The FOX News debate moderators annihilated Donald Trump last night. They highlighted huge problems with his budget plan, showed inconsistencies in his policies, and hammered him for his Trump University “scam” as some would call it. It was Trump’s first bad debate night.
And when I say FOX annihilated Trump, I mean they guaranteed a Trump landslide. People don’t like the establishment, in case you haven’t heard.
We’re past the question of whether our politicians are lying to us. That’s a given. The system forces them to lie to get elected. I’m not sure the voters care at this point.
A good way to judge the persuasiveness of these debates is to sleep on them and see what sticks in your mind in the morning. The few moments that you remember are the things that matter. The rest of your memories got flushed while you slept. So Here’s what I recall from last night.
1. Trump’s penis is more than adequate, he says.
2. Trump’s immigration plans are his first offer, subject to negotiation, as I have been telling you for months. (Because all things are subject to negotiation.)
3. Trump has no good defense for the Trump University “scam” accusation. But voters probably don’t care. They heard it was a contested legal situation – a boring one – and that was probably enough for people to ignore it.
4. Trump’s budget plans are ridiculous, just like the other candidates’ plans. But voters probably know that already. No one believes a budget plan from a candidate.
5. Trump looked sweaty and flustered at one point. That’s the first we have seen it. But he still came off as powerful in general.
6. Rubio, Cruz, and Kasich were also on stage. I can’t remember if they talked.
7. FOX seemed to be piling on Trump, but that could be the front-runner effect. You expect them to go after the leader and frame questions around the leader’s positions.
Overall, I doubt this debate moved the needle much on the polls. People who watch debates at this point in the election cycle probably made up their minds before they turned on the TV.
If you are wondering how to make a decision in light of the fact that all the candidates appear to be either deeply flawed or toothless, I’m here to help. I suggest you use this simple trick: Assume all the accusations about everyone are 100% true. Then vote.
For example, assume Donald Trump has changed positions on some things and plans to negotiate on other things. Assume he has a ridiculous budget plan. Assume he has insufficient policy details. Assume his taxes have some ugly surprises and that Trump University seemed a scam to its students. Assume he has several notable business failures. Assume he has offensive thoughts about women and minorities and he will say more offensive things in the future. Assume he is a narcissist too. Assume all of it to be true.
But also remember that Trump has never offered himself to be the country’s role model. And I don’t believe anyone is questioning his patriotism or love of country. As far as I can tell, Trump is treating this more like an extended job interview. He’s offering to put his talent for persuasion (which you might call his flaw of being full of shit) in the service of the country.
A Trump presidency would be messy. It would certainly introduce a new type of risk that we have not seen before.
Do you want more risk?
Generally speaking, you want to avoid risk when things are going well and accept risk when things are totally broken. If you think the country is doing well, and will continue to do so, Hillary Clinton is an excellent choice on the left, as is Marco Rubio on the right. They will keep things mostly the same.
But if you think government is rigged against your interests, and unlikely to improve on its own, you want a bloodless revolution. And the candidate you hire for the revolution is likely to have rough edges.
Here I remind you that I’m not endorsing Trump or anyone else. In fact, I disavowed Trump exactly because of the rough edges. I don’t want to be in the splatter zone with any of the accusations I mentioned.