Monday, October 10, 2016

Squirrel-Hair at Debate Two: insufficient to dig his way out - or that of the Pubs

Have already seen lots of "Trump won" takes this morning, but Johathan V. Last at The Weekly Standard looks unflinchingly at what that means:

There is one important sense in which Donald Trump "won" the debate on Sunday night: He did not implode. He wasn't "good," or attractive, or knowledgeable. He was coarse and whiny and unpleasant. He lied constantly. And he became the first presidential candidate in the history of our Republic to promise that if elected he would attempt to have his opponent face criminal prosecution. Actually, he went a bit further than that, telling Clinton that if he is president, "You'd be in jail." Which, by the by, should terrify you and be disqualifying all on its own.
But Trump didn't have a psychotic break onstage. And clearing that bar might be enough to keep Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, and Reince Priebus from publicly disavowing his candidacy this week.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what a win looks like for Trump these days.
We stand at a moment in history where dozens of Republican representatives, senators, and governors have not only publicly vowed not to vote for the Republican nominee but have called on him to vacate the nomination. Where four weeks before Election Day, one-in-four Republican voters want their nominee to drop out of the race. (And that number is almost certain to rise over the next week.)
This is unprecedented. And catastrophic. Before the "grab them by the pus—y" tape, Trump was already down by five points with only four weeks to go. He was behind in Florida. Ditto North Carolina.His deficit in Pennsylvania was nearly double digits.
So the question going into the St. Louis debate wasn't "Can Trump turn the race around?" He cannot. No, the question was: "Can Trump perform well enough to avoid being forced out before Election Day?"
The three men with the power to force Trump's hand are Pence, Ryan, and Priebus. And while none of them are foolish enough to think that Trump has a chance to be president, they may decide after tonight that pushing the self-destruct button on the party's presidential campaign is too risky; that it's better to try to ride out the storm.
Which means that there wasn't really a "winner" at the debate. Clinton was terrible. Trump was marginally worse. But the big loser was the Republican party. Because the worst-case scenario for November 9 is not that Hillary Clinton wins—again, that cake is baked. It's that if the party does not cut Trump loose, then Democrats also take over the Senate. And carry the House.
And then as it attempts to rebuild from the wreckage, the GOP remains buried under its shameful Trumpian legacy.
Indeed. So cold, hard facts about Madame BleachBit's email scandal were put front and center. That's about all we saw in the way of cold, hard facts. There were such grand moments of opportunity - to talk about not just our current tax code or its loopholes, but the basic nature of taxation, and how it has to be handled with great wisdom is basic human freedom is not going to be infringed upon.

But, no, it was, as Iowahawk said in a tweet, and I paraphrase, the contest for the world's brattier baby-boomer.

No huge winner, but Last has the biggest loser pegged.

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