Last night’s presidential debate was, by comparison, a moderately composed portrait of Trump. The comparison, of course, is to the GOP primary debates where, among other things, he made reference to the size of his penis. Anyone who saw those debates was not surprised last night by Trump’s lack of focus and reasoning ability, his inability to hear and answer a question, his lack of detail and poor command of policy, his childish facial expressions and repetitions, his tired refrains, his interruptions and 7th grade hand motions and delivery style, and his continued sense that he belongs on the stage for the highest executive office in the world. This is old news.
So what was new? What was new was his ability to strike an occasional sympathetic note with his opponent. This seems his best strategy at this point, to simply take the consensus approach. The other new things were his informal interruptions that actually directly responded to real points of reasonable substance. Trump openly admitted that he (a) didn’t pay taxes at least once (he said “that makes me smart”), (b) took advantage of the recession (he said “that’s called business”), and (c) has failed to pay workers if he can get away with it through litigation. These three admissions alone ought to be sufficient in any rational world to be discussed and condemned, but they won’t because Trump supporters are immune to reason.
The litany of Trump’s sick and sycophantic bona fides is getting really long at this point, but the most apt thing he’s said is that he could shoot someone in the street and his loyal base would still vote for him. This has proven true to a degree I don’t think even he could have imagined–even Ted Cruz has found Trump’s transgressions against his father and wife forgivable. Trump has cleared the bar by burying it.
His comment that he has a wonderful temperament drew laughter, as it should.