What I Learned from the Great Debate

It appears that Tuesday’s night’s presidential debate was  the most watched of all time with nearly 84 million people tuning in. That number is a 17% spike over the first debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in 2012.

I studied the debate prayerfully with much thought and attention. I also listened to many of the pundits who gave their opinions afterwards.

Here is what I learned from the Great Debate.

I will share these observations in “point” form like a running stream of consciousness. I’m sure you have your own, and I hope my ramblings will help you to sharpen yours to pray, to vote, and to be an influence during this perilous time in American history.

Yes, I said perilous. This is the first presidential election in Post-Christian America. Our nation has reached a tipping point where the secularism has overtaken, in many ways, the biblical worldview that characterized our first two hundred years. 

This is the first election in US history where it can be argued that neither candidate shares a personal relationship with Jesus Christ or possesses a faith-oriented worldview. Both the voters of the Democrat and Republican parties rejected candidates with strong biblical faith–so we’re left with two people that are more secular than Christian.

It’s a new day. A sober day.

And a day of great opportunities for God to move in our nation.

Here’s what I learned from the Great Debate.

1.  It many ways, it was a draw. Neither Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton clearly won on points. How you judged it had much to do with your preference of candidate. There were no knock-out punches.

2. Because I prefer Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton, I give him the edge. It was his first time on a solo national stage and he did well. Mrs. Clinton has been in this scenario 35 times before. She was more familiar than he was. But she didn’t take great advantage.

3.  Donald Trump appeared presidential and probably helped his cause, He refrained from name-calling and childish behavior and showed a basic grasp of all the issues that were brought up.

4.  Hillary Clinton demonstrated good attention to detail and ample evidence of her policy-wonk credentials. She was better on a number of specifics than Mr. Trump.

5. I give Trump an edge in speaking the language of the common person. That’s one of his strengths. He is open and honest and you can relate to him and his concerns.

6. Mrs. Clinton, on the other hand, was overly robotic and prepared. Even her mention of her 2-year old granddaughter seemed forced and pre-meditated. Everything was calculated. She came across as a slick politician. Trump expressed the normal emotions of a passionate human being.

7.  Mrs. Clinton was clearly the aggressor in this debate and showed a bit of a mean-streak. She came at Trump over his taxes, business practices, and name-calling, but it seemed to emanate from cue cards and focus groups instead of deep within. Also seemed a bit whiny at times.

8.  Mr. Trump acted as the counter-puncher in this debate, especially on trade (NAFTA and TPP), creating jobs, the national debt, and a few other issues. He missed some big opportunities to expose Mrs. Clinton’s corruption re: the e-mail server scandal and the Clinton Foundation (what Rush Limbaugh calls the Clinton Family Crime Foundation). He must not make that mistake in future debates.

9.  Did you see that Mrs. Clinton rarely looked Donald Trump in the eyes when she was speaking to him? I’ve noticed that in many of her appearances. When she first spoke of the e-mail fiasco, her eyes were always down and never looked at the camera. Same last night. If she can’t look Trump in the face with conviction and passion, how can she stare down Vladimir Putin or other world leaders?

10.  It was easy to see the difference in transparency and honesty between the two candidates. I’m sure Donald Trump has things to hide, but overall he’s quick to rebut lies and seems genuinely transparent on most things. Mrs. Clinton is the opposite. Her words are so carefully crafted that you think you’re listening to an “angel of light” who’s telling you one thing but doing another. Donald wins on honesty.

11. Trump was very good at the beginning of the debate on how to create jobs and deal with the debt. After all, he’s a businessman and understands that realm. Mrs. Clinton has lived on the public dole all her life and never created a real job. So how can she help ignite an economic renewal in this nation?

12. The two candidates are starkly different on taxes. Mrs. Clinton wants to raise most people’s taxes, though she cleverly use class warfare words to make it appear she’s against the rich. But that’s a lie. There aren’t enough rich people to fund a four trillion dollar budget. Mr. Trump, on the other hand, sees the importance of lowering taxes for most to bring back capital to the country and ignite business expansion.

13.  Mrs. Clinton is a classic tax and spend liberal. She had no comeback for Trump’s rightful assertion that Barack Obama created more debt that all the previous 43 presidents combined–and that our national debt has America on the precipice of great disaster. Mrs. Clinton would blindly (in the name of false compassion) explode that debt.

14. Mrs. Clinton cleverly used the word “investments” for government taxation. She went through the normal progressive list of crony capitalism including renewable energy, infrastructure spending and climate change. These are all buzz words for “we know better than you” and it’s too bad if you lose your job (like coal miners in West Virginia).

15. Trump was smart to appeal to the African American community that has been the most decimated by Democrat policies. In the name of “caring,” the victim/welfare mentality of many cities, blue states, and the federal government has placed many blacks and Hispanics on a modern-day plantation of despair. Trumps was wise to appeal to them. (Does it make sense for any voting block in America to vote 90% for one party?)

16. Both candidates seemed competent on nuclear policy. Trump was more realistic on other nations doing their part to police themselves and not simply ride the coattails of the world’s lone super power. Neither candidate would be prone to use nukes unwisely.

17. Trump won the skirmish over the war in Iraq and the mess that President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton have made of the Middle East. The Democrats created ISIS by leaving Iraq prematurely without a Status of Forces agreement.  It was simply poor leadership. They could never be trusted to defeat them.

18. Mrs. Clinton won the argument over Donald Trump’s taxes. He needs to release them, under audit or not, and let the chips fall.  If there are some embarrassing details there, they  probably pale in comparison to the pay-for-play of the Clinton Foundation. Let them stand side-by-side.

19.  Mrs. Clinton looked and sounded healthy, but you never know. JFK looked good most of the time but was living on medical “cocktails” because of his Graves Disease. Mrs. Clinton should release her full medical records just as quickly as Trump does his taxes.

20. Most of the time, when Mrs. Clinton was listening to Trump speak, her face was hard, cold, or bored (see photo above). That was the thing that struck me most from a body language perspective. She is not a warm person. He, on the other hand, is very engaging and relatable to most Americans.

21. Mrs. Clinton shouldn’t have been given a higher podium. She’s 5’4″ and he’s 6’2.” That difference in stature should have been noticed. Let her make up in gravitas what she lacks in height.

22. Mrs. Clinton was condescending at various moments–especially at the end of the debate when she shrugged he shoulders in pride at a Trump response.

23. Lester Holt asked six follow-up questions of Trump and none of Clinton. The bias was obvious.

24.  Trump’s smile seems genuine though he’s often sober. Clinton’s smile often looks calculated and forced.

25.  Trump’s family is beautiful and accomplished. Bill Clinton is a chronic adulterer who is hard to watch.

These are my 25 observations from the Great Debate.

What are yours?

These 25 items remind me of the greatest need in America: a new found encounter with the King of kings and Lord of lords–Jesus Christ.

If you want some encouragement after watching the Great Debate, check out this magnificent list of 25 reasons that we need leaders who will lead like Jesus.

And keep your eyes on Him.











  1. Kit Hackett on September 29, 2016 at 5:49 am

    I always enjoy your posts. 1040 shows you hardly anything. He released countless pages of his financial statement. So the question was terribly misleading. The 1040 doesn't mean anything. All bookkeepers and accountants understand this. So technically Trump's was correct in what he stated. He is not holding back but going thru the proper process.

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