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Op-Ed: Donald Trump loses debate, beaten badly by Clinton and himself

Trump out debated

In the boxing world it was as if Ali (Laila Ali, Muhammad’s boxing daughter) went up against an ill-tempered Donald Duck. The blustering self-proclaimed billionaire not only got pounded by Hillary Clinton he beat up upon himself. His own worst enemy, there were moments he seemed to lose his composure, in particular — what irony! — when he angrily argued that his greatest strength is his temperament.

Note to the Donald: You’re not in Kansas anymore (read: the GOP primaries). Last night was the real deal. You weren’t up against a stage full of inexperienced debaters, so many that all you had to do was provide a sound bite and then take 10 minutes off. You were up against a seasoned debater whose gone womano v. mano more often than Sarah Palin has spoken coherently, and against real intellects (i.e. Obama, Sanders) who know policy better than you know personal insults.

Here’s this: For Trump to think a lack of preparation would be viewed as a virtue shows his arrogance and for him to think hyperbole and repetition combined with a lack of policy were viable tools to employ shows his ignorance.

Now for something loopy: He interrupted her 51 times (he kept it down to 34 lies) but did himself more harm than good. He interrupted to admit he pays no taxes by saying it “makes me smart” and when she noted he cheered the collapse of the housing market, a tragedy that cost millions their homes, because he knew he’d make money off of it, he butted in to say “that’s called business, by the way.”

Humph. Does being smarmy work?

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Clinton’s war room must have gone wild with glee when he interrupted to say that avoiding paying people who had done work for him was good for his profit margin. He and his companies have been in over 3,500 lawsuits, often to avoid paying workers. In June reporter Steve Reilly of USA Today did an in-depth piece on how often Trump has refused to pay his bills.

“The actions in total paint a portrait of Trump’s sprawling organization frequently failing to pay small businesses and individuals, then sometimes tying them up in court and other negotiations for years,” Reilly wrote. “In some cases, the Trump teams financially overpower and outlast much smaller opponents, draining their resources.”

He interrupted her to say he did not say that climate change was a hoax invented by China but not only has he said it, he’s tweeted it. He also interrupted by leaning into the mic to say “wrong” after she’d made a statement that was verifiably true. Sometimes he jumped in to inject pointless bleats, almost nonsensical.

That war room surely broke into dance — and who could blame them? — when Trump mocked her for “deciding to stay home” in order to prepare for the debate. Her reply slayed him: “I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate,” she deadpanned. “And, yes, I did.

“And you know what else I prepared for?” she added. “I prepared to be president. And I think that’s a good thing.”

Lack of debating skill

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He went on numerous blusters that were repetitive in the extreme and devoid of anything resembling substance. His are the debating skills of a drunken neighbor droning on about how the world would be better if only he ran things. Just months ago it would have seemed unfathomable to consider someone could win the nomination of a major U.S. party and debate like this:

So we have to get very, very tough on cyber and cyber warfare. It is — it is a huge problem. I have a son. He’s 10 years old. He has computers. He is so good with these computers, it’s unbelievable. The security aspect of cyber is very, very tough. And maybe it’s hardly doable.

Or use odd syntax while bringing up a subject matter like the following:

You know, Hillary is hitting me with tremendous commercials. Some of it’s said in entertainment. Some of it’s said — somebody who’s been very vicious to me, Rosie O’Donnell, I said very tough things to her, and I think everybody would agree that she deserves it and nobody feels sorry for her.

And there were rambling, self-aggrandizing trips he went upon such as this one, in which the point seems to be that he opened a club that did not discriminate against people of color, as opposed to other ventures of his that did:

I’ll go one step further. In Palm Beach, Florida, tough community, a brilliant community, a wealthy community, probably the wealthiest community there is in the world, I opened a club, and really got great credit for it. No discrimination against African-Americans, against Muslims, against anybody. And it’s a tremendously successful club. And I’m so glad I did it. And I have been given great credit for what I did. And I’m very, very proud of it. And that’s the way I feel. That is the true way I feel.

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There was some suggestion on CNN that he either won or at the least held his own in the first 20 to 30 minutes of the debate, but I didn’t get that. He began losing his cool and sniffling loudly (health karma?) within minutes. The facial gestures and sighs and interruptions were there almost from the start, as was his penchant for talking over the hapless moderator, Lester Holt.

If repeating his shop-worn mantra that she’s been in government 30 years – which isn’t actually true – and the U.S. still has problems is good debating, then okay. But that will only play to his supporters.

Most of us know life doles out problems that often we cannot anticipate and we must work to solve them. M. Scott Peck told us that in The Road Less Traveled 38 years ago. Most of us also know that by virtually every measurable standard over the past 8 years the Democrats have improved the lot of the average American.

And when are we free of problems? As analyst Paul Begala said on CNN last night when talking about the same subject, we’re free of all problems when we’re dead. Government’s can’t create Nirvanas, that’s life Don, GOP, get used to it already.

The debate polls

The alt-right has taken up the task of picking up what pieces they can to trump up their candidate, telling their adherents on their ‘news’ sites and blogs where to find online post-debate polls they can vote in from their device. And already as media points out the obvious, that Trump was totally trounced, they are pointing to their categorically unscientific polls and screaming bias.

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Let ’em eat cake. Anyone with a grain of reason knows. And when the real polls conducted over the next few days come out and show her numbers going up, they’ll still scream. But in the polarized world that is America, logic and reality are out the window for some, they don’t get it because they’ve allowed fear and spite to win their hearts.

Finally, it can be illuminating to wander through online comments on the debate. In addition to The Trump Trolls trying to salvage something out of his dismal, his decidedly disastrous performance, I loved reading those many Trump supporters who jumped upon the conspiracy bandwagon.

One theory out there on websites visited by the mentally deficient is particularly amusing. They claim that Clinton and Holt had a series of hand gestures worked out so she could let the moderator know when it was time to ask her a certain question so she could win a brilliant point. That’s mental, right?

Another claimed a conspiracy existed to sabotage his mic. He, of course begin that controversy by claiming in an interview Tuesday morning that his mic wasn’t working properly and speculating that something had been intentionally done to it. No one else noticed and he was easily heard.

Now when it comes to calling out the Donald and his terrible tirades and to comment on the debate and his having been eviscerated by Hillary, I cannot match reader Ronald Harvey Walker, who commented at the bottom of a story in the Globe and Mail. Walker did a wonderful job of cutting to the core:

It was jolly good fun watching Killary carving up the pumpkin last night. She schooled him good and proper. I especially enjoyed his hypocritical prattle about bringing jobs back to the U.S.A. Perhaps he can lead by example and bring his manufacturing back home first? The first debate solidified that orange man is an empty vessel. Only the most obtuse partisan troglodyte will call his pathetic performance on the debate stage a win. And what’s with the serious scowl all night? Does he believe that makes him presidential? He opens his face, words flow, but he says nothing. The man is a sick joke.

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Let’s end where we began but with more ammunition: By no reasonable standard did Donald Trump win the first presidential debate and in fact, as you can see, he lost badly. And should reason have anything to do with it he will likewise lose the White House.

But alas there is a caveat emptor at play here and it is this: there is no guarantee that reason will make an appearance on November 8. Because it is of course, America, land of the free – free to be as nasty and as dumb-ass as you like.

So yes, he can still win the presidency.

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