The Democrats who watched Sunday’s debate at East Boise’s Lucky 13 got what they came for and expected, they said: facts and details from Clinton, dissembling and deflection from Trump.
“Hillary demonstrated a broad deep command of the issues and her experience was evident,” said Lisa Hecht. “Donald Trump did a lot of redirection. Instead of answering the questions, he attacked.”
In Nampa, a dozen friends gathered at the home of Rebecca de Leon. As Latinos, they watched the debate looking for some sign that the prejudice and bigotry many describe as Trump’s campaign would change. They didn’t see any change
Trump said he would be president of all the people, but Estefania Mondragon said he would represent “white, heterosexual .. .males. I am feeling very nervous for the future.”
De Leon said she is unhappy with Trump’s characterization of Muslims. “I have a lot of friends who are Muslims,” she said. “They are not the way he describes them.”
Throughout the debate, said Irene Ruiz of Boise, “Trump kept piling on.”
Few in the room found a true winner, saying not enough time was spent on what the candidates would do: “They kept picking at each other,” said Ruben Pedraza, of Nampa.
The Nampa watchers weren’t persuaded by Trump’s apology for his vugar video, or by his dismissing the remarks about grabbing and having sex with women as “locker room talk.”
It “normalizes sexual abuse,” Ruiz said.
When Trump said “It’s just talk,” a chorus of “You’re kidding” went up in the room.
About 10 people turned out for the Lucky 13 event. Michelle Barber, passing through from Vermont, found the debate party on Hillary Clinton’s website. “I think this could be very scary, and it’s frightening at this level of politics,” she said as the debate began. “I think Hillary can handle herself. I feel for her personally, but I think she can handle her business.”
Hecht, a retired engineer for Hewlett-Packard and a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists, added: “I’m just excited that the climate finally became a debate issue,” she said. “Donald Trump presents a false choice between jobs and fossil fuels. (Clinton) acknowledged the seriousness of climate change, which I needed to hear.”
Annette Guidry of Boise said: “On the surface, it looked like a stalemate because Trump was able to get away with bullying and interrupting Ms. Clinton so many times.” Trump, she said, “rarely completely focused on questions and answered them.”
A father and son, Scott Smith and Sam Reid, watched the debate while waiting for their pizza. They are both ambivalent about the candidates: “It would be very hard for me to vote for either of them on character alone,” said Smith, visiting from Massachusetts.
Mike Keith, a Clinton supporter from Meridian, said: “I don’t think they’re saying anything that moves the needle. It sounds like Trump’s very much talking to his supporters.”