The final debate is over now and this presidential election is officially in the home stretch. As it comes down to the wire it is increasingly apparent the luxury cruise ship S.S. Trump is taking on heavy water and listing precariously.
A CNN/ORC snap poll taken immediately after the proceedings in Las Vegas showed 52% of the people who saw it believed Hillary Rodham Clinton won the affair compared to 39% who thought Donald Trump did. There can be little doubt sometime before today is over Brother Trump will say the results of survey were rigged.
Why wouldn't he? He has a long, proud, history of saying things are rigged when they don't break his way. He did in high school when he accused a study partner of cheating on a chemistry test after the kid got a better grade on it than he did. He howled about the Emmy awards being rigged when his show, "The Apprentice," either didn't win, or was nominated. Hell, the guy spent the entire primary season complaining the GOP nomination process was rigged. His bellyaching continued right up to the moment in Cleveland when he won the damned thing.
Now, as we all know, he's saying it's the general election which will be rigged. He is fixated on the notion, not because of any verifiable facts, but because his campaign is in deep shit. No amount of proof, or indisputable data can, or will dissuade him from this conclusion.
Why? Because his run amok narcissism won't allow it. In his demented brain, the only way Donald John Trump can lose at anything is because dark forces plot against him.
This monstrous ego is what led him to self immolate last night. When asked by Chris Wallace if he would accept the election results if he lost he said, "I will look at it at the time. I'm not looking at anything now. I'll look at it at the time."
The dumbstruck Wallace even offered him a second chance to get it right, but Trump went all in by saying he'd keep not only Wallace, but the nation "in suspense."
Secretary Clinton immediately called the answer, "horrifying." The post debate chatter last night was dominated by shock and speculation over what Trump's words would mean for the nation after the election if he refused to concede defeat.
It isn't clear what Trump was trying to accomplish by saying what he did. However, the immediate affect of it was to allow the talking heads, especially on MSNBC, to avoid admitting that for the first half hour, Donald Trump actually looked and sounded more presidential than he has in the past 18 months. It isn't that he necessarily won the first half hour, but at least he stuck to the issues and articulated them as well as any other conservative might.
Of course, Trump being--well--Trump, it went down hill from there.
It was quickly obvious that beyond right wing talking points about the Supreme Court, gun control, and abortion Trump's depth of knowledge regarding issues paled in comparison to Mrs. Clinton's.
Her mastery of details seemed to leave him confused and defensive and opened him up to a series of sharp jabs which, if he had a response at all, it seemed to come straight from a 6th grade school yard.
When she said Putin liked him because he wanted a puppet in the White House, Trump's only answer was, "No puppet. No puppet. You're the puppet. No, you're the puppet."
After she suggested he would be trying to get out of paying taxes, he leaned into the microphone and said, "Such a nasty woman."
Ah yes, so much for looking presidential.
It became so bad, after Clinton attacked his attitudes toward women and he replied, "No one has more respect for women than I do," the audience laughed.
My God, what must have been going through his mind at the moment? Whatever it was, the ego was back this morning. Earlier today at a rally in Ohio he told the faithful he'd absolutely accept the results of the election--if he wins.
Even though Don Trump won't admit it, he knows he lost last night. We can be sure he believes it, because in a tweet today he hinted the debate had been--yes, you guessed it--rigged. He wrote Mrs. Clinton received a question to be asked in advance, thereby letting her rehearse her response. The Commission on Presidential Debates quickly sent out an email stating the only person in the world who knew the questions to be asked was the moderator, Chris Wallace.
When faced with the truth, El Don, in true Trump fashion, walked back the accusation by claiming he was referring to a town hall meeting held during the democratic primaries. That would be one he didn't participate in, because, you know, he's a republican, so he wasn't there.
The election is less than three weeks away. Donald Trump looks to be on the ropes, flailing away with dead arms at an energized foe who is up on her toes, as she bobs, weaves, and relentlessly delivers left hooks to the body.
Will there be a knock out punch? Probably not. But, Hillary Rodham Clinton, at this late date, is so far ahead on points only an unforeseen catastrophe will prevent her from winning the bout.
At least that's the call from this side of the ring.