The Media: Clinton Won the Debate; American Voters (And Some Democrats): Disagree...Trump Did Better

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Sep 27, 2016 6:30 PM
The Media: Clinton Won the Debate; American Voters (And Some Democrats): Disagree...Trump Did Better

On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough wondered if Donald Trump interrupting Hillary Clinton during the debate last night would impact him negatively with voters. Mika disagreed. It’s not 2000—and Trump isn’t Rick Lazio. Lazio, a former Republican congressman from New York, saw his Senate campaign disintegrate when he ventured into Clinton’s side of the debate stage in what many described as chauvinistic. It was a petition to ban soft money campaign money that Lazio wanted Clinton to sign.

“I think it’s a different ball game. I don’t really know where I am getting this, just my overall gut feeling from watching the entire debate; she [Clinton] was amazing—she was really good. I just think that he’s [Trump] going to do quite well out of this,” said Brzezinski.

Right now, the media is awash in Clinton won stories. She was calm, measured, knew the issues etc. It’s the same old game. Granted, I was like very much of the same opinion at the outset of the 2016 cycle, but Trump is the nominee—and he’s much better than Hillary.

Ed and I came to the conclusion that the debate was a draw. Clinton didn’t have a coughing fit, she didn’t collapse, and she showed that she had a pulse. Trump was able not to go abjectly insane and managed to talk for 90 minutes. Both sides didn’t fall off the cliff. Yes, Clinton has more detailed-oriented answers, but did that resonate with voters? She needs to yank those disaffected Democrats who have ventured into the third party camps, specifically Libertarian Gary Johnson - and she didn’t give them much of a reason to leave. Nothing moved. And that helps Trump more than Clinton.

Let’s go beyond the bubble. Salena Zito is one of the few journalists venturing into Trump land, talking to folks, and is casting a very different picture. For starters, there’s a lot of Democrats in the Rust Belt and Western Pennsylvania that are voting Trump. They’re voting for him because he promises to bring back jobs that were decimated by Clinton-era trade deals. He will put coal miners back to business. And he’s meeting with these people face-to-face. Clinton’s outreach with the rural wing of her party that the college-educated, urban-based elites that dot the Acela Corridor view with scorn was gutted when she said she was going to put coal miners out of business. Oh, but she has a $30 billion “I’m sorry I screwed you over” package to help these people. These folks don’t want new jobs. These communities work hard, pray hard, and play hard. They do not feel their lack of a college degree should relegate them to economic death—and Clinton’s agenda, and her Party, is nothing but that to these people. To them, Trump has their back; this election is more personal than ever.

Zito ventured into a bar filled with Undecideds and Democrats in Youngstown, Pennsylvania last night. While the media said that Clinton dominated, all they saw was a robotic Clinton that looked as if she couldn’t care less about them. Who offered zero policies to help them—and one who came off as smug. Another thing this crowd couldn’t stand was Hillary trying to take credit for her husband’s economic agenda:

Ken Reed sat down at the main bar of the Tin Lizzy tavern with two things in mind: to dig into the tavern’s oversize cheese steak, and watch the presidential debate.

[…]

Kady Letoksy, a paralegal by day, a waitress and bartender at night at the Tin Lizzy, sat beside him. At 28, she has never voted before, and she is now thinking it might be a good idea to start.

Letosky entered the evening undecided in a town that is heavily Democratic in registration. Her sister and father are on opposite sides of the political aisle. Donald “Trump had the upper hand this evening,” she said, citing his command of the back-and-forth between him and Hillary Clinton.

Reed, 35, is a registered Democrat and small businessman. “By the end of the debate, Clinton never said a thing to persuade me that she had anything to offer me or my family or my community,” he said…

[…]

“I am a small businessman, a farmer, come from a long line of farmers and coal miners. The policies she talked about tonight ultimately either hurt me or ignore me,” he said.

[…]

“I’ve been a Democrat all of my life, but when Clinton mentions her husband and the jobs he brought to the country in the ’90s, it’s not a fair assessment. She is no moderate Democrat the way he was, her policies would not bring back jobs,” said Nathan Nemick.

It burns Nemick when Clinton references her husband, like she did in the debate on trade and jobs. “She is nothing like him,” he said of the Democrat he admired in his youth.

Salena, who’s from the area, also noted the perilous electoral fallout from these reactions. Youngstown is located in Westmoreland County, a once Democratic stronghold that’s been chipped away thanks to National Democrats’ dismissive attitudes towards their rural brethren. The Obama administration’s merciless war on coal surely hasn’t helped prevent a rising Republican tide.

Still, Trump needs to inject steroids into his turnout operation (Philly and Pittsburgh turnout will be high), though Zito also mentioned that Clinton has to to win this county “by 2,000 more votes than Mitt Romney did in 2012.”

Cambria, Greene, Fayette, Washington, Bucks, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Luzerne and York counties are also on the must-win list for both camps. Yet, these Democratic voters, as Zito noted, are pro-gun, pro-life, and pro-coal, doubtful that they would join Clinton, especially with all of the other baggage that comes with her besides peddling an economic agenda that will bring more pain to their communities. The media may have seen a Clinton win through their criteria, but for the rest of the country—it appeared as if Trump had the advantage.

There were missed opportunities for Trump to attack the former first lady. I’m floored that Benghazi or the Clinton Foundation were never brought up and Clinton’s answers on those issues might have given more insight to how prepared Clinton was for this debate. Trump vows to go on the attack more next debate, but for these people, keep hammering home job creation, bad free trade deals, and rejuvenating coal communities…big league.

After 2014, I wondered if anyone stands up for middle America anymore? For these voters, they see Trump as their biggest champion.