Donald Trump did it. He did just enough bullshit artistry tonight to show he can focus, to show he can make a salient point. To prove he can stay on topic. Of course, at the end he got a little catty. And yeah, he argues like I do when I’m feeling petty. But here’s why he did exactly what he needed to win.
- There’s a huge percentage of fence republicans who just needed Trump to show up once to one of these things. He did just enough tonight to convince this contingent. I have no doubt of this.
- He came across as honest to people who believe his shit, even when he was flat out lying
- He was actually complimentary and honest about Clinton a few times, and even went so far as to not blame her for some of the problems while still admitting it needed fixed
- He was very subdued and succinct in the first 20-30 minutes
- He won or drew on several questions during the debate. Rational democrats and honest republicans will re-read those comments tomorrow and realize they are pretty hollow, but a lot of people won’t re-read, and it was enough to sway fence republicans
- Most republicans think Trump will allow Pence to run the country day-to-day (he said so himself three months ago) and so they really feel like they are voting for Pence.
- He said exactly the answers he needed to resonate with republican voters. He wasn’t debating Hillary. He had a 60 minute advertisement for why he’ll be ‘okay’.
- Like it or not, more than any other time he provided clear delineation between him and Hillary
- Trump has been playing us the whole time. The guy is a shitty business man and a shitty person, but he’s a fucking Rembrandt at PR. He had this on full display tonight. Even I was buying into some of his bullshit.Even when I knew it was bullshit, he cast enough doubt on Hillary and said just enough things that I started to waffle a little.And she really fucked up a couple questions, especially pay for play.
All he has to do is give enough republicans the seed of an idea that he can function as an adult for more than ten minutes at a time and assure them Pence and a republican congress will run the day to day. If he comes out of the gate swinging with this message, he could actually win.
Because democrats are closer to libertarians and because republicans are so black and white on issues like abortion, his words spoke to them tonight on a profound level. Do not underestimate the power of his PR machine. Expect a different tenor in the final days of the campaign.
And don’t underestimate the power old people who will probably die before whoever is elected finishes their term will have on this election. If disenchanted millennials fail to vote en mass; if enough of them choose anarchy over reason; if enough of them vote third party – you might see some serious shit on November 8th.