Is anyone else here trying to wrap their heads around how the past two weeks have gone down since the first Presidential Debate?
We're one day away from the second of the 3 Presidential debates (being held in St. Louis at Washington University in a Town Hall format) and a lot has changed. In the run up to the first debate the big issue was Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's health and whether she could "handle" the Presidency as the polls went to a dead heat between her and Republican nominee Donald Drumpf, I mean Trump (due in part to Clinton claiming half of trump's followers fit in a "basket of deplorables). As we all know, the debate showed Clinton remaining calm and measured for the most part. Even seeming to play a debate equivalent of rope a dope, waiting until the right moment to give her opponent a political pin prick. Trump reacted almost exactly as expected - easily goaded, constantly interrupting both Clinton and debate moderator Lester Holt (who, to his credit, actually asked a couple of good questions and fact checked Drumpf on his flip flop on the Iraq war), and claiming he didn't say things that can be easily proven that he said or tweeted. By the time Clinton mentioned Trump's treatment of former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, the Donald Trump we all knew form the primary race had fully emerged and any chance to pivot was lost.
Now, in the couple days after the debate, polls get analyzed and the candidates do a combination of campaigning and debate prep. Normally this means the candidates will try to keep a slightly lower profile and try not to say anything stupid that could bite them in the ass in the time between them and the election. However, this is not a normal election cycle and nobody predicted what Trump would do next. From his continuing rants on Machado during a next day phone interview to Fox and Friends (when he wasn't asked about her, by the way) to claiming the election will be rigged against him and he might not accept the results of it if he loses (despite claiming otherwise in the debate a few nights earlier), Trump seemed to be digging himself in a hole and under the illusion that he was winning. Sure he could claim he won most of the online polls (which were both unscientific and don't require participants to be even likely voters) but as the week wore on the man his handlers swore would pivot and remain Presidential couldn't help himself. He unleashed a stream of tweets on Machado at 3 in the morning that definitely caused some people to be concerned.
As for Clinton, she kept a low profile these last couple of weeks. Speaking with the press briefly the day after the debate and making a couple of appearances, she seems to be mainly preparing for tomorrow. While a lot of people in the media claimed she won the first debate this makes sense for obvious reasons (i.e.: there are still two more debates that Trump could theoretically win) and with a media expecting her to lose to Trump's lowered standards, she knows what she's up against.
As for week two, it seems the ruckus around Drumpf, I mean Trump, would mellow a bit. The vice Presidential debate found his running mate Mike Pence as a calm contrast (even though he lied much of the night and had to defend DT) with some in the mainstream media claiming Pence "looked Presidential" and that this could be a platform for him in 2020. In a normal campaign this would be a good sign and a step forward. But, as we all know, this isn't a normal race as the media started getting reports from campaign insiders reported that Trump wasn't happy with Pence's performance and "doesn't like to be upstaged." Add to it rumors of refusing to do conventional debate prep while continuing to try and blame the former Secretary of State for her husband's infidelity and it appears that the strategy of giving Donald John Trump a shovel and seeing how far he digs leads the Presidential race to a far different place than it was two weeks ago.
And that was before yesterday, where the media coverage of Trump began with him claiming he still believed the Central Park Five were guilty despite being exonerated by DNA evidence and a confession from the actual rapist. While this once again underscored some of the racist tendencies that seem to be part of the campaign (something not helped by the support of white nationalists for Trump and his sons appearing on white nationalist radio programs as campaign surrogates). However, while this seemed to be a constant factor in the race little did anyone know that a leaked tape was about to change a lot of things.
That tape, and what has gone down since, deserves it's own post. We'll get to that tomorrow.