Hempstead, New York
By the end of the weekend, I predict that:
(1) Credible scientific polling will show that more people think that Hillary won the debate than Trump won the debate, probably by a significant to landslide margin
(2) Based off the debate, and again from credible scientific polling, the support needle will move somewhat Trump’s way.
As contradictory as it may seem.
How can we reconcile this paradox?
Easy. With what I have written in this space fairly often, and in other places, and have said to a fair number of people:
Political debating is useless and irrelevant.
That’s because political debates are (DUH) political, not academic nor Aristotelian.
Put the two together, and we learn that winning the debate and winning the politics of the debate are two different things.
As an example, even if the polls show that she won the debate compared to him by a 90-10 margin, him hitting her on NAFTA and trade issues means that he wins the politics off the debate, no matter what else happens in the debate. That’s because the politics of trade issues is important to crucial marginal swing constituencies; they don’t care about birth certificates or Venezuelan hood ornaments or Line 48B on tax returns.
On top of that, the forces which move needles in electoral politics are way more powerful than, and have nothing to do, with these charades mislabeled “debates.”
You may remember, especially if you are or once were a Ted Cruz supporter, that that was my rejoinder to the notion that his supporters peddled here about a year and a half ago (well before Trump announced) that he’d clean up in Republican debates. And I agreed at the time that he would, and as it turned out, he did well in them. If the debates were academic affairs, he would have won them in that way, too, because he already has a shelf full of trophies that he won in academic debates. But it would not have mattered, and as we can see, it didn’t matter. Because Cruz was eloquently debating on behalf of an ideology that is getting less and less relevant to fewer and fewer people.