In 2012, Mitt Romney was favored to win the election for a brief period of time. In the first debate he had with President Obama, Romney came out strong while the President was sluggish and uninspiring. For a couple of weeks, the President seemed vulnerable. He recovered for the next debates, performed sufficiently well, and easily won the election.
This demonstrated one thing: debates sway voters. In an atmosphere where the majority of voters are not armed with hard facts before voting, how they represent themselves on the debate stage is the deciding factor for a large portion of the population.
The first Democratic debate was the best performance Hillary Clinton has ever had on any stage. She was engaging to liberals and opened some eyes among interested independents. While we’ll try our best to find the weak points to attack, the writing on the wall is telling us that this is a Hillary Clinton that we haven’t seen much of in the past: prepared, comfortable, and even inspiring at times.
It hurts me to use those words when describing her, but complacency is not acceptable.
If Joe Biden doesn’t run, the Democratic nomination may be easier for her to win than expected. That means she’ll have time to accumulate a humongous war chest while the Republicans fight each other for months. It also means She’ll be able to hit the general election campaign trail earlier, focusing on crucial swing states while the Republicans are forced to focus on mid- to late-cycle primary states.
These facts, when viewed in light of her performance, demonstrate a paramount necessity for the Republican nominee to be a masterful debater. I’m sorry to say that it’s not Donald Trump. Straight talk works fine in interviews. It can come across as clumsy on a shared stage with a single opponent. His antics play pretty well in the primary debates but they’ll be disastrous one-on-one.
It’s definitely not Jeb Bush. Of the five or six at the top of the pack, he’s the least inspiring.
Whoever the nominee is, they have to be able to rattle her without getting rattled themselves. The Republican nominee has to be methodical, passionate, and able to counter Clinton’s camera engagement with heartfelt sincerity.
Overall, Hillary Clinton is still a weak candidate. She has plenty of skeletons in her closet and a track record of incompetence. It’s not the smart voters that I’m worried about her swaying. It’s the dumb ones who will know little about the candidates other than what they see in the debates. Unfortunately those people are the ones who decide elections. They’re the people who gave us eight years of President Obama.