Hillary Clinton spent much of Monday’s presidential debate sporting an Alfred E. Neuman grin, apparently attempting to project a warmer demeanor. She certainly wasn’t smiling in response to her recent poll numbers.
Entering her much-anticipated one-on-one with Donald Trump, Mrs. Clinton found herself in an increasingly tight race. Data guru Nate Silver of The New York Times noted Monday that the trends “have been on the move toward Trump for roughly six weeks” and the Republican candidate is “no longer much of an underdog at all.”
Following the debate, Mr. Silver tweeted that he expected Mrs. Clinton’s poll numbers to jump slightly, given that a CNN survey found viewers felt by a 62-27 percent margin that she had “won” the event. Of course, it’s worth noting that John Kerry was deemed to have “won” all his debates against George W. Bush in 2004.
Whatever one took away from Monday’s spectacle, it broke no ground. Neither candidate offered anything voters hadn’t heard before or significantly expanded on their existing proposals.
Mrs. Clinton remains the candidate of the status quo, an ethically challenged Beltway insider with a penchant for deception who offers a determined voice for a bigger, more activist tax and regulatory regime that recognizes few limits on its reach. By contrast, Donald Trump is the anti-politician who threatens the cushy sinecures of the varied interests desperately seeking to preserve the established routine in the nation’s capital.
On that, there should be no debate.