At second debate, a monster calls

If there was the tiniest doubt left in your mind that Donald Trump holds no regard for the principles and ideals of a representative democracy—or that he views this country as anything more than a podium for his grandstanding ego, base dictatorial instincts and gutter mentality—Sunday night’s debate should have shot that shred of doubt straight to hell.

It was not enough for Trump that he continue to slime our airwaves and the Internet with his offensive rants and tweets or that he responded to the 2005 videotape of his sexist, brutish behavior with a non-apology apology that segued into yet another attack on the Clintons. Which in turn segued into that bizarre, tabloid-style press conference just before Sunday’s debate with four women accusing not only Bill Clinton, but Hillary Clinton as well, of abusive conduct.

Which in turn segued into the debate itself. (The Washington Post reported that the Trump campaign wanted to seat the four accusers in the candidates’ family box so that Bill and Chelsea Clinton would have to confront them but the Commission on Presidential Debates intervened and refused. The women were seated elsewhere in the auditorium.)

This is what Trump and his gang have turned this election into: a cheap, tawdry burlesque; a circus sideshow of freaks and conspiracy nuts that titillates the lowest of the lowest common denominator and has made us the laughingstock of what’s left of the free, thinking world.

This is not to excuse any of Bill Clinton’s past extramarital peccadilloes, or the Clintons’ preservation of the status quo, their bear hug embrace of money and influence. Nor does it let off the hook the members of the press and their corporate higher-ups who egged on this Trump sleaze machine.

But the Republican Party? You brought this on yourselves, boys and girls. For years now you have placed party, power and privilege above patriotism and country, feeding hatred and bigotry to advance your own agenda. Even before that tape came out last Friday, you knew who Trump was and is. You have always known. You just didn’t care as long as it seemed he would lead you to victory.

And so, there he was on the debate stage Sunday night, fresh from his crude and nasty press event with the women accusers, lurking and hulking across the stage like some Presbyterian golem, slinging mud, flagrant falsehoods and invective like so much gorilla dust. Those crass comments he made on the “Access Hollywood” bus? Just locker room talk, he insisted, and not the behavior of a man who regards women as trophies and playthings.

After Sunday’s debate, pundits gave him points for being slightly less ludicrous then he seemed in the first one, and he managed with some effect to work in all the standard anti-Clinton attack lines on Syria, Obamacare and emails.

But mostly, Sunday will go down as the night he accused Hillary Clinton of having “hate in her heart” and being “the devil,” announcing that if elected, he would throw her in jail, like the tinhorn wannabe despot he is. He hurled a kitchen sink containing every dirty pot and pan he could conjure, hoping something, anything, would knock her out. Nothing did. But nothing in that hour-and-a-half knocked him out either.

This is worse than a simple embarrassment. Hurricane Donald has devastated America, tearing us from our foundations and moorings, creating havoc and letting loose the wolves of prejudice, hate, fear and greed.

When this whole sorry mess is—hopefully—settled on Election Night, we all are going to need to conduct some serious inventory, taking a long hard look at ourselves and why this has happened, initiating a national dialogue and putting in place every step necessary to rebuild and save the nation from its near-death experience.

Michael Winship is the Emmy Award-winning senior writer of Moyers & Company and, and a former senior writing fellow at the policy and advocacy group Demos. Follow him on Twitter at @MichaelWinship.

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5 Responses to At second debate, a monster calls

  1. The “left” Democrat, Michael Winship, might also write a similarly disparaging essay on Trump’s major opponent, an ogre with a proven record of profound corruption, greed, mendacity, sadistic violence, and of extremely uncertain health who would be accompanied in the White House by her equally vile husband who’s policies did great damage to our nation in the nineties. There are NO lesser of two evils in this surreal race, Mr. Winship. A vote for either of the duopoly candidates endorses the corrupt, asinine spectacle that we have been subjected to this election year.

  2. We witnessed predator behavior Sunday night that looked like it belonged in horror film…”look out Hillary, he is ready to pounce” was clearly visible in Donald’s body language; I can only wonder what we have devolved into. Are we now reduced to partaking in a smut reality TV show? We watched the reprisal of “Nightmare on Elm Street”.

  3. Of course only American lives matter so the fact that Killary was involved in violent regime changes, the undermining and overthrow of democracies, the deaths of thousands of innocents and patriots, the creation of failed states, war mongering and the reckless demonization of nuclear armed Russia simply to advance her own political aspirations is totally ignored by Winship and so many other self-styled progressive Americans and the boorish buffoon Trump is lambasted though he has done none of the above and thus has to be the lesser evil. ( Not that you couldn’t vote For Jill Stein’s Greens and avoid voting for evil altogether.)

  4. Michael Winship, IMO, is a victim of misdirection in commenting on the Clinton-Trump “debates.” Nicholas Davies, in his Delusions of Worthy Wars, posted here October 14, points us in the right direction: the truth of the matter is that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the acceptable candidates for the Military-Industrial-Complex- or rather, the Hollywood-MSM-Military-Industrial-Complex that is helping bankrupt the nation, and, counterintuitively, the “lady” turns out to be the one who is most gung-ho for perpetuating the series of undeclared wars, despite the impoverishment that feeding the maw of the merchants of death means to the housewives of the nation and their children. The MSM, which overwhelmingly supports her is totally complicit, because she is not only a closet warmonger, but, despite her purely expedient backtracking on TPP, a globalist through and through, who will gladly sacrifice national sovereignty to global corporate interests. It was during her husband’s administration that Glass-Steagall was revoked, when corporations, as “people” could discharge their debts through bankruptcy, but actual people, students, no longer could, and this creature, whose nest has been endlessly feathered by corporations standing in line to give her six-figure checks for an hour’s speech, is anything but inclined to take any of them on. The wonder is that Elizabeth Warren was so easily taken in, but on the whole, The View watchers have been equally duped.
    The challenge is how to fight back when few in Congress have the moral courage to do so, being corporate stooges themselves, and apathetic over the disintegration of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In the Vietnam era, even the chronically imperial-enabling New York Times and Time magazine, to name two, featured articles and pictures of the anti-war Berrigan Brothers chaining themselves to the White House gates in protest; today, when PTSD-suffering Veterans Against War do so, it does not even merit coverage. For Shame!

    Posted on October 14, 2016

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