Despite the general suspense surrounding what Trump’s answer would be to the video that shows him talking like a sexual harasser, the second presidential debate ended up being one of the most predictable. The Republican was in attack-mode – which meant constantly attempting to intimidate Hillary Clinton – while the Democrat chose to demonstrate her knowledge of the issues the next president must have command of, instead of falling into his trap.
Trump’s style of intimidation resembles that of a hitman. While Clinton spoke, the millionaire’s body language included standing close to her, looking down on her from behind. Trump placed the women who accused her husband of inappropriate sexual actions on the first row, and finished it off by threatening to put her in jail if he wins the election.
At the same time, the GOP candidate to the presidency displayed surprising immaturity for someone aspiring to get to the White House. He defended himself from the accusation that he is a sexual harasser by saying that others do worse things but then admitted to, at 59, having behaved as an insecure teenager who needs to brag about his sexual conquests in the locker room. He also constantly kicked and screamed like a child, unjustifiably complaining that they did not let him speak and that everyone was against him, when he was the one interrupting his rival.
Trump failed in terms of attitude and character, but his knowledge was non-existent. All night long he evaded talking about pressing topics to attack Clinton instead. Two examples were the questions about Aleppo and Obamacare, in which he used his vagueness regarding important issues as a springboard to attack the Democrat.
The contrast between the views the two candidates expressed was most significant. Clinton was optimistic about the present and spoke of respect in a diverse society, while Trump repeated that everything is terrible and that minorities are living in a hell from which he will save them.
Trump’s strategy was to reinforce the political base who celebrate his insults and throw merciless attacks against the Democrat, with little regard to the fact that his version does not match the truth. Clinton’s was to show off her knowledge, stay away from stooping to Trump’s level, and dodge her own controversies.