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by Mish

The moderator was excellent, and both sides received some difficult questions. It was the only well-moderated, fair debate.

I watched the debate on C-Span, but switched to MSNBC for commentary. They held  a funeral for trump.

Opportunities Wasted

Trump could have done better. He missed at least two good opportunities.

There was an excellent report out today by the Tax Foundation that hugely favored Trump. See Tax Foundation Analyzes Tax Plans: 10-Year GDP (Trump +6.9%, Hillary -2.6%), Wage Growth (Trump +5.4%, Hillary -2.1%).

When asked about taxes, Trump could have and should have referred to some of those stats.

When Hillary fired shots about Trump’s use of Chinese steel and other allegations, Trump failed to fire back about Hillary bragging about getting a rape victim off.

The fairest representative version of the story comes from Truth or Fiction: Hillary Clinton Freed a Rapist, Laughed About It.

The story is essentially true, albeit slightly hyped up.

Personally, I could never defend a rapist I knew was guilty, nor prosecute an accused person I thought was innocent. And I could never be a corporate lawyer, having to defend a corporation against lawsuits I believed accurate. But that’s just me.

Regardless, Trump had a chance to taint Hillary’s proclamation that she is a strong women’s right advocate. Trump failed to do so.

Funeral for Trump

With a similar performance in the first debate, Trump may have won easily. Yet, despite the missed opportunities, Trump performed at least OK.

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But you would never know this from the MSNBC obituary.

The only focus of the aftermath discussion was Trump’s answer to the question as to whether or not he would accept the results of the election.

Trump said “I will look at it at the time”.

In a way, Trump made a rationale response. This could come down to one state, as happened with chads in Florida.

Trump could have and should have explained it that way. Instead he created controversy that MSNBC pounced on for the next hour following the debate.

Republicans Pounce

Not only did MSNBC pounce, High Profile Republicans Pounced as well.

Lindsey Graham, Republican senator from South Carolina, issued a statement after the debate saying that he has confidence in democracy and that if Trump loses, it will be because he is a failed candidate.

Jeff Flake, Republican senator from Arizona, said trump’s statement is “beyond the pale.”

Knowing the Unknowable

I do not know if the debate helped or hurt Trump. In fact, no one “knows” much of anything except mathematical facts such as 1+1=2. But the odds are this debate did not possibly help Trump enough to matter.

One person called me a “coward” for making such statements. In my view, a coward is someone who fails to speak what they believe, fearing what others might think or say.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock