Tonight following the third Presidential debate the Donald Trump’s candidacy is dead on arrival. Any chance that that he had of reinvigorating his sagging support is now gone. Because Trump is behind in the polls, especially in every swing state, he faced a very difficult task tonight. He not only had to shore up his conservative base; he needed to effectively reach out blacks, Hispanics, and women, especially college educated women. At the same time he also had to discredit Hillary Clinton on the issues and to make good use of his final big opportunity in front of millions of American voters had demonstrate that he has the proper temperament to be President of the United States. And oh yea, he had to win the debate in the eyes of the majority American voters.
When taken all together that is a big ask of any candidate, and Trump failed miserably.
During the first half of tonight’s debate he was a more disciplined candidate. He spouted the standard conservative lingo which might have reassured traditional Republican voters, but I cannot point to a single incident where he reached out to any of the other voters who he absolutely needs to win the election. In fact he doubled down on depicting illegal immigrates with a broad brush as criminals and I am sure that saying there some “bad hombres” out there was not enduring to Hispanics. When asked to address his “locker room talk” and the nine women who came forward to accuse him of the sexual assaults he bragged about, he quickly pivoted to another subject. Also interrupting to call Hillary a “nasty woman” will not earn him points.
Any pretense that Trump has the proper temperament to be President vanished when in the second half of the debate he allowed Hillary to bait him repeatedly into losing his cool, interrupting, and defending himself instead sticking to his talking points. In CNN’s post debate poll 55% thought that Trump does not have the temperament to be President. When asked who performed better on the issues, those polled gave Hillary a narrow 2% edge. In the final analysis, by a 52% to 39% margin those polled indicated that Clinton won the debate.
Trump needed a stunning win in which he achieved all of his objectives and dominated Clinton. Instead, at best Trump failed to move the needle and he probably fell further behind. Presently Hillary leads in the national polls by percentages not seen in the modern era by a Democratic candidate. Given the superior Democratic funding and ground operations, if nothing dramatic happens during the next 20 days, it appears that Hillary Clinton is heading for a huge victory in both the Electoral College and the popular vote. Donald Trump had on final opportunity to salvage his campaign, and for the third time he blew it.