Last Monday I went to a public viewing of the first Presidential debate hosted by CAIR-SFBA, a group that fights for the civil right of the Muslim American community. Since the viewing was only 10 minutes from my home, I decided to go.
I had a nice time meeting everyone and talking about the two candidates. The people who attended were very nice, and they were very welcoming. They served pizza, cookies and soft drinks, which were my dinner.
Needless to say, the crowd was not a Trump crowd. But there were a few individuals who voiced their ambivalence towards Hillary too.
I actually thought Trump started out strong at the beginning of the debates. Hillary seemed a little stiff at first, and a little nervous. Trump was echoing a lot of the Left's criticisms of NAFTA, which I thought was effective. But as the debate went on, I was impressed by the depth of Hillary's knowledge of policy. She was calm and thoughtful in many of her explanations. When Hillary saw that she could tough out Trump's attacks, it looked like she began to relax.
I watched all of the Democratic and Republican debates in the primaries, and I think Bernie gave Hillary a tougher time than Trump did. I'll have to watch those debates again on youtube to be sure I'm remembering this correctly. There was a lot more substance to Bernie's attacks than Trump's attacks, and Bernie put Hillary more on the defensive.
In the second part of the debate, Trump fell into the same pattern that he got in the Republican debates. Instead of fighting Hillary, Trump got caught up in defending himself against various media criticisms against him. I thought his answers to the moderators questions on race and the birther issue were terrible. When he started repeating "law and order", I'm sure Lee Atwater was spinning in his grave.
It was interesting watching this debate with a group of Muslim Americans. When the moderator got to the subject of Muslims and the Middle East, one of the group said, "Uh oh, here we go". At that segment, the group was very tense. They gave a collective moan at most of what Trump was saying. When Hillary gave a strong defense of our Muslim allies and the Muslim American community, a few individuals cheered.
It was a riveting debate. I thought Trump started out strong, but fell apart at the end. Hillary started out tentative, but grew stronger as the debate went along. Her smile seemed more sincere as the debates went along and Trump began to falter.
I look forward to the next two debates.