Posted by Curt on 20 October, 2016 at 10:15 am. 4 comments already!


Jonah Goldberg:

Much like the first debate — and grading on the Trump Curve® — Trump had a good start. He started more disciplined, and sustained that discipline longer, than in any other debate. He won on many issues, particularly abortion (though most of the credit for that goes to Chris Wallace who actually asked a question about partial birth abortion). But, about 30 minutes in, Trump started interrupting and showboating. It wasn’t much at first, but it got worse and worse. The tipping point was his refusal to turn on Vladimir Putin. “He said nice things about me!” is a line he always has to get in. It’s so strange, because he honestly seems to think that repeating this helps him. It doesn’t. After months of criticism that Trump is easily swayed by flattery, when he points out that Putin flattered him and suggests that’s a valid reason for not overly antagonizing Putin it only reinforces the critique.

More to the point, few are impressed that Putin complimented him, and those who are undoubtedly are voting for Trump already. Meanwhile, the few persuadable voters left are probably less likely to vote for him when he says things like that. And that’s just one example. When he snaps “what a nasty woman” at Clinton, what voters not already enthralled with Trump, or resigned to voting for him, are brought into his column? When he blurts out “Wrong!” who, at this point, is charmed by that?

I agree with the already gelled conventional wisdom that Trump’s biggest blunder came when he said we’ll just have to wait and see whether he accepts the results of the election. Whatever arguments you want to make in defense of the response are irrelevant (and judging from the ones I’ve heard on TV, pretty pathetic). He basically gave the media carte blanche to freak out over his answer for at least a week. Don’t get me wrong, I think his answer was awful. But even if I didn’t, it was strategically stupid — unless the goal is to further alienate his core supporters from mainstream American politics in order to create a television network for the ranks of the disaffected (as part of Operation Destroy the GOP).

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