Yes, Hillary is prepared. Anyone who wants our next president to be experienced, intelligent, thoughtful and clear-thinking knew there was only one person on the debate stage Monday night fitting that description: Hillary Rodham Clinton. For people who want the world to respect us there was only one person on the debate stage Monday night who will accomplish that: Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The debate was clearly different from any previous presidential debates I have ever seen and I have watched many in my lifetime. Never before was there a candidate on the stage who thought bluster and buffoonery was a winning combination. It does seem the candidate who excelled at that, Donald Trump, met the qualifications some of his supporters require for the next president. He didn’t throw up and managed to stay awake for the full 90 minutes. Many of his supporters appear to like a man who thinks it’s OK to insult and denigrate women; who wants to bring back ‘stop and frisk,’ a tactic declared unconstitutional and unfair to people of color; who thinks not paying people he hires what he agreed to pay them and instead stiffs them is simply good business; who doesn’t have the slightest knowledge of world affairs and is clearly proud of not preparing for the debate.
Sometimes it seems Trump surrogates on TV are living in an alternate universe. In their world supporting the man some have accurately called a moron is fine. Supporting a man who sniffs his way through a debate (which sparked Howard Dean to speculate Trump was on cocaine) and who doesn’t answer 90 percent of the questions he was asked is fine. Where supporting a man who blatantly repeats the same lies over and over as if he repeats them often enough it becomes the truth is fine.
In my heart I believe people supporting Trump don’t represent the majority. The majority in our country will not vote for the man who is proudly a racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, bully. They know he isn’t the right person to lead our nation and the world.
In my reality the majority of people in our country still believe a person with a bright vision for our future; who has enunciated plans to move forward that vision; who believes the struggle for equality is not over but must continue to be fought; who believes we must fight climate change because it is real; will continue to build coalitions around the world to fight and destroy ISIS and believes we must do everything we can to rid the world of nuclear weapons is the right person to lead our great nation and the world.
Of course I am biased. I love Hillary Clinton. But it seems according to many of the people who are supporting the blowhard I am considered part of the “elite.” Their definition of the “elite” must be those who respect people with intelligence, who care about science and facts and who believe we are inextricably tied to the rest of the world and can no longer build a wall around our nation and pretend that will solve all of our problems. It includes those of us who respect the diversity in our nation and believe it is what makes us better.
There will of course be two more debates and the bar for Trump will keep being lowered by the media. Now to do well they will tell us he simply needs to do better than he did in the first debate. He will have to stand up straight and manage to get through 90 minutes without sighing and sniffling and drinking water every two minutes.
Hillary, on the other hand, will have to continue to display what they call likeability, an incredible wealth of knowledge and the ability to recall facts and figures about a host of government policies and programs. She will have to do more than present us a set of real policies to deal with the scourge of drug addiction in the nation, rebuilding our infrastructure, and changing tax policy to encourage small businesses that create most of our jobs.
Hillary, like all women, continues to be held to a higher standard. As was said about Fred Astaire’s dance partner Ginger Rogers, “She had to do everything he did but had to do it backwards and in heels.”
Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.