The presidential debate on Wednesday is filled with downside risk for Clinton, and mostly upside risk for Trump. Their high-stakes showdown will be ugly, but will it be decisive?
CHARLOTTE, N.C., October 17, 2016 — With Hillary Clinton ahead of Donald Trump in most national polls, some Clinton supporters have suggested canceling the final presidential debate. That’s unlikely, but the constant drip of WikiLeaks acid and Trump’s unpredictability have convinced those Clinton supporters that the risk in the third debate is mostly downside.
For Trump, badly battered by his own scandals and reeling from a barrage of media negativity, the risk is mostly upside.
Hence weary as Americans are of the mudslinging and charges of corruption and sexual misbehavior, many will watch and wait for the next big surprise to drop. The race can still change, suddenly and dramatically.
Wednesday night is the last time the two candidates will share a stage. After that, there will be nothing left but the mudslinging.
The previous debates will fade in significance following Wednesday’s battle royal. Trump is at a disadvantage, and he knows it. He is a wounded animal with nothing to lose, so he is unlikely to be restrained.
Clinton, on the other hand, must resolve her credibility gap with the voters. If she can appear reasoned and sincere against whatever Trump slings, then she will get her expected landslide.
Trump has to look and act presidential—something he managed only briefly in the first debate and less briefly in the second—while attempting to negate impressions created by news about his sex life, which is far and away “sexier” than anything WikiLeaks has been able to muster so far. The media have given much more coverage to Trump’s failures than to Clinton’s.
Wednesday’s episode of political reality TV has the potential to be the most contentious, nastiest debate in American history. At the very least, it will almost certainly be ugly.
Trump claims the election is “rigged,” in part because media bias clearly favors Clinton.
There is more to it than that, however. This is not a hold-your-nose-and-pull-the-lever election, nor is it a lesser-of-two-evils vote. This is a battle of ideologies, a return to the United States of the founders versus the progressive agenda established by President Obama when he took the oath of office eight years ago.
However the slugfest goes, the country will survive; the question is whether it will be recognizable when the bandages are off.
Numerous women have come out to level accusations at Trump. So, too, did numerous accusers come out of the woodwork against Bill Clinton. Many observers have asked, where have these women been for the past 30 years, and why believe them when the left wouldn’t believe Clinton’s accusers?
Assume that both men are guilty. Then, in essence, that aspect of the story is like off-setting penalties in a football game. Hillary Clinton is not Bill Clinton, but she is where she is today because she stood by her husband and enabled him to outlive the onslaught of scandal. Thus there is plenty of guilt on all sides.
Hillary Clinton has been mired in controversy since her days as first lady of Arkansas. The Clintons have parlayed their celebrity into a multi-million dollar empire, and the only reason for them to continue to drive for the White House again is to effect global policies that perpetuate their politico-economic empire.
Trump is no saint, but he has little to gain by becoming president. Money is no factor. Prestige? Perhaps, but why does a man like Trump need those problems when he could easily enjoy his senior years in comfort without the hassles of Pennsylvania Avenue?
Because he has little to gain by becoming president, for all of his faults, Trump’s deepest commitment truly is to “making America great again.”
If that is the case, given that other things are either equal or go against a Clinton presidency, then, please, give us our country back and let’s get on with being the proud, diverse and creative nation we once were.
Wednesday night will be a brutal mess, followed by two more weeks of scandalous revelations. At least November will finally bring this mess to a merciful conclusion.
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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