"Officer, they're looting the Food King!"
Estimates are that between 80 and 100 million people watched the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Monday, September 26. That was the lowest point in the race (for Hillary supporters; or the closest the two candidates had been, in the polls, if you prefer) since July 30, according to 538.com.
The gap between Clinton and Trump has only widened since then. Do debates matter? Normally, no. Mitt Romney didn't turn the tide in the first debate against Obama, although many thought that debate a disaster for the President. But Donald Trump turned in a performance for the ages, one many thought the worst ever for a candidate.
And then he doubled down on it. For the past three days he has been bringing up. on his own, the former Miss Universe, in a manner sure to endear him to undecideds and women voters everywhere. Now he is reportedly trying to get his supporters to bring up Monica Lewinsky every chance they get, because clearly a woman who can't keep her man from wandering and unzipping his pants with other women, is not a woman fit to be President.
Again, a surely winning issue for Mr. Trump.
His "surrogates" don't want to do this. They would rather he talk about the economy and security issues, the thinks they are sure voters are concerned about. Some even say the fault lies with Lester Holt for not asking the right questions at the debate; but Trump never raised those issues either. He interrupted frequently, snorted derisively, rose to the bait every time Mrs. Clinton dangled it, and yet it is someone else's fault he looked the fool.
It always is.
Will the next two debates matter? Yes, if only to confirm the train wreck. Donald Trump will end his campaign with those debates. Early voting has already started in Iowa, with the first debate fresh on everyone's mind, and Trump seizing the headlines to complain about how a former Miss Universe has so abused him; when he isn't talking about expelling non-conservative Christians from his rallies. But, just like he didn't bring up Bill Clinton's infidelities at the first debate, in a manly show of restraint, he won't expel non-conservative Christians from his rallies.
Well, not yet; but don't try his patience. Or question his manliness; or anything else about him; like his success in the debate. He will insist on his view, and damn reality.
Which has its own ways of damning those who insist on denying it.