tough nuts to crack, but surprises happen on election night.  Just a little more wind at his back and avoiding any really dumb moves for the next 40 days and he'll be ahead.

 

Though I rather expect that the "Clinton dominates!" stories have already been written, her planned zingers already leaked to the writers. The Clinton comeback narrative is the next natural evolution and the one the press wants to cover.



#4
Ms. Spam

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Yeah, I looked at a couple of versions of the electoral map. I think it's sad they didn't invite Gary Johnson. Even though he didn't make the points cut it could have helped some of these mainstream candidates build a rhetoric that would drive on the fence voters who are going with Gary make a better choice.



#5
Poe Dameron

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If Johnson had made it onto the debate stage, it might well have completely changed the complexion of the race.

 

I actually think that Trump should be going to bat for Johnson on this.  Johnson's greatest strength is with young voters, and one of the reasons Clinton isn't 50 points ahead like she thinks she should is because Johnson is mitigating the gap between Trump and Clinton in that demographic.

 

But, of course, the debates are more or less controlled by the two parties, so keeping out third parties is rather by design.  I could understand a 10 point threshold, but 15 points is just being prohibitive and protecting the two-party system.



#6
Driver

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I feel like debates are pointless. By the time we get to them people already know when they are voting for. No matter what scandals are churned up or mistakes are made by candidates, we're at the stage where the blinders are on for voters and they aren't going to be swayed.

I already know what's going to happen. Hillary will be professional and not stoop to Trumps bs, but will have her zingers. Her goal will to be the obvious professional choice. Her followers will see and support that, her detractors will say the media is biased and she is all script and lies and seems cold.

Trump will make it into an embarrassing **** show and still not saying anything real. His detractors will eviscerate him and he'll complain about media bias. His supporters will celebrate him for keeping it real and talking like one of us.

...and no one will change their mind.
  • The Kurgan +1 this

#7
Poe Dameron

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I feel like debates are pointless. By the time we get to them people already know when they are voting for. No matter what scandals are churned up or mistakes are made by candidates, we're at the stage where the blinders are on for voters and they aren't going to be swayed.

 

You're 100% correct about the supporters wearing blinders.  Where I think you're wrong is that there are so many people who aren't supporters of either candidate.  The level of unpopularity for both candidates is unprecedented in modern politics.  I'll post a chart at the end that's a little out of date (both candidates have recovered a bit), but which demonstrates just how far outside the norm this is.

 

Because of this, you literally have millions of voters that are highly ambivalent.  One traditionally Republican voter might dislike Trump and decide to stay home.  Another traditionally Democrat voter might dislike Clinton and vote for Johnson.  Something like Trump performing above expectations might make the Republican voter think twice about staying home and reconsider giving Trump a chance.  Trump being a buffoon on stage might scare a Democrat voter to come home to Clinton.  Or a person who's resigned himself to vote for Trump might get knocked back into not voting at all, or even voting for Clinton.  And vice-versa for every scenario.

 

The electorate is very volatile this time around because both candidates would be unelectable against anyone but each other.  Will wayward Democrats get scared of Trump and return to Clinton?  Will holdout Republicans decide that stopping Clinton and preventing the Supreme Court from becoming (more of) a liberal super-legislature bring in votes.  What will be the psychology in the last weekend?  Will there be a surge for Trump that no one sees as Democrats are lured into a false sense of security in a low turnout day?  Will Trump seemingly be ahead and will that cause a bandwagon effect, or cause young voters to abandon Johnson to prevent his election?  What effect will real-time events have (see Charlotte for potential shifts in N. Carolina and Virginia)?  Will the enthusiasm gap make a difference for Trump?  Will the organization and advertising gap make a difference for Clinton?

 

I tend to think that Clinton still has a major advantage.  Politics comes and goes in pulses.  The last month has been good for Trump (and he still isn't ahead), so now it's Clinton's turn to change the story and keep it fresh as we hit October.

 

enten-generaldislike-2.png?quality=90&st



#8
Ms. Spam

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I'm going to hang out at a bar full of liberal artist types and play drinking games. Every time Hillary coughs take a swig. Every blatant lie you don't even need google to fact check from Trump take a drink. 90 minutes of non-stop debating and these geriatric guys can make it without drinking water and looking like they're pissing in their depends undergarments guzzle a beer!



#9
monkeygirl

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I feel like debates are pointless. By the time we get to them people already know when they are voting for. No matter what scandals are churned up or mistakes are made by candidates, we're at the stage where the blinders are on for voters and they aren't going to be swayed.

I already know what's going to happen. Hillary will be professional and not stoop to Trumps bs, but will have her zingers. Her goal will to be the obvious professional choice. Her followers will see and support that, her detractors will say the media is biased and she is all script and lies and seems cold.

Trump will make it into an embarrassing **** show and still not saying anything real. His detractors will eviscerate him and he'll complain about media bias. His supporters will celebrate him for keeping it real and talking like one of us.

...and no one will change their mind.

Yes, but the embarrassing **** show part will be SO entertaining



#10
Darth Krawlie

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Who's got the drinking games ready, I need one

#11
Ms. Spam

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I bought beer for tonight!



#12
Carrie Mathison

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I feel like debates are pointless. By the time we get to them people already know when they are voting for. No matter what scandals are churned up or mistakes are made by candidates, we're at the stage where the blinders are on for voters and they aren't going to be swayed.

I already know what's going to happen. Hillary will be professional and not stoop to Trumps bs, but will have her zingers. Her goal will to be the obvious professional choice. Her followers will see and support that, her detractors will say the media is biased and she is all script and lies and seems cold.

Trump will make it into an embarrassing **** show and still not saying anything real. His detractors will eviscerate him and he'll complain about media bias. His supporters will celebrate him for keeping it real and talking like one of us.

...and no one will change their mind.


Poe's right. The debates are relatively pointless to people that are already strongly on Team Red or Team Blue, but that doesn't mean they're pointless altogether.

Currently it's a close race, somewhere in the vicinity of Clinton +2-4 (depending on what polls you're choosing to consider/ignore), but there are still a chunk of undecided independents, who are persuadable and tune into the election right about now. Depending on what the narrative is following the debate, Clinton will either open up a big lead (if she wins), or it will narrow to a toss-up (if Trump wins).  Or a muddled finish where it's not clear who wins, and the election stays as is, in which case Clinton probably wins because she has the slight advantage and opinions will likely harden and not change through Oct.

But to say it's pointless is not true, in fact, the opposite is true- this first debate will likely be the decisive event in this election- Clinton either wins the election tonight or we drag it out through October. On the flip side, a particularly poor showing by Clinton could actually start the beginning of the end for her, and if that trend line began, we'd probably look back upon tonight as the decisive moment.

So no, not pointless, in fact, probably the most important day of the election.



#13
Ms. Spam

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eh, Reagan's election turned on his last debate with Carter.

 

And pointless? Not quite I'll be blitzed by the time Colbert and Rob Lowe are on.

 

Clinton needs to make her more human and Trump needs to be less emotional but no ones really changing their minds with this debate.



#14
Driver

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I feel like debates are pointless. By the time we get to them people already know when they are voting for. No matter what scandals are churned up or mistakes are made by candidates, we're at the stage where the blinders are on for voters and they aren't going to be swayed.

I already know what's going to happen. Hillary will be professional and not stoop to Trumps bs, but will have her zingers. Her goal will to be the obvious professional choice. Her followers will see and support that, her detractors will say the media is biased and she is all script and lies and seems cold.

Trump will make it into an embarrassing **** show and still not saying anything real. His detractors will eviscerate him and he'll complain about media bias. His supporters will celebrate him for keeping it real and talking like one of us.

...and no one will change their mind.


Poe's right. The debates are relatively pointless to people that are already strongly on Team Red or Team Blue, but that doesn't mean they're pointless altogether.

Currently it's a close race, somewhere in the vicinity of Clinton +2-4 (depending on what polls you're choosing to consider/ignore), but there are still a chunk of undecided independents, who are persuadable and tune into the election right about now. Depending on what the narrative is following the debate, Clinton will either open up a big lead (if she wins), or it will narrow to a toss-up (if Trump wins).  Or a muddled finish where it's not clear who wins, and the election stays as is, in which case Clinton probably wins because she has the slight advantage and opinions will likely harden and not change through Oct.

But to say it's pointless is not true, in fact, the opposite is true- this first debate will likely be the decisive event in this election- Clinton either wins the election tonight or we drag it out through October. On the flip side, a particularly poor showing by Clinton could actually start the beginning of the end for her, and if that trend line began, we'd probably look back upon tonight as the decisive moment.

So no, not pointless, in fact, probably the most important day of the election.

You and Poe point something out that I actively shut from my mind because it's so frustrating-- that there are large amounts of people who don't pay attention to politics at all.
  • monkeygirl +1 this

#15
Carrie Mathison

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eh, Reagan's election turned on his last debate with Carter.

 

And pointless? Not quite I'll be blitzed by the time Colbert and Rob Lowe are on.

 

Clinton needs to make her more human and Trump needs to be less emotional but no ones really changing their minds with this debate.

Same thing I told Tank.

 

Your mind won't be changed by the debate.

 

Millions of others will.



#16
Marc DuQuesne

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So, Hillary is the sure favorite, but can can she cover the spread?

#17
The Kurgan

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Carrie Mathison:

You are in both candidate's "corner", so to speak, like a trainer telling their fighter what they need to do in order to win.

What do you say to Clinton?
What do you say to Trump?

Anyone can answer, of course, but I'm especially curious to get Carrie's perspective.

#18
Carrie Mathison

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I wouldn't say Clinton is the sure favorite Marc.  If the polls were still like they were in August, when Clinton was up 7-8 points, then yeah, she'd be the sure favorite.  But right now, it's basically Clinton +2-4, with some alarming polls for Dems in certain swing states (particularly OH, but Trump is surprisingly strong in a few states that were not supposed to be good fits for him, like CO and NV).

 

If nothing were to happen between today and the election, Clinton would win.  Problem is, there's something of a debate tonight...

 

Again, the debate will be absolutely decisive.  About 18% of the electorate are undecided voters, compared to 6% in 2012.. that's huge.  In addition, most people have only seen snippets of either candidate-- usually just brief clips that are heavily edited by cable news shows to paint a certain picture of a candidate.  Tonight will be the first (and probably last) time viewers will actually bother to sit down and watch an un-media altered, completely edit free, long presentation from the candidates, side by side.  So the debates will be decisive- either no one wins (and Clinton holds on to her narrow advantage through Oct), Clinton wins (in which case, the numbers go back to August and the race is over), or Trump wins (in which case the current trend becomes irreversible and Clinton loses her advantage).  No matter the case though, this will likely be looked back upon as the turning point of the election.  The only other possible ones would be future debates (less likely, since people tend to tune out again after the first one), or some random October surprise like 1972 (not likely).



#19
Marc DuQuesne

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I meant favorite to win the debate. Election is a whole different ball game.

#20
Carrie Mathison

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Carrie Mathison:

You are in both candidate's "corner", so to speak, like a trainer telling their fighter what they need to do in order to win.

What do you say to Clinton?
What do you say to Trump?

Anyone can answer, of course, but I'm especially curious to get Carrie's perspective.

 

Clinton's easy.  She's never going to be the most personable, likeable, charismatic person.  So there's no point in trying to force it, in fact, in could backfire (like Dukakis in the tank).  She already has the reputation of being a phony, so trying to pretend to be folksy is just not the right approach- people will see right through that.  Also, playing the identity politics card is not advisable- minorities are already voting like 80-90% for Clinton anyway (depending on minority), and they're not changing their vote no matter what.  Clinton needs to shore up millennials that were Bernie fans (many of these voters tended to be less crazy about the SJW stuff), and suburban whites.

 

All she needs to do is play to her strengths- stick to policy, appear more knowledgeable on the issues, keep the answers short and avoid coming off as lecturing or too academic and wonkish.  Avoid being baited into an insult war.  That's really all she needs to do- she won't gain much from this approach, but she won't lose much either, and that's all Clinton needs right now since she's the frontrunner.

 

 

Trump is harder.  There a lot of different ways he could play this, and I'm not sure what would work best.  Some are more high risk-high reward, others are the safer play.  If he tries to just imitate generic Republicans of the past and be milquetoast, Romney style.. well, he won't lose much, but he won't gain anything either, and Trump needs something to fall his way to move the needle.  The problem with being the nice guy is it doesn't work when you're the guy that needs to make up points and drag the other guy down- a lesson Bernie never learned until it was too late.  Of course, if Trump comes off as too out there, then he's just feeding into the worst impressions people already have of him.  I guess my suggestion to him would be to not abandon the showman, in your face demeanor- it's what got him here, after all.  Trump is naturally better than Clinton with the TV cameras and he knows what sells, and he shouldn't try to discard that in favor of some silly notion of being "presidential" (people don't care about "presidential," they care about entertainment).  On the other hand, he has to walk the fine line and not get off message- that's been when he's lost the most in the polls.. not because he's been too bombastic, but because he gets off message with things people don't care about.  If he stays true to the showman persona, while being very disciplined about not going off on tangents, but sticking to his issues where he has the advantage (immigration, trade, and Iraq), then he's got the potential to win big. 



#21
Carrie Mathison

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I meant favorite to win the debate. Election is a whole different ball game.

I wouldn't say that either.

 

To use a sports analogy, Clinton is like that team that has a solid enough offense that you know they'll put up at least X number of points, but it won't be very exciting and none of their players are the super star, hall of fame type.

 

Trump is the team that puts up six touchdowns against the best team one week, and then loses the next week by 60 points to the worst team in the league.

 

Clinton may be the favorite in this matchup, but who knows what will happen.



#22
Marc DuQuesne

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I see that to a certain extent.

 

I look at it more like an FBS team playing a home game against an FCS opponent. The FBS team is supposed to be better coached, better prepared, and have more talent. The FCS team is probably going to have to run some trick plays (doubt Trump runs the Statue of Liberty though) and get some turnovers to have a shot. Appalachian State can beat Michigan, but they aren't supposed to, and if you bet on Michigan to cover the spread and they only win by a field goal you probably lost some money.

 

Clinton has been a politician on the national (really global) stage since the early 90s. She has a well oiled campaign team that has been together for years. She is supposed to win a policy debate easily. Nobody knows whether or not she means the words that come out of her mouth. They better at least be the right words.



#23
Poe Dameron

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Who knows?  For as many debates as Trump participated in during the primaries, he spent most of his time standing around waiting.  This will be his first one-on-one debate.

 

If Trump has a key to success, it would be just to keep hammering home his basic populism theme while doing his best to trip up Clinton by making her chase some rabbits.  He's getting prep from Christie and Giuliani, so I wouldn't be surprised if that's the strategy.  Try to control the broad message of the debate like it's one of his rallies while Clinton gets bogged down in nuance.



#24
Carrie Mathison

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Exactly.  Clinton is going to have to fight her natural tendency to treat this as a Senate Committee hearing or something like that, being aired on CSPAN.

 

That is not this.  This is for the masses.  This has only a tangential relationship with public policy.  It's entertainment.  The worst thing Clinton can do (besides trying to go insult-for-insult with Trump, or something sorta unlikely, like collapsing from pneumonia) is to come off as the lecturing, academic type that gets too wrapped around the axle with minor points that your average American doesn't care about.

 

It's about having memorable sound bites and controlling the general theme of the debate.  Not some random nuance that nobody understands outside of DC.



#25
Marc DuQuesne

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If only debates weren't so subjective. A fight to death would leave much less to interpretation. With the negatives as high as they are for both candidates there is no better time, if we have to see one of them be President we should at least get to watch the other one die.





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