One candidate came prepared. The other was winging it.
That’s the thing with Clinton’s candidacy. Sometimes the bar is just so low. And indeed Clinton has been a weak candidate.
Unable in some core sense to close the deal so far with people you do expect to vote for her people who voted for Barack Obama, people who are appalled by Donald Trump.
The first female Democratic nominee hasn’t been able to drive a wide gender gap.
But Hillary Clinton has participated in 35 presidential debates — 26 in 2007 and 2008, nine in 2015 and 2016. She has shied away from press conferences but exercised with a steady diet of interviews with people kind of like Lester Holt — Charlie Rose, David Muir, Matt Lauer, etc. She’s been working on federal government policy her whole life and knows a lot about it.
Donald Trump, by contrast, did as well as you could be expected to perform in a presidential debate when you are totally winging it. He has some great riffs, on NAFTA and airports. But he was constantly reacting and spent much of his airtime responding in detail to Clinton’s attacks.