Fox's Chris Wallace dashed Trump's hopes for a comeback on November 8 by early on, I think it was the second question, asking about the candidates' position on abortion and their commitment to Roe v. Wade. Trump said that for all intents and purposes Roe v. Wade would be overturned if he were to become president. He danced around it a little, didn't want to come out and articulate a simple declarative sentence because he knows the issue locks in place the enormous gender gap Hillary enjoys in the polls, but the damage was done. The election was essentially decided right then and there,
The highlight for The New York Times is that "Trump Won’t Say if He Will Accept Election Results," which I suppose is the right headline given how bad the debate was and the status of the paper as a Clinton campaign organ. But the idea that Trump will lead some sort of insurrection after election day is ludicrous; like so much that Trump does, it is all petulance and bluster.
For me, the big takeaway from last night was Hillary's lunatic rant on Russia, as follows:
WALLACE: Secretary Clinton, I want to clear up your position on this issue, because in a speech you gave to a Brazilian bank, for which you were paid $225,000, we’ve learned from the WikiLeaks, that you said this, and I want to quote. “My dream is a hemispheric common market with open trade and open borders.” So that’s the question...
TRUMP: Thank you.
WALLACE: That’s the question. Please quiet, everybody. Is that your dream, open borders?
CLINTON: Well, if you went on to read the rest of the sentence, I was talking about energy. You know, we trade more energy with our neighbors than we trade with the rest of the world combined. And I do want us to have an electric grid, an energy system that crosses borders. I think that would be a great benefit to us.
But you are very clearly quoting from WikiLeaks. And what’s really important about WikiLeaks is that the Russian government has engaged in espionage against Americans. They have hacked American websites, American accounts of private people, of institutions. Then they have given that information to WikiLeaks for the purpose of putting it on the Internet.
This has come from the highest levels of the Russian government, clearly, from Putin himself, in an effort, as 17 of our intelligence agencies have confirmed, to influence our election.
CLINTON: So I actually think the most important question of this evening, Chris, is, finally, will Donald Trump admit and condemn that the Russians are doing this and make it clear that he will not have the help of Putin in in this election, that he rejects Russian espionage against Americans, which he actually encouraged in the past? Those are the questions we need answered. We’ve never had anything like this happen in any of our elections before.
TRUMP: That was a great pivot off the fact that she wants open borders, OK? How did we get on to Putin?
WALLACE: Hold on — hold on, wait. Hold on, folks. Because we — this is going to end up getting out of control. Let’s try to keep it quiet so — for the candidates and for the American people.How is Hillary's sidestep of the WikiLeaks material by invoking the Putin bogeyman any different from Tailgunner Joe McCarthy's "I have here in my hand a list . . ." of known communists?
When Trump kept repeating that Putin does not respect Hillary, that Putin is her better, I thought Hillary would go lupine. Her cheeks reddened, her eyes moistened, her mouth opened -- did her snout start to protrude?
This of course is no laughing matter. Hillary once again repeated her Syria no-fly/safe zone mantra. When Wallace reminded Clinton of Joint Chiefs Chairman Dunford's assessment that a no-fly zone in Aleppo Province means war with Russia, she absurdly sidestepped and said that, well, of course there would be negotiations first.
It came to me in an incandescent moment last night that if it is true that a Russian state agency is behind the hacks of Democrats that have ended up with WikiLeaks it is a proportional response to The Panama Papers, which like the White Helmets, has CIA written all over it.
Say what you will about Russia, good or bad, the pattern we have seen over the last several years is that the nation is mostly reactive -- Syria and Ukraine being prime examples. It is not instigating all this mayhem. That would be the United States and its various allies in the Middle East.