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Monday, October 10, 2016


When El Presidente speaks

by Tom Sullivan

Donald Trump declared last night he is no longer running for president of the United States. He is running instead for El Presidente in some backwater banana republic. Or else to be appointed the corrupt sheriff of Silverado.

Cobb: We're gonna give you a fair trial, followed by a first-class hanging.

Early in last night's town hall presidential debate in St. Louis, Trump again brought up Hillary Clinton's emails. He was attempting to divert the conversation from the tape released Friday in which he bragged about sexually assaulting women. Moderator Anderson Cooper asked if he understood that's what it was. Trump multiple times dismissed it as "locker room talk."

Trump pivoted to the emails. He announced that if elected president he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton. Moderator Martha Raddatz invited her to respond:

RADDATZ: Secretary Clinton, I want to follow up on that.


RADDATZ: I’m going to let you talk about e-mails.

CLINTON: … because everything he just said is absolutely false, but I’m not surprised.

TRUMP: Oh, really?

CLINTON: In the first debate…


RADDATZ: And really, the audience needs to calm down here.

CLINTON: … I told people that it would be impossible to be fact-checking Donald all the time. I’d never get to talk about anything I want to do and how we’re going to really make lives better for people.

So, once again, go to HillaryClinton.com. We have literally Trump — you can fact check him in real time. Last time at the first debate, we had millions of people fact checking, so I expect we’ll have millions more fact checking, because, you know, it is — it’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country.

TRUMP: Because you’d be in jail.

The Washington Post Editorial Board writes:

Mark the moment. A major-party presidential nominee is officially promising to lock up his political opponent, despite the fact that an impartial federal investigation concluded that no fair prosecutor would have charged Ms. Clinton in the matter of her e-mails. If anyone needed any more proof that Mr. Trump does not understand the meaning of rule of law as opposed to arbitrary rule of autocrat — that he would use the levers of the federal government in a vindictive, self-serving and corrupt manner — Mr. Trump provided it.
For their part, members of the audience (favorable to Trump, one presumes) applauded but were called down by Raddatz. At Trump rallies, their response is to chant "Lock her up!"

Trump is from the "everybody knows she's guilty" school of jurisprudence. Of what doesn't matter. He'll be the Red Queen in charge. That's all that matters.

Trump called Clinton "all talk and no action" and challenged her on why in 30 years in political life and in the Senate she had not single-handedly passed laws to solve problems she raises. Twitter users wanted to hear Trump asked if he knows how a bill gets passed. Likely, he doesn't know and doesn't care.

There were the usual lies wholly fabricated from Trump's febrile imagination. Trump claimed to have seen "vicious commercials" made in 2008 by Michelle Obama against Clinton — video that like the Muslims celebrating 9/11 in New Jersey no one else has seen. David Axelrod responded:

Not an especially good strategy to attack Michelle Obama, either. But Trump was flailing.

Jamelle Bouie at Slate writes of the night's events:

On Sunday, to an audience of tens of millions of Americans, Trump voiced his contempt for the norms that define and safeguard our democracy with a promise to jail his chief political opponent. This, again, was the most important moment of the debate. Nothing else—not Clinton’s poor answers for her private speeches, nor Trump’s abject ignorance—comes close. And it’s all the more important given Trump’s larger platform. If elected, the Republican would use the force of the state against nonwhites and religious minorities, from forced deportations of unauthorized Hispanic immigrants to surveillance of Muslim Americans and a return to stop-and-frisk. Trump already promises an authoritarian state for millions of Americans. This statement—planned and strategically deployed—just shows the scope of his vision.
Clinton was forced to respond to Trump's attacks and had trouble getting across her message. Trump's message was clear. He expects if elected to inflict blunt-force trauma to the country, to its people, and to its democratic principles.

And you might have to change your underwear every half hour.