If the presidential race wasn’t already over before last night’s debate started it certain was by the time it ended!
Last night Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton met on the stage of the Thomas and Mack Center on the campus of the University of Nevada – Las Vegas for the third and final debate of the 2016 campaign. All reputable polling had Trump heading for an Electoral College landslide loss to Clinton. All Clinton had to do was play it safe while Trump needed to expand his support by a wide margin. Trump played strictly to the most radical in his base with the possible exception of reaching out a bit to Evangelicals who are single issue anti-choice voters. Clinton “ventured from her corner” more than I expected and in the process tried to increase her support by appealing to suburban women who often vote Republican.
In televised debates image is a lot. The contrast was again stark. We had a smiling Hillary Clinton and a scowling Donald Trump. Trump interrupted Clinton at the 26 minute mark and continued to do so throughout the evening. 25 minutes of discipline (I’m being generous because part of the time was allocated for Trump to speak) is actually an outstanding display of discipline for The Donald.
The most revealing moment of the debate came when moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News pressed Trump for an answer on whether he would accept the results of the election or not and Trump refused to answer in the positive. We have had over 200 years of peaceful transitions of power in large part because the losing contestant conceded the election, pledged their support to the transition of power and asked their backers to do the same. In my lifetime that includes the 1960 and 2000 elections when both Richard Nixon and Al Gore felt the elections had been stolen from them. Nonetheless, they both put country before self.
Trump is nothing but an arrogant member of the Lucky Sperm Cell Club who actually thinks he alone can solve it. In reality he has had life handed to him on a silver platter and tragically doesn’t realize just how fortunate he is!
I can’t review a debate without a comment on the moderator’s performance. I am an outspoken critic of Fox News. I make no secret of that. I have repeatedly stated that I feel Chris Wallace is the best Fox has to offer and the closest thing to a real journalist on that network’s payroll. He did not disappoint me last night. He did a good job of controlling Trump and the audience. He was equally tough (and thereby fair) on both candidates. He asked some tough questions and followed up much more often than not when they tried to avoid answering the question. Trump is extremely arrogant and impossible to completely control. Wallace did the best job of containing him of any moderator this cycle.
To any impartial viewer (and that certainly doesn’t include me) Hillary won the debate handily in substantial part by allowing Trump to keep digging the hole he is in even deeper. Her weakest moment was defending her stance on a no-fly zone in Syria. I disagreed with her on that topic prior to the debate and her answer did nothing to make me change my mind on that issue.
Trump repeated his long debunked lies and simply played to Bubba the entire night. I’m certain his campaign chief Steve Bannon was elated with the performance. That was the inspiration for the title of this article. If Trump is trying to win the Presidency he did a terrible job. If he is setting up an audience for Trump TV he was brilliant.
I will speak a little about substance and issues. This was probably the most substantive of the three debates but that is a lot like the story of the one-eyed man being king in the land of the blind. Climate change got a very brief mention (by Hillary) over an hour into the debate. That is only the second time it was mentioned (the other by Hillary also) during the course of the entire three debates. It borders on criminal that the most pressing problem, (and one both the parties and candidates disagree on), the world faces basically received no air time in the debate series.
I’m much more of an economic junkie than most political junkies, let alone Americans in general but I found it striking that Trump obviously didn’t know the difference between the economic growth rate and the Gross Domestic Product itself. Perhaps a minor point and I’m being picky; then again I remember this is the Baby Boomer who was obviously ignorant of the term “Nuclear Triad”.
Trump is an arrogant, ignorant, self-centered, unpatriotic spoiled brat who should not get anywhere near the White House and last night he proved it in Las Vegas!
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