Last night was the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and it was both a success and a disappointment. Trump didn't give us the stunning performance we'd hoped for, but he cut Clinton deep and softened her up for the upcoming rounds.

Those of us who were hoping for sweet release after last night’s presidential debate are going to have to cradle their unmentionables for a little while longer. The long-awaited first clash between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton ended with no surprises, no twists, and no knockout blows. Indeed, from an entertainment perspective, the debate was a massive letdown. Everyone and their mother was expecting Hillary to drop dead at the podium, or at least stroke out like Kermit the Frog on meth; no such luck.

Having said that, a soft debate performance may end up benefiting Trump in the long haul.

My assessment of the debate was that it was a moderate win for Trump: while he failed to land any body blows, he managed to hit Hillary on a few key spots, and most importantly, he won in the realm of emotion. Hillary’s stiff, prefab performance, focused on statistics and memorized factoids, had little emotional resonance for anyone not already inside her reality distortion field. Conversely, Trump’s use of rhetoric cut through the audience’s veneer of rationality and hit viewers on a gut level.

In particular, Trump visibly triggered Hillary multiple times throughout the debate, and while her off-the-cuff remarks weren’t nuclear level bad, they were bad enough to hurt her already diminishing chances of winning. The debate’s key moment came near the beginning, when Trump was grilling Clinton on her support for NAFTA and free trade agreements that have wiped out the country’s manufacturing base. For the middle class, NAFTA was the most destructive piece of legislation in American history, eliminating countless jobs and plunging much of the Midwest and Northeast into poverty and ruin… and it was signed into law by Bill Clinton.

Hillary’s response to Trump pointing out the disaster of NAFTA: “That is your opinion.”

The combination of her flippant words, dismissive tone and haughty body language was an ugly glimpse at the real Hillary, the one middle America doesn’t often get to see. Her triggered reaction to Trump’s questioning recalls her infamous meltdown four years during a Senate hearing, where she blurted out “What difference does it make?” in response to being questioned over the attack at Benghazi. Given that Trump has built his campaign in part on criticizing free trade, her “let them eat cake” dismissal was a death wish. Hillary’s remarks have guaranteed that she will lose the Rust Belt states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan, and with them, the election.

The other highlights include Trump refusing to allow Hillary or affirmative-action moderator Lester Holt to push him around, a stark contrast to Republican nominees of the past. When Holt attempted to set Trump up as a sexist by bringing up his remarks on how Hillary doesn’t “look” like a president, the Donald reframed the discussion to revolve around her health and stamina. Similarly, when the two of them tried to gang up on Trump for his unreleased tax returns, he broached the subject of Hillary’s deleted emails: you know, the ones the FBI was investigating her over? Trump even hit her on her infamous “super-predators” remark during the race relations segment and mocked her for her Russophobe conspiracy theorizing.

The energy in the debate faded by the midway point, and Hillary arguably did a better job in the last half-hour, but her weak performance in the first thirty minutes sealed this debate as a Trump win. It’s likely that the Donald didn’t knock her out in the first round because he wanted to feel her out first and soften her up for some haymakers in the second and third debates. He may have also wanted to avoid a rerun of 2012, where Mitt Romney won the first debate against President Obama but flamed out on rounds two and three.

Ultimately, even if the public doesn’t perceive the debate as a Trump win (unlikely, as he’s winning every major online poll, even the one put out by scammer progressive talk show The Young Turks), it’s unlikely it will move the needle in Hillary’s direction. She may have been able to hold it together for one night with all the magic her pharmacologists could conjure up, but her personality and platform will doom her in the long run. The lion always toys with his prey before ripping its throat out.

About The Author

Profile photo of Matt Forney

Matt Forney is a Chicago-based author and journalist. He blogs at and is the author of several books, including Confessions of an Online Hustler. Matt's work has also been featured at Return of Kings, Taki's Magazine, Alternative Right and many other sites, and he also served as the editor of Reaxxion, a gaming website for men.

  • This is a good contrarian argument, but I think there are two problems here.

    First, online polls are famously unreliable. This is especially so since Trump has lots of HIGH ENERGY centipedes from /pol/, /r/The_Donald, shitlord Twatter, etc. tilting them in his favor. That’s a good thing, of course, but it does make those polls less reliable. The predictions markets are showing a more pessimistic picture.

    Second, while Trump has the straight uncucked white male vote locked down, that is not enough for victory. Inroads into other groups have to be made and I didn’t see any convincing signs of that happening. In particular, he failed to make a bold grab for the anti-war Left Bernouts by not going after HRC’s record on the Iraq War aggressively enough. Amazingly, *he* was the one who ended up getting grilled about it.

    I think Trump lost this debate and he has to start sharpening his shivs if he wants to recover in the next two:

    • Normanlord97

      I think it was a tie, it wasn’t even a debate they were just shooting accusations at each other, still I think that Trump won by not losing and Clinton lost by not winning hard

    • I agree. All she had to do was not faint/cough/spit/sit for 90 minutes, hold her own, and she wins. The Alt Right Trump supporters are right-wing SJW types who believe if they have positive thoughts and try really, really hard, Kek will deliver them the White House. “Shitlords” are loser & nerds. They live online and are not a good indicator of the pulse of anything. Trump blew it on foreign affairs. He was very tepid and unconvincing given she’s a genuine criminal sociopath.

  • The lion always toys with his prey before ripping its throat out.””The lion always toys with his prey before ripping its throat out.”

    Actually the lion allows lesser animals to poke and toy with it, giving every chance for underlings to fall in line, then kills everything in site once it’s had enough.

    I kind of like the way it’s said here:

    Christopher Walken in Poolhall Junkies:

    You watch those nature documentaries on the cable? You see the one
    about lions? You got this lion. He’s the king of the jungle, huge mane
    out to here. He’s laying under a tree, in the middle of Africa. He’s so
    big, it’s so hot. He doesn’t want to move. Now the little lions come,
    they start messing with him. Biting his tail, biting his ears. He
    doesn’t do anything. The lioness, she starts messing with him. Coming
    over, making trouble. Still nothing. Now the other animals, they notice
    this. They start to move in. The jackals; hyenas. They’re barking at
    him, laughing at him. They nip his toes, and eat the food that’s in his
    domain. They do this, then they get closer and closer, bolder and
    bolder. Till one day, that lion gets up and tears the shit out of
    everybody. Runs like the wind, eats everything in his path. Cause every
    once in a while, the lion has to show the jackals, who he is.

    Great article Matthew!

  • Laguna Beach Fogey

    Solid article, Matt. Interestingly, almost every single poll (apart from CNN) this morning is reporting a solid Trump victory in the debate.

    • gmac

      Jesus, you guys are DUMB! I love it!

      • Ali

        It will be fun to see sjw morons like yourself, decapitated by the elephant in the room: ISLAM!!

  • Joseph Curwen

    Let’s be clear: Trump is not one of us. He will never be one of us. He doesn’t wants to secure the existence of our people and a future for white children. However, the is the lesser evil, 8 years of The Cunt would be the last nail in America’s coffin.

    • Normanlord97

      Well some of the people he has surrounded himself with are what they call “immigration patriots” which is the socially acceptable version of implicit white nationalism, even more so Trump has talked about how in twenty years “Europe will no longer be Europe unless we make some big changes”, and has spoken about how America should make it easier to immigrate from Europe to the states, so while hardly calling for a racial holy war, Trump is very much tuned into the racial element and JQ, his policies undermine Jewish power, and he calls out the “globalists” and “wall street”, just watch his speech to the Republican party Jewish lobby “you’re all negotiators, I’m a negotiator, and while most if not all of you will not endorse me, remember this; when I win I will negotiate with you from a position of strength”. I agree that Trump might just want to turn the clock back to 1965, while we want it set forward to a brighter archaeo-future, however, he has many sons who will no doubt go into politics later on, in fact you can see he’s grooming his son for a future in politics, so who knows? The alt-right platform would indeed resonate with the White working class and the military at least, possibly even the goyish elites could be turned from globalism (once it collapses) to our side like Richard Spencer. In any case I agree with you but I get the feeling Trump is closer to us, in his own mind, than we may know

  • Peter

    “NAFTA and free trade agreements that have wiped out the country’s manufacturing base”

    -> here´s a quick thought: why would companies prefer Mexico to the USA as production location : wages aren´t a big part of product costs anymore
    -> so here´s the thought: maybe b/c spics are still better workers than the american google ! That in the US, copmpanies are obliged to employ googles and that way you cannot build cars ! So it is literally the presence of googles in America that ruin the american production base. This isn´t a trifle anymore like trying to avoid their ghettos but this is actually killing America !

    And another aspect may be a ton of regulation, other equality shit, and union shit stirred up by skype instigators.

    So it´s not the spcis are somehow better as workers but the White american workers are burdened with skype terror regulations that make it impossible to run business there!

  • Greg McKinney

    Like they say about asking prices in a fancy restaurant– if you have to debate if Trump “won,” he probably didn’t. The expectations were set to STUN and he barely nipped her. I can only hope he’s keeping his powder dry for next time. Too many sycophants in his camp telling him he doesn’t need to study or prepare for these. She did, and he’d better.

  • gmac

    Success for Trump was not literally shitting himself in front of 80 million people and he seems to have achieved that, although he may have relied on his Depends to do that. Otherwise Hillary stomped him and left him stuttering like a the idiot buffoon that he is.
    But you just keep relying on those online polls for the next few weeks – good luck with that!

  • OneFatOzGuy

    It’s funny because Australian media has pretty well declared Hillary the winner and edited video showing all the bits where Trump faltered, sniffed and such, making him seem like he fumbled through the whole debate.
    That being said, people here are turning off News and not reading newspapers here as much because even the ‘right wing’ newspapers are withholding stories in the same way ‘left wing’ ones are.
    Example: there’s a group of African thugs called the Apex gang doing home invasions, robbing people and beating up people, yet their first mega public outing at the Melbourne Moomba festival, the news withheld race, claimed it was Inter gang violence (because groups of white people banded together to defend themselves they were branded as a ‘rival gang’) and all backlash against the media was kept out of print, so months later only the people who were there will remember the timeline of events.
    Also, our public just voted in multiple senators in our last Federal election who were anti-immigration. They’re even trying to make out the leader, Pauline Hanson, is just following Trump’s lead, which is funny because she’s been an anti-immigration politician for 20 years.