While Donald Trump, as some pundits are proclaiming, may have stemmed the tide of Republicans jumping off his sinking ship with his performance last night, and while some say he thus “won” the debate because he lost no support but didn’t gain any, I disagree.
I’ll agree he performed better than the first debate (comparing Trump to Trump) but last night he did two things that are anathema to our political process:
- 90 minutes before he walked on the stage to “debate” Hillary Clinton he, the presidential candidate of a major American political party, sat in a conference room and introduced women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct and then tried to get them seated with his family in the hall, which would have created that moment when they would have crossed paths with Bill Clinton on stage and forced him to confront them.
- The other though was far worse. He, the presidential candidate of a major American political party, promised that if he wins the election, he will put his opponent in jail. Like any two-bit banana republic dictator would do.
Whatever else he may have said last night, that was the deal breaker on winning the debate (let alone winning any new votes or, I hope, the election). I know that many Americans hold a hatred for the Clintons and think they are criminals and liars. Some even think they are murderers. Despite no proof. I know people who believe that — smart, successful people who believe that. They are not “deplorables” in any sense of the word. But they believe the Clintons have murdered people.
Do we really want a candidate for president of the United States promising to put his opponent in jail without a trial or even being charged with something criminal?
I had other stuff I was going to write about last night. From the sublime — something on policy because there actually were a couple of statements on real policy or his choosing to stand with Vladimir Putin on a point rather than his vice presidential running mate — to the ridiculous, kind of half-wanting Bill Clinton, when he shook hands with Melania Trump, to grab her pussybow blouse, because apparently Donald thinks worse than that is okay so may as well do it to his wife.
But all of that fades into the word work with Trump’s promise to put Hillary in jail.
That is not the way the American process works. For that alone, Donald Trump should lose this election. For his desire to toss away more than 200 years of our history, of running elections to settle our political differences, not holding trials. Which makes us the admiration of the world. If he thinks that’s the way the political process should work, I suggest he go live in one of those countries where it’s acceptable.
He would find himself at the other end of the threat.