Just before last night’s debate, right after Donald Trump held a sexual-assault themed press conference at which he refused to answer questions about his own advocacy for sexual assault, it felt like America had finally had enough. The number of Republican leaders that disowned their presidential nominee swelled to more than 160, Trump’s own running mate was apparently wavering, and the candidate himself was said to be sulking around his opulent bunker like a dictator with one choice left.
But this beautiful aircraft carrier of dogshit that we call Democracy doesn’t turn on a dime, and Trump got on stage and sniffed and lied and threatened to throw Hillary Clinton in jail, and walked off with the satisfaction of knowing that America will have to endure another month of this.
Trump did not win so much as continue to avoid our shockingly low threshold for what we consider to be failure (this is a problem!). He did not cry or throw a microphone in Anderson Cooper’s face or say any of the things we will probably keep seeing him say on video tapes desperately mailed to journalists from people who likely have trouble sleeping at night (everyone).
Instead he loomed over Clinton while she answered questions like a predator, someone who is not listening to what their opponent is saying because why would you? Just shove them to the ground.
Here’s the debate where Donald Trump tries to not look like a sexual predator. pic.twitter.com/N5hSGtLSGk
— Jake Beckman (@jakebeckman) October 10, 2016
What. Is. He. Doing. pic.twitter.com/6uE8sf09ul
— James West (@jameswest2010) October 10, 2016
When Cooper pointed to Trump’s 2005 claim that fame leads him to kiss women without their consent and “grab them by the pussy,” Trump denied saying anything about sexual assault and started talking about ISIS. “That was something that happened,” he conceded, when pressed on the point, before turning to his opponent’s husband.
“If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse. Mine are words, and his was action. His was what he’s done to women,” Trump said. “There’s never been anybody in the history politics in this nation that’s been so abusive to women. So you can say any way you want to say it, but Bill Clinton was abusive to women.”
This is the time for the nation to talk about what it means that a sexually abusive man will live in that White House no matter who wins.
— Kiese (@KieseLaymon) October 10, 2016
A question from a Muslim member of the audience about how Trump would counter the real affects of his hatemongering led to the revelation that practicing Islam gives you a preternatural ability to predict terrorists attacks and that our country’s Muslims weren’t reporting them.
“Well, you’re right about Islamophobia, and that’s a shame. But one thing we have to do is we have to make sure that — because there is a problem. I mean, whether we like it or not, and we could be very politically correct, but whether we like it or not, there is a problem. And we have to be sure that Muslims come in and report when they see something going on. When they see hatred going on, they have to report it.”
I’m a Muslim, and I would like to report a crazy man threatening a woman on a stage in Missouri. #debate
— Moustafa Bayoumi (@BayoumiMoustafa) October 10, 2016
Trump’s patented Word Slurry™ was yet again accented by his incessant sniffing and penchant for interrupting Clinton before she could gain enough momentum to deal decisive blows.
“It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country,” Clinton said.
“Because you’d be in jail,” Trump interjected, as members of the audience, bile coursing through their veins, applauded.
Winning candidates don’t threaten to put opponents in jail. Presidents don’t threaten prosecution of individuals. Trump is wrong on this.
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) October 10, 2016
Cooper and Martha Raddatz were credited with asking “sharp questions” and keeping the candidates on task, but simple rebuttals of Trump’s lie only led to more Slurry, which is much harder to fact-check and even harder to listen to for ninety minutes. As Raddatz attempted to explain military strategy to Trump, he wondered aloud, “How stupid is our country?”
COOPER: Mr. Trump, let me follow up with you. In 2008, you wrote in one of your books that the most important characteristic of a good leader is discipline. You said, if a leader doesn’t have it, quote, “he or she won’t be one for very long.” In the days after the first debate, you sent out a series of tweets from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m., including one that told people to check out a sex tape. Is that the discipline of a good leader?
TRUMP: No, there wasn’t check out a sex tape. It was just take a look at the person that she built up to be this wonderful Girl Scout who was no Girl Scout.
COOPER: You mentioned sex tape.
TRUMP: By the way, just so you understand, when she said 3 o’clock in the morning, take a look at Benghazi. She said who is going to answer the call at 3 o’clock in the morning? Guess what? She didn’t answer it, because when Ambassador Stevens…
COOPER: The question is, is that the discipline of a good leader?
TRUMP: … 600 — wait a minute, Anderson, 600 times. Well, she said she was awake at 3 o’clock in the morning, and she also sent a tweet out at 3 o’clock in the morning, but I won’t even mention that…
Did Crooked Hillary help disgusting (check out sex tape and past) Alicia M become a U.S. citizen so she could use her in the debate?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2016
When asked if she thought Trump was qualified, Hillary Clinton answered with a simple, “No.”
On and on it went, with Trump insisting that Clinton has “tremendous hatred” and Clinton maintaining an air of calm detachment, until the final question from a man who insists on ending his deadly serious contests with some kind of canned civility, as if this is a pee wee soccer match with orange slices and not the fate of his fucking grandchildren.
My question to both of you is, regardless of the current rhetoric, would either of you name one positive thing that you respect in one another?
Clinton pointed to Trump’s children, Trump noted that Hillary “doesn’t quit,” and Billy Bush remains the only man in the video released on Friday that has suffered any actual consequences.
— Mike Pence (@mike_pence) October 10, 2016