Thursday, October 20, 2016
Well, it's official; there will be no more times this year that we will have to hear Donald Trump lie, yell and insult his way through a debate. And, given recent polling numbers, we probably never will hear him debate again. However the election turns out, for that we can all be grateful. (Although, sadly, I doubt he will disappear after losing).
Yes, the third debate was held last night, and, as with the first debate, Trump manged to appear Presidential and give reasonably normal responses for the first part of it. But then, somewhere around the half hour mark, when his ADD started to kick in, and the fact that he was losing to a girl hit him full in the face, he reverted to the campaign Trump, the same man that his supporters all love and the rest of America can't stand.
He had all his usual tricks: the garbled, almost incoherent sentence syntax, the rambling, flailing attacks, all sprinkled with rude comments and crazy conspiracies. At one point he huffed that Hillary Clinton shouldn't have even been allowed to run for the Presidency (uh, she's over 35 and was born in the US, so criteria met), and, in a brand new conspiracy, claimed that Clinton and President Obama paid people to start fights and cause trouble at his rallies. (At least I think that's what he was saying, his phrasing of it was quite muddy. ) So far the mainstream media hasn't even mentioned this odd line of attack that, if true, would be a major, perhaps even criminal, scandal. From any other candidate, this charge would be big news, but when you're dealing with a man who has set records for the amount of lies he tells in each speech, it was just another addition to the long list of conspiracy theories that he has mentioned and possibly endorsed, from Birtherism to the death of Vince Foster.
The most chilling moment came when moderator Chris Wallace asked whether or not he would accept the results of the election; this was no idle question. Recently at campaign rallies Trump has stated repeatedly that the election was rigged against him. Like a schoolyard bully that cries and yells "you're cheating!" when he starts to lose a game, the narcissistic Trump can't believe that not everybody thinks he's as wonderful as he does. And so, Trump categorically refused to say whether or not he would accept that the election results were legitimate, jokingly remarking that "I will keep you in suspense" about that, a comment that Clinton rightfully described as "horrifying". His statement oddly flies in the face of recent statements made by his own Vice Presidential running mate and his daughter, not to mention common sense and reason.
This is uncharted water; although Al Gore called for a recount of the state of Florida in the 2000 Presidential election, that was after the election, when reports of voter repression and irregularities were widespread. Trump is the first Presidential candidate ever to question an election's outcome weeks before election day, setting another sad precedent in his candidacy. This is why Hillary Clinton needs to win big (or bigly, as Trump would say). If her victory includes not only the usual blue states and swing states, but a few red states as well, it would show Trump's assertions to be the childish tantrums that they are; while voter fraud, if it existed, might be able to swing some very close states, it couldn't possibly change an election won by millions (or even tens of millions) of votes. To steal an election by that many votes would require a massive expenditure of time and money, and even Trump's most staunch defenders couldn't say that she stole an election at that level. And then hopefully he will retreat to his tower and pout alone while the world moves on without him.