By: Matt Teitelbaum, Columnist
Sunday night’s debate was an unprecedented show of genuine animosity between two candidates for political office. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton aren’t merely political opponents, they’re mortal enemies. It all started with the handshake that wasn’t, and it only went downhill from there.
Save for a brief moment in which Trump and Clinton were asked by an audience member to say one nice thing about each other, the lack of civility displayed during the one hour and thirty minute forum served as a microcosm for the election as a whole.
In short, Clinton was overly rehearsed and lingered too long on her answers, but Trump was god awful to all but his most entrenched supporter.
At times, Trump appeared to be on the verge of total collapse. In the midst of a truly massive scandal that threatens to implode his campaign and possibly the Republican Party in the form of recently uncovered, lewd comments Trump made about women in 2005, Trump sank lower than ever before.
He said he would jail Hillary Clinton via a special prosecutorial team if elected. He attacked moderators Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz, saying the debate was a “one on three” affair, implying that the moderators actively worked against him despite the fact that he has interrupted his opponent a record number of times in his two debate performances.
Most notably, Trump went all out with an attack that alleged Bill Clinton was a serial abuser of women and that Clinton by extension, was his enabler in such alleged transgressions.
To all but the most die-hard of Trump’s base of supporters, he appears to be a man with nothing to lose. His campaign is “collapsing” Clinton said during the debate, in a rare ad lib from of typically well-rehearsed former diplomat. If Sunday was any evidence, she couldn’t have been more right.
Even by the most generous standards, Trump merely tied in this debate and that simply won’t do after the events of last weekend. Having suffered the disgusted reactions of nearly every political entity in the US, including senior leaders of his own party to his past comments about women, his position in polls has plummeted while the Republican Party threatens to shatter under the weight of Trump’s collapse.
In the coming days, the question isn’t who will be elected president in 2016. It’s whether the Republican Party can survive what is likely to be the worst showing for either party in a presidential election in the 21st century.