The first debate went as expected: one candidate showed they were ready to be president of the United States on day one, and the other acted like a petulant child.
Luckily, Hillary Clinton was the former, not the latter.
The pundits know it, the polls know it and, ultimately, the people know it: Clinton gave a performance that saw a massive spike in the polls, a boost in public trust and a sense of comfort that she may very well be our next president.
Here’s why she won (and why she’ll probably win the next two).
She was prepared. It’s been reported that Clinton immersed herself in the issues facing America, poring over research, conducting rehearsals, and doing her homework meticulously. It showed on stage.
Whether issuing a stinging rebuke to her opponent, going into detail on policy, or fact-checking when a misstatement was accepted as truth, Clinton knew what she was talking about, and the viewers agreed.
She was tough, yet composed. Her opponent set the bar pretty low, but her confidence and demeanor showed that no matter how ridiculous, offensive or out of touch he may have gotten, she didn’t take it personally – she simply remained stoic, and came back with the cold hard facts – or a zinger.
She never broke her smile. It’s amazing, really, to see the same people who critiqued her for not smiling, critique her for smiling. They went low; she went high.
She was fundamentally honest. While the media will have her painted as a liar, the debate showed the exact opposite.
NPR, the non-partisan gold standard of what’s left of journalism, did an in-depth fact check analysis and showed that, surprise, Donald Trump lied way more than anywhere near Clinton, while her claims were mostly upheld as true. She was right about her (and Trump’s) tax plan; she was right about the housing market crisis; she was right about opposing bad trade deals; she was right about gun violence, stop and frisk, and racial disparities.
Her opponent on the other hand, couldn’t even remember that he called climate change a hoax.
She had the better plan. While Trump painted America as a third world, crime-riddled hellhole, Clinton offered us a hopeful, inspiring message of bringing back jobs, fixing broken race relations and investing in future generations.
Her plan would create 10 million jobs — his would cut 3.5 million. She wants to curb gun violence against black youth by holding them and communities – yes, that includes police officers – accountable.
If you want to see, concretely, who won, look at the polls. Public Policy Polling, YouGov, Gallup, CNN, Fox News and even Breitbart showed that the people thought Clinton won, and handily.
It doesn’t take a genius to see that Clinton had the upper hand. While Trump appeared strong and composed in the first half (ultimately faltering in the second half), Clinton gave a worthy performance for the entire time.
We don’t need a president who is calm, collected, and knowledgeable half the time – we need one who showcases all those characteristics all the time.