Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Why Hillary won the first round and why she can be sure Trump will come out swinging harder next time – By Piers Morgan

British journalist and television personality, Piers Morgan writes on last night’s US presidential debate between Republic Party’s candidate Donald Trump and Democratic Party’s candidate Hillary Clinton. He titles the article ‘Why Hillary won the first round on points, why it probably won’t do her any good, and why she can be sure Trump will come out swinging harder next time.' Read below;  

'Hillary Clinton won.
No ifs, no buts, she had the better of Donald Trump in last night’s eagerly awaited first presidential TV debate. Yes, I know most online polls had Trump winning, but to believe that is to look at a black sky and say the sun’s out. Clinton stayed cool, calm, collected and rode Trump’s aggression and bombast with skill and good humour.
I wrote yesterday that her best chance of success lay in avoiding either a toe-to-toe slugfest with him or adopting a rope-a-dope defensive tactic.

‘Dance like a butterfly, sting like a bee,’ I suggested, and that’s exactly what she did.
It was the best I’ve seen Clinton perform in any debate and a reminder that she remains a formidable candidate. By contrast I thought Trump, by his own debate standards, was disappointing. If your shtick is to unload big punches, they’ve got to connect. But each time I thought he was about to deliver a knockout pile-driver, he either backed off, switched tack or got distracted.
For a man who has displayed a rare marketing genius in this race for hammering home simple, powerful messages, Trump’s rhetoric was oddly lacking in clarity. He let her off the hook about her biggest vulnerability – the email scandal.
‘I made a mistake,’ she said, trying to head it off at the get go.
To which I expected Trump to reply, ‘No, you did it deliberately to conceal classified material from the American people’ and then go hard after her about the FBI’s damning verdict that she was ‘extremely careless.’ Instead, he rambled for a bit until the debate moved on. She must have been thrilled to emerge completely unscathed.
Incredibly, Trump never even mentioned Hillary’s recent disgraceful ‘basket of deplorables’ slur, the controversy-mired Clinton Foundation, the Benghazi terror attack or her lucrative ties to Wall Street.
All of which have been hugely popular themes at his stump rallies and would have been easy home runs for him both with the audience in the room and the tens of millions watching at home.
It wasn’t all bad for Trump by any means. He was strong in the first half hour, especially on the economy where he won the argument with Clinton. But after that he got bogged down in pointless and time-consuming arguments about Birther-gate and whether or not he ever backed the Iraq War.
Both are beloved by the Trump-hating media but, I suspect, complete non-issues with most Americans compared to hot-button stuff like immigration, terrorism, jobs and Washington corruption. He wasn’t helped by moderator Lester Holt, who I thought was quietly one-sided - directing way more interruptions and follow-ups to Trump than Clinton.
It was an inevitable consequence of all the comically overblown attacks on his NBC colleague Matt Lauer for supposedly going ‘too soft’ on Trump at the Presidential Forum two weeks ago.But was it fair to Trump? No.
Whining about it is futile though, which is why Trump hasn’t really bothered. Far more important for him and his team now is how he now conducts himself in the two remaining debates.I certainly wouldn’t write him off yet as some keen to do.
This, remember, was his first ever one-on-one TV political debate, and overall Trump did a perfectly competent if not compelling job.
* He got through the 90 minutes without making a serious gaffe.
* He demonstrably wasn’t the hideous Hitler-like monster as many in the media have absurdly been trying to caricature him in recent weeks.
* Clinton, for all her artful jabbing and ducking, never landed a killer KO punch that might have depth-charged his whole campaign.
* There was no smoking factual gun, no ferociously sweaty Nixon-esque face, no ‘You’re no Jack Kennedy’ zinger to change the whole complexion of the race.
Trump can therefore dust himself down, comforted by the knowledge that he got beaten on points not had his lights turned out. I suspect he will be very different at the second debate in ten days time. More direct, more brutal, more effective. Let’s remember that Mitt Romney easily won the 1st debate against Barack Obama before the last election. He then got beaten up in the next two and wiped out at the subsequent election.

There’s plenty of time for Trump to sort himself out and work out a new game plan to take Hillary down. But this will have been a big wake-up call for him. Trump doesn’t like losing. Which is why even when he loses, like last night, he defiantly pretends he hasn’t. I admire that resilience, it’s what makes him a strong and very dangerous opponent. In his heart though, when his bedroom door slams shut tonight, Trump will know he lost.
He’ll know that Hillary, under incredible pressure after recent health scares and a sharp narrowing of the polls, showed surprisingly impressive poise, confidence, and debating chops. She was also, as we all expected, chillingly well briefed.
Last time I saw Trump, in Manhattan four months ago, he told me he would ‘never underestimate the Clintons.’ He was right to be wary. Hillary and Bill are two of the most experienced political bruisers in America and for them both, this presidential race is the final ride at the biggest of all rodeos.
I doubt Trump will lose any support after this debate, but I doubt he’ll gain much from the large group of undecideds either. My guess is the polls, many of them currently too close to call, won’t move much at all. But Trump has to raise his game for Debate No2.
If I were advising him, I’d be blunt and to the point: ‘Donald, stop getting side-tracked into messy corners, it’s time to take the gloves off.’
What we didn’t see last night is how Hillary would react to proper punches landing about issues where she has real vulnerability – delivered with surgical precision by a candidate who has spent the past 16 months knocking opponents over like Mike Tyson in a sparring session.
As you always told me on Celebrity Apprentice, Mr Trump: ‘Go hard, or go home.’

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