Clash of near non-ideas

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The first presidential debate that took place between Hillary Clinton and Donald J Trump on Monday was truly disappointing. It was more of a personal fight than a reflection on larger issues of national and international importance. The quality level was low in comparison to previous US presidential elections. Both Clinton and Trump have been voted as the least-liked probable White House occupants in pre-poll surveys conducted across the US. When more than half the voters are interested in an issue-based debate, the nominees should have restrained themselves from raising petty points like looks, stamina etc. Voters were not expecting the bitterness displayed in the long campaign trail, but unfortunately they got it.
The relentlessly antagonistic fight mainly focussed on issues related to Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns and Clinton’s use of private e-mail servers for sensitive office work. Arguably, the Republican candidate had his best moments in the beginning, but once the dialogue moved on, he received devastating blows from Clinton on his record and readiness to take over the presidency. His freewheeling approach could not take him further and gradually pushed him towards a defensive posture. While Clinton remained composed, he struggled to dismiss her as one who acted in favour of an economic hollowing-out of the nation.
His trademark bluster did not match the large policy prescriptions Clinton offered. His attempt to present her rival as a politician full of talk and no action probably would not have impressed the voters much. Trump could have skillfully handled his stubborn defence on record against racism, sexism and tax avoidance, as these have already clouded the entire presidential campaign so far. Though he tried to attack her on trade and her political record, the business tycoon appeared thin-skinned. Indeed, these issues have helped him achieve high ratings in the campaign, and he could have put forward a set of policy frameworks that America can adopt to handle the core problems. He repeatedly interrupted her throughout the 90-minutes clash, with slashing attacks which might have gladdened his Republican supporters, but which failed to achieve anything more.
Trump looked under-prepared in the first ever show of strength. Clinton’s backing off from the historic trade deal – the Trans-Pacific Partnership – may confuse a large section of the huge industry lobby, as she supported it when she was the Secretary of State. Even Trump pitches for scuttling the deal, so the business lobby has to see whom it can support. Clinton appeared to have an edge over Trump by the end of the debate. Trump’s imprecision came open. His lack of experience in public life was displayed all throughout the debate. However, the swinging of the public mood can only be predicted after the next round of debates in October. Trump has a chance to bounce back, but only if he changes course. The race is too
close to call.

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