Liberal Column

Donald Trump begins facing inevitable demise

/ The Daily Orange

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump met at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri Sunday night for the second presidential debate moderated by ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper. The debate took the format of a town hall, with half of the questions coming from audience members and the other half from the moderators.

Trump began the debate sounding as though he had taken a high-grade sedative before coming out on stage, and that wandering demeanor did not change throughout the night.

Trump tried to divert attention onto Bill Clinton’s prior indiscretions along with Hillary’s emails. He attacked Obamacare while continuing to present no alternative. He dodged questions about his Muslim immigrant ban, and continued to lie about being against the Iraq War. Trump wandered both verbally and physically, continuing his inability to focus on the question at hand.

Trump also seemed to be in greater conflict with the moderators than with Clinton on many occasions: neither Cooper nor Raddatz allowed Trump to interrupt Clinton and he repeatedly complained about being held to his 2-minute time limits. All of this showed a lack of maturity consistent with Trump’s character over the course of the campaign, although he seemed especially focused on playing the victim tonight.

Clinton clearly understood that rather than directly attacking Trump, the best way to damage him would be to let his bad character speak for itself. One of her first statements was a simple, stinging rebuke to Trump’s biggest scandals yet: Trump was caught on a video obtained by The Washington Post having a vulgar, sexually-explicit conversation with Billy Bush in 2005.

Even party leaders like RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have condemned the comments, though they stopped short of going against Trump himself.

Republican and Democrats alike seem to recognize what may be a sorry end to the Donald Trump campaign.

“What we all saw and heard on Friday was Donald talking about women. What he thinks about women. What he does to women,” Clinton said. “He has said that the video doesn’t represent who he is….we saw him after the first debate spend nearly a week denigrating a former Miss Universe in the harshest, most personal terms, so, yes, this is who Donald Trump is.”

Following the trend of the first debate, the night could not have gone much better for Clinton. She was poised, intelligent and seemed to follow Michelle Obama’s advice, “When they go low, we go high.” On the other end of the spectrum, Trump seemed aggressive, unfocused, and generally uncomfortable on the stage.

Trump’s unhinged demeanor appeared like a wounded animal lashing out in one fleeting attempt to realign his campaign. But most of his punches missed the mark, and he was left without ammunition or recourse. To paraphrase T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Hollow Men,” this is the way his campaign ends, not with a bang but with a whimper.

Cole Jermyn is a sophomore environmental resource engineering major and economics minor at SUNY-ESF. He can be reached at cdjermyn@syr.edu and followed on Twitter @Cjermyn8.

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