After what was probably the most humiliating weekend for a presidential campaign in the history of American politics, Donald Trump entered Sunday night’s debate a dead man walking.
You’ve all seen and heard his vulgar and shameful comments from 11 years ago, in a video brought to our attention by the Washington Post. Comments that Trump has ludicrously shrugged off as “locker room banter” — despite the fact that this was not in a locker room, but in a bus surrounded by a television crew while wearing a microphone.
I’d be a hypocrite if said I’ve never objectified women while talking with my friends in private. But I have never — never — heard any one use the language that Trump did in that video. That is not locker room banter. Those are the words of a sick and disgusting man.
Republican politicians have defected en masse from supporting Trump. Robert De Niro wants to kick his ass. And his excuse of “locker room banter” was so weak that even former NFL players have come out against it.
And that was all before Sunday night. To say his campaign was on the fritz is a massive understatement. He was like a defeated character in a Mortal Kombat battle; dazed, on his last legs and waiting for Hillary Clinton to “Finish him” with a final blow.
Democrats tuned in, frothing at the mouth, waiting for it to happen. But it never came.
Instead, Clinton stuck to her initial game plan from the first debate of letting Donald Trump do all the damage to himself. She stayed calm and composed, while Trump sunk to new lows, bringing up her husband’s past indiscretions, and telling his political opponent that if he were president, he’d throw her in jail — a threat that undermines the whole basis of Democracy — all the while lurking menacingly behind her.
All in all, it was a said night for America.
Not many people will look at Hillary Clinton and feel suddenly struck by hope and inspiration. I fully understand that. But Donald Trump will only succeed by convincing us that our country is weak and pathetic, and that we need him to save it. His words conjure nothing but despair and hopelessness.
Why in the world do we need to be subjected to this?
Thankfully, cooler heads have prevailed 24 hours later — as practically every media outlet has declared Clinton the winner of the debate, and are not giving Trump credit for simply being better than his miserable performance in the first debate. A new poll also has Clinton up 11 points.
If one positive emerged from Sunday night’s spectacle, it was not from any of the candidates or the moderators Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz (who did a nice job), but from an undecided voter in a red sweater vest who asked the nominees a question about energy.
His name is Kenneth Bone. And he is our new folk hero.
Sure, it’s a stretch to say that the entertainment provided by one folksy-looking, unfortunately-named man was enough to cancel out the tumult of the debate, but we will take anything at this point.