Presidential debates are less like parliamentary or academic debates, and more like sports games. Like a sports game, who won the debate is determined by who had the highest score, where the score for each candidate is just the number of people who chose to vote for that candidate based on their performance in the debate. Since I don’t pretend to be able to say who had the highest score, I don’t really have any opinion as to who won the debate (although the mainstream consensus is that Hillary won, but not by much). However, this debate was rich in interesting content, and one can glean many insights into the candidates by watching it. Here, in no particular format or order, are some of my thoughts:
1) A question for you AI folks out there: could Hillary pass the Turing test? I’m not convinced that she could. Many people get a certain robotic impression from her, mainly because of the lawyerliness of her language and the awkwardness of her feigned emotions. But in this debate, she really just came across as a bad AI. Her talking points, so meticulously scripted by Chai-latte-sipping former Hill interns and exhaustively focused grouped over a carefully chosen sample population of Martha Stewart wannabe soccer moms and low-testosterone millennials, come across much like the awkward and only vaguely relevant ejaculations of a primitive AI.
Her very first response is an excellent example of this: her algorithm is good enough to pick up on a few keywords (‘jobs’, ‘economy’) and deliver a canned speech on those keywords that, while extensive, makes no effort to respond to the particular content or grammar of the question. Very awkward.
Since the problem of passing the Turing test has been so recalcitrant in AI, maybe we can cut Turing some slack and start using the Clinton test: could an AI successfully convince a human being that it was Hillary Clinton? I suspect this would be fairly easy.
2) On a more serious note, does Hillary speak to foreign leaders the same way she speaks at the debate? That is: when she prepares to talk to Granddaddy Vladdy, does she rely on the same kind of meticulously drafted and focus-group tested speeches on which she relied in the debate (maybe she’s running her speeches by a select group of human traffickers from Brighton Beach)? If so, this has to be terribly detrimental to her effectiveness as a diplomat and negotiator. One has to be verbally agile to succeed at a job like this.
3) “Race determines where people live, and race determines what kind of education people can get” – Hillary ‘Jared Taylor’ Clinton
While it remains taboo to explicitly refer to black educational failure, self-segregation and criminality as ‘black educational failure’, ‘black self-segregation’, and ‘black criminality’, the fact of the matter is that White Americans are not ignorant about the nature of black behavior. This ‘redpilled’ moment of Hillary’s makes this clear (note her admission that it’s race that determines black behavior, rather than racism). The average Bernie Sanders supporter, walking alone at night down a Brooklyn or Adams Morgan street, still crosses to the other side when he sees a black military-age male walking towards him.
This tacit acceptance of the empirical facts about race, even if whites refuse to acknowledge their own acceptance of these facts, works in our favor. It’s a lot easier to redpill someone who already knows, deep down, that race matters. Perhaps there’s hope for Hillary yet.
4) Re: Hillary on ‘vibrant’ black churches – why are whites obsessed with calling blacks ‘vibrant’? Really, ‘vibrant’ just sounds like a euphemism for the more historically familiar White chacterizations of black behavior: impulsive, emotional, obsessed with displays of status, etc. This seems to be more evidence that just about all Whites are unwitting race realists.
5) While Trump’s foreign policy is not neoconservatism, it’s a mistake to think of Trump as an isolationist. He’s not at all shy of foreign interventionism, as his policy on ISIS makes clear; nor, as his retrospective ‘take the oil’ policy on Iraq makes clear, is he unwilling to recognize that American military power can be used to obtain real material and economic ends. He’s not opposed to using American troops to prop up Japan and the NATO states; his policy is simply that they’ll have to pay for protection. This is not neoconservatism, on which the goal of costly intervention is to propagate democracy throughout the world in anticipation of some Messianic end of history – but neither is it Ron-Paul-style isolationist autism on which no possible grand-strategic or economic benefit could outweigh the importance of muh spending deficit and muh gold star families.
What Trump wants, instead, is a policy that puts American military power to use for the benefit of Americans: Imperalism. Trump wants vassal states and protectorates; he wants to strip resources from Iraq and satisfy American pride in Syria. This is a policy that we should support: the Greeks could have saved lives and money by stopping at Salamis, but they are remembered for Gaugamela and the Hydaspes.