The first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump provided a good preview of what would come over the course of the campaign. But we continue to examine the impact — real and imagined — of the first encounter between the two leading Democratic and Republican candidates. The best political analysis and commentary goes beyond Monday night’s debate.
An entire column should have been devoted to the putdown of Clinton’s “You’re so stupid,” first uttered by Trump during a New York Times Magazine interview. For Washington Post writers, the line has been likened to Ronald Reagan’s “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” in 1984, from which Trump himself has drawn a parallel in the current presidential race. From former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, who has compared Trump’s “very condescending” use of the phrase to that of Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign, the line also has drawn parallels to a different kind of insult — Obama’s 2008 line to Clinton, which was “You’re likable enough, Hillary.”
On Election Day, Clinton takes the stage to either a throng of supporters or the millions of Americans who could watch her potential defeat Trump televised. A strong performance, that goes off the rails, could cost her the election.