Eleven years after Hillary Clinton sat in the front row at Donald Trump’s wedding, the two US presidential candidates met again for a debate on Monday night.
These are the two least popular presidential candidates ever. There is little enthusiasm for either, and around 10 percent of voters say they will vote for the Green’s Jill Stein or the right wing libertarian Gary Johnson.
The pundits declared Clinton the winner. She certainly looked the respectable politician against an outsider. But Trump has prospered by being a fake “anti-elitist”.
Clinton called out Trump as a bigot and a conman. She pointed to his right wing conspiracy theories, his sexism and “long record of engaging in racist behaviour”.
Clinton said Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns showed he was hiding “something terrible”.
Trump turned the tables with Clinton’s own email scandal. She conceded to making a “mistake”. Clinton pointed out that Trump’s claim to have opposed the Iraq War wasn’t true. But she voted for it.
Clinton has made some more left wing noises after a fiercely contested race for the Democratic Party nomination against Bernie Sanders. While still playing to the right, Trump sought to detoxify his image.
Clinton criticised the disproportionate jailing of black and Hispanic men. Trump defended racist stop and search and called for more police.
Clinton laid into her rival’s “Trumped-up trickle-down economics” and called for investment and tackling inequality.
But she was broadly upbeat about the economy, a world away from ordinary Americans.
Trump slammed Clinton for initially pushing the trade deals that she herself now opposes.
Clinton objected to being “blamed for everything that’s ever happened”—but pointed to the “pretty good job” done by her husband and predecessor Bill Clinton in the 1990s.
That included the devastating Nafta trade deal and vicious welfare cuts.
Trump is catching up in the polls.
Reporters asked students at Penn State University why Clinton’s lead among young voters has collapsed from
24 points to five. Anay Pope found her “slimy”. “There’s probably nothing Trump can say to make me vote for him,” she said, but added, “She makes it hard to vote for her.”