The Corner

Trump at the Second Debate: Most Improved

When Trump said that Hillary would be in jail if he were in charge, it seemed like a debate meltdown would be the capstone to a disastrous weekend. But it ended up being a pivot point. From that point on, Trump had the advantage. He started overly sedate and then rambled and lashed out when the topic was the Access Hollywood tape. At the inception, Hillary was at her rehearsed best. But the topic terrain got tougher for her–emails, etc.–and she could never summon any spontaneous wit or righteous indignation to hit back at Trump effectively. Over and over, she said what Trump was saying was wrong, without saying how or why. Trump managed to establish something like the stage dominance he had in the primaries. He didn’t wander down as many rabbit holes and went out of his way to bring up topics and points awkward for Hillary. His performance was still rocky and strange at times–the wandering around the stage idly as Hillary spoke, for instance–but much improved.


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