In Second Presidential Debate, Donald Trump Brings The Only Game He Has: Political Savagery

Huffington Post: Politics

There will be plenty of time for the Republican party to self-admit to a psychiatric ward or at least to answer the question: what went wrong in 2016, that Donald S. Trump became its candidate to be president of the United States?

For the time being, there is really only one solution to this Frankenstein-ish invention: to defeat Donald Trump at the polls in November so soundly, he never comes back to haunt U.S. politics.

Trump needed to show a measure of contrition, an iota of wisdom, a trace of humility at last night's presidential debate. He brought the only game he had, doubling-down on his liabilities.

Trump didn't grab Hillary by the pussy -- his inclination toward women caught on videotape eleven years ago that he now dismisses as "locker room talk". He did guarantee if elected president to throw her in jail. He was a wounded political animal lurking on stage from one canard to another.

If there are voters who are just now tuning in to the presidential election and genuinely undecided or willing to be persuaded, I highly recommend viewing (available, online) the PBS Frontline documentary, "The Choice 2016".

Frontline compares the different career paths of Trump and Hillary. What surprised -- perhaps I betray my age, here -- is how much we knew and forgot about Trump's well-publicized financial problems in the 1980's and 1990's.

The point is that Trump's business career was a disaster until he discovered he could make more money marketing his name than owning real property.

When Trump's real estate empire collapsed, allowing him to take deductions totaling nearly a billion dollars, the banks who held his debt decided he was too big to fail. Don't confuse that with success. As the documentary describes, the banks kept him alive because Trump's devalued assets were worth more if he was out fluffing their value up, than if they foreclosed on his mortgages and debt and had to find new suckers to buy them.

Last night, the only question was whether Trump would self-destruct on camera, and if he did -- what would that look like. What he accomplished was to turn the "Town Hall" into a reality TV-like cage where political and rhetorical savagery was on full display. I hope it is something we never have to see again.

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