To steal an old line from satirist/songwriter Tom Lehrer, the political demise of Donald Trump leaves Republicans “feeling like a Christian Scientist with appendicitis.”
Trump began his free fall with the first Presidential debate when his bluster and out-of-control shenanigans started people reconsidering even a thought of voting for him in the 2016 Presidential election.
The failed casino owner doubled down on his tactics, open insulting a Gold Star couple who lost a son in combat, heaping childish slime on a beauty contest winner and, then, got caught on tape openly admitting he is a sleaze who sexually assaults women.
His rants diminished somewhat in the second debate but he came apart in just under 30 minutes in the hour and a half third and final debate, threatening to attempt to undermine Democracy by refusing to conceded and continuing to rag on his fantasy claims that any election he loses is rigged and he is a victim of a “giant global conspiracy.”
Reflections of various observers of Trump’s third and final debate, told to Politico:
“Wednesday night was Trump’s last opportunity…and he failed,” said Republican national media strategist Rick Wilson. “Wednesday night was Donald Trump’s last opportunity to make a decision about whether he was going to play to his limited and angry Breitbart base, or if he was going to make one swing at being a dignified adult and to show presidential character. He chose the former, and by his comments about not respecting the democratic process, he cued his supporters up for something very ugly come election night.”
“With his announcement that he won’t commit to respecting the result of the election, Trump surrendered whatever shreds remained of his credibility,” said Jacob Heilbrunn, editor of the National Interest.
“Yes, the election ended Wednesday night. Donald Trump came into this fight needing a knockout punch—and he got it. Unfortunately, it was a stiff uppercut to his own jaw. He should be disqualified for suggesting he might not accept the results of the election, the kind of statement that is poisonous, if not treasonous, in a democracy,” added Drew Westen, professor of psychology at Emery University and author of The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding The Fate of the Nation.
“What we will remember from this election is this: The Trump nomination and vigorous, if losing, campaign in the general election could well mark the end of the Republican Party as we know it. Time will tell,” says Douglas Schoen, founding partner and principal strategist for Penn, Schoen and Berland. Schoen was also a pollster for Bill Clinton.
“This cake is baked. Any hope that Donald Trump could deliver a game-changing last-ditch final debate performance was dashed when he refused to accept the Election Day results. Everyone except for the most delusional Trump supporter knows that Hillary Clinton will be the next president,” says Bill Scher, senior writer at the Campaign for America’s Future.
Trump’s failure, of course, means little to his diminishing core of steadfast supporters. We saw that on Thursday with Facebook members. They came up with excuses. One published a fake “news” item from a often-discredited web site claiming Hillary Clinton had a secret teleprompter during the debate. Snopes.com quickly proved it was a lie.
In 18 days from this writing, the national joke called Campaign 2016 will be over but the screaming — and perhaps even violence — will continue.
Batten down the hatches. It will be a rocky ride.
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