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Politics and the second Presidential debate 

Just 14 days after debate 1 between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, at Washington University in St. Louis the gloves came off once again in second Presidential debate.

The second Presidential debate was in a town-hall format, with half of the questions coming from undecided voters selected by Gallup, from social media sources and the other half from ABC anchor Martha Raddatz and CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.

Depending upon whom you read in the newspapers or what TV channel you watch, overall pundits suggest Trump won second Presidential debate by a nose. It was that close. But failures on Trump’s part to mount a sustained attack and remain on script once again turned into a maelstrom of bluster and ill-advised attacks.

Clinton’s own Friday Wikileaks release of her Goldman Sachs speech transcripts, received far less media attention because Trump failed to drive home Clinton’s cozy relationship with Wall Street. Once again he snatched defeat from the jaws of absolute victory but there was much more mudslinging to come.

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At several rallies, Donald Trump supporters chanted ‘Lock Her Up’ when he called Hillary Clinton, crooked Hillary. A disparaging comment that has become one of his vocal themes throughout this campaign. Even though the FBI found no evidence of criminal misconduct with regard to her emails, now a contentious issue in itself, Donald Trump promised to prosecute her if elected.

Hillary Clinton responded that it was good that “someone like Donald Trump with his temperament isn’t in charge of the law,” to which Trump snapped back, “Because you’d be in jail.” Trump made his point to a smattering of audience applause.

But after the recent revelations about Trump’s potential tax-dodging and the  impact of Friday’s release of his comments about women, Trump went into the debate finding it difficult to easily pivot from Hillary’s accusations but in true gunslinger fashion shot back. Unable to stay on script reporting on issues that the electorate wants to hear from a true Presidential candidate, he missed opportunity after opportunity to do so during second Presidential debate.

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The second Presidential debate opened with Trump’s recently released boasts about kissing women without their consent and “grabbing them by the p….y.” Anderson Cooper charged directly into the fray, asking Trump, “You called what you said locker room banter. You described kissing women without consent grabbing the genitals. That is sexual assault. You brag that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?”  At the debate itself, he pivoted from the ugly “grab them by the p….y” tape to Bill Clinton, saying, “If you look at Bill Clinton … his was far worse.” He added, “There’s never been anyone in the history of politics in this nation who has been so abusive to women.” He also alleged, as he has in the past, that Hillary Clinton participated in “viciously” silencing these women.

Clinton’s response was brief: She said that much of what he alleged was not true. Then, drawing the audience’s applause, she quoted First Lady Michelle Obama, “When they go low, you go high.”

Here a professional politician would have pivoted away to defuse the subject but as we all know Trump is not a professional politician. He did give a ‘sort of’ humble apology. Come November 8 we will find out if it was accepted.

Trump has maintained an outlook throughout his presidential campaign, from his original call for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” to suggesting most recently “we must suspend immigration from regions linked with terrorism until a proven vetting method is in place.” “There is a problem, whether we like it or not. Muslims have to report the problems when they see them.” Many career heads of departments in the government agree with extreme vetting.

On the other hand, Hillary Clinton in a recent Wikileaks article to South American bankers she said she dreams of an open boarder society with open world trade, a statement 180 degrees from her public comments made to the electorate. She also stated that there is no reasonable way to prevent infiltration of refugee ranks by Islamic Terrorists. This was also a Wikileaks release along with many others.

Somehow Trump turned a golden opportunity to discuss the WikiLeaks release of Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches into a moment to bring up his own taxes. “I pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes but as soon as my routine audit is finished, I’ll release my returns,” he said.

When Anderson Cooper asked more directly if Trump had taken advantage of a loophole to avoid paying taxes for nearly two decades because of a $916 million loss, he replied, “Of course I do.” He added, “And so do all of her donors, or most of her donors. … A lot of my write-off was depreciation and other things that Hillary, as a senator, allowed.”

With his plummeting poll numbers and a dramatic series of Republican defections over the weekend, Trump decided to defend himself by pulling the Bill card. Before the debate, he held a Facebook live event with several of Clinton’s accusers and invited these individuals to be in the debate audience. At the debate itself, he pivoted from the infamous “grab them by the pussy” tape to Bill Clinton, saying, “If you look at Bill Clinton … his was far worse.” He added, “There’s never been anyone in the history of politics in this nation who has been so abusive to women.” He also alleged, as he has in the past, that Hillary Clinton participated in “viciously” silencing these women.

And on and on it went.

From the get go it seemed that the moderators, the media and Mrs. Clinton were on one side and Trump on the other. At one point Trump even called attention to this inequity by saying its 3 against 1. The first question Anderson Cooper asked  Trump was not about policy or what he hoped to do to make America Great again, it was about a locker room type comment Trump made about women. Fair game, yes but not high on the list of things America needs to do to fix it’s problems. This was more sensationalism than substantive.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump answers Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/John Locher)

So picking a winner of the second Presidential debate, it really depends on which media outlet you read. Because of liberal left leaning and self-seeking bias, most Newscasts and print media say Hillary won. Few picked Trump. Another reason Trump asserted to the audience he was fighting 3 against 1. But Trump must also know that he has continued to shoot himself in the foot and help feed the Democratic narrative on his unsuitability to be President.

One the other hand, of the 64 million views of second Presidential debate, a significant drop from the 84 million in debate 1, it is hard to image that the audience was swayed one way or another as to who to vote for. The actual debate aside, the real loser is the American electorate and The United States of America. For those paying attention it’s plain to see that politics is a dirty business at best but not a new one. With debate 3 but days away maybe we will actually get out of the gutter and talk policies and differences allowing the electorate to make an informed choice on the direction they want to see the country take in the next 4 years.

Stay tuned for review of last Presidential debate on 21st October 2016.

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