Thursday, October 20, 2016

Debate #3 Thoughts: Game Over

Donald Trump lost whatever chance he had of winning the election last night, and Hillary Clinton won.

Whatever marks you may give either of them for staying on message, which Ms. Clinton did despite Mr. Trump’s continued boorish and odd behavior, including the return of the Snort and the interruptions, the crucial moment came when moderator Chris Wallace asked Mr. Trump if he would concede the election gracefully if he lost.  And Mr. Trump did not say what everyone else in his campaign, including his daughter and his running mate, not to mention every other losing candidate has said since we started having elections, which is “Yes.”  He basically said, “I’ll get back to you.”

Don’t bother, Mr. Trump.  You’ve lost whatever legitimacy you have to claim a place in this election.  If you can’t accept the basic premise that standing for election includes the possibility of losing and the need to concede, you forfeit your place on the ballot even if your name is still there.  That’s how this system works, and when the electorate included you for consideration, they expected you to accept the fact that there is both the possibility and the requirement that you might have to concede defeat.  If you can’t do that, then you shouldn’t have been in the race to begin with.

Last night’s performance revealed nothing new in terms of positions or policy.  All it did was reinforce impressions garnered about both candidates that have been forming since the end of the primaries.  So this was nothing more than like watching a high-wire act at the circus where we hope to see the performer make it through their routine without falling but are secretly thrilled when they stumble so we can see how they recover or bear witness to their fall.  Hillary Clinton made it across with grace and barely a slip while Donald Trump got halfway there then decided to turn a corner and on the way down screamed “Net?  Who needs a net?”

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