All About Politics: Reviewing the Debate

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Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

**The Debate**

Hillary Clinton had a good night. No, let’s be more accurate. A very good night.

All you had to see is what happened after the debate ended. Hillary plunged into the crowd and was beaming. She knew she had done well. She vigorously shook hands with her supporters and her smile didn’t leave her face. Big hugs for everybody. It looked like she really was enjoying herself.

Compare that to Donald (more about the first name in a bit). His family came onstage to greet him. Their faces lacked joy or even satisfaction. The candidate himself appeared downright glum. They didn’t stay around and mix with their supporters. They basically walked off the stage. There appeared to be no inclination for a victory lap.

Rudy Giuliani was prominently seated in the front row. He is Donald’s chief surrogate. This can’t help with African American voters. They detest him. But Giuliani is being used to remind everybody that Trump is the “law and order” candidate. Trump must have said “law and order” a dozen times. Shades of Nixon in 1968.

Law and order — who’s against that? No, it’s a code word to send a message to a certain group of voters who don’t want any discussion of racial reconciliation or harmony. Trump knows what he is doing. Just like Nixon did in ’68.

No Chris Christie in sight. The former presidential candidate is severely damaged goods. The prosecutor has already directly implicated him in Bridgegate. Day after day in the trial of his former top aides he is placed right in the middle of the scandal.

Now back to Hillary’s skillful and strategic repetitive use of Trump’s first name. The word is that he insists in being called “Mr. Trump.” Even in his own corporate offices. Hillary knew this would bother him and get under his skin. The first-name reference demonstrated a total lack of respect.

The other ploy was her adroit and piercing criticism of Trump’s refusal to make public his tax returns. She just came out and stated that he might not have paid any federal taxes. He all but confirmed the allegation by shouting into the microphone: “That makes me smart.”

What bothered him the most, I believe, is her saying that what Trump is afraid of is that he is “not as rich as he says he is.” In addition, she listed his six bankruptcies and ramped up the borrowings from his father from one million to 14 million.

The final blow was her retelling of the Miss Universe episode. That will definitely help her with the Latina constituency. No Trump voters will leave the camp. But women voters might be even more committed and enthusiastic for Clinton after Monday night.

She needed a boost. The state polls were getting close. Watch out for the next debate. Trump will lash back.

**Tim Kaine**

Virginia is a battleground state. Clinton picked Kaine because he is well known and liked in the state. Virginia residents feel Kaine — a former mayor of Richmond, lieutenant governor, governor and now senator — is one of them.

Those 13 electoral votes are an important part of the Clinton electoral strategy. Kaine speaks fluent Spanish (he was a missionary in Honduras). The Hispanic turnout was 20 points less than the white and African American vote in 2012.

Hispanic turnout is key for Clinton to win. I bet Kaine will be speaking more Spanish than English in the next 40 days.

*Political analyst and Georgetowner columnist Mark Plotkin is a contributor to BBC on American politics and a contributor to TheHill.com. Reach him at markplotkindc@gmail.com.*

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