(Although I've tried to stay off politics in this blog for awhile, since last night was the first one-on-one debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, I thought I would record my impressions here the night after. For those who come here for my fiction, don't worry, October is going to be horror story month! LOL)
I've made no secret of my "Never Trump" sentiments since this election cycle started over a year ago. This man's appeal to so many is absolutely inexplicable to me. He is the biggest liar in the history of modern politics - every single fact-checking site bears this out. It boggles my mind that so many evangelical Christians regard him as a standard-bearer when his whole life has been lived in direct contrast to the values of the Christian faith. The man is a walking monument to greed, egotism, repeated and admitted adultery, corruption, and general moral turpitude, yet thousands of evangelicals are not only hailing him as a political savior but will savagely attack anyone (myself especially) who points out how morally inconsistent it is for a follower of Christ to support such a person. I can understand the position of some - that he is the (slightly) lesser of two evils, and that they fear the way Hillary Clinton will stack the Supreme Court if she wins. But going whole hog for this wicked man while claiming to be a faithful servant of Christ - that just blows me away!
Neither can I support Hillary Clinton. I am a Reagan Republican and until recently considered myself pretty conservative - although nowadays my brand of Republicanism is considered to be "establishment sellout-ism." But aside from her lengthy record of questionable deals, shady finances, enabling her sexual predator husband, attacking any woman who tries to shed light on his awful behavior, sloppy handling of classified material, working for the greatest foreign policy failure President of my lifetime - well, anyway, aside from all that, she is the candidate of the Democratic Party - the party that champions abortion on demand (a procedure I loathe with every fiber of my being), endless expansion of government, soft-pedaling the threat of Islamic extremism, and willful blindness to our mushrooming national debt. All while promising more and more and more free stuff - free college, free child care, extended maternity leave for men and women, free health care, free birth control - NONE OF WHICH is ever really free. The price is higher taxes, a bigger, more invasive government than ever before, and a citizenry that is more regulated, more cowed, and less free than any previous generation of Americans since slavery was abolished.
All of that is a roundabout way of saying: I have no dog in this fight. At all.
So - what about the debate?
Donald Trump was rude, abrasive, braggadocious (apparently he learned that word specifically so he could deny that it applied to him!), and generally obnoxious. His answers were vague, rambling, and mostly evasive. He ducked question after question while managing to boast of his wealth, his business accomplishments, his negotiating skills, and his ability to avoid paying taxes and relentlessly attacking Clinton on a variety of issues. All told, he was somewhat better than he was in most of the Republican debates, but that's not saying much. It was obvious as the evening went on that Clinton was getting under his skin, needling him, and his attacks became less focused and more prone to hyperbole as the evening went on. My favorite example: "America is being ripped off by every nation on earth!" Really? Every nation? Even Burkina Faso has got it in for us? Say it ain't so, Joe! And of course, that Trump specialty, denying he ever said things he is well documented to have said! (He really did tweet that global warming was a hoax manufactured by China in order to damage American business productivity.)
Trump actually failed to go after Clinton on several key points of vulnerability, despite the fact that he repeatedly interrupted her, rolled his eyes, and made faces while she talked. In short, he didn't have a very good night, but he didn't hurt himself excessively either. Of course, the hard core Trump-heads are going to say he won no matter what, that the debate was rigged, the moderator biased, Hillary was wearing a wire, Donald's mike didn't work, Hillary actually died last month and has been replaced by a Terminator-style android sent from the future to make sure that Muslim liberals take over the world and kill all Christians in America and elsewhere. (OK, that last is an exaggeration. They said she was an intelligent zombie, not an android.)
In short, I don't think the Donald lost any supporters, but I don't think he gained any either. Nothing he said is going to sway any moderates.
What about Hillary? Well, she was more calm, collected, and Presidential than Donald Trump, and she had several zingers. (My favorite: "Well, we all know you live in your own reality, Donald!") Her response to his raising of the "stamina" issue was downright brilliant. But she also sounded smug and condescending at times, she completely avoided mentioning how she might deal with the issue of our crushing national debt, and was just a little bit too pat on many of her answers. In short, she was more coached and more prepared, but perhaps just a bit "overcoached." So I don't think she lost any supporters at all, and may have swayed a few centrists her way. Overall, I have to give her the win, even as, in my mind, I envision how Marco Rubio or any of several sane Republicans might have handed her hat to her in this debate. But, sadly, that ship has sailed.
As for me - I'm writing in my own name on the ballot in December. I'll be able to look myself in the eye after I vote, and I honestly believe I would do a better job than either of these jackwagons!!