In third de­bate, it was too lit­tle, too late for Trump

Aban­doned by much of his party and shoot­ing for an al­most non-ex­is­tent path to vic­tory, Don­ald Trump needed some­thing Wed­nes­day night. Un­for­tu­nately, it is likely too late in the game for that some­thing to be a vic­tory in a well­rea­soned, sub­stan­tive de­bat

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - OPINION -

So in­stead, when Fox News an­chor Chris Wal­lace asked if Trump would honor the out­come of the elec­tion he said:

“I will tell you at the time. I will keep you in sus­pense.”

It was state­ments like that and oth­ers that de­tracted from the fact that Trump ac­tu­ally had a pretty good show­ing.

He tried to re­fo­cus the race on the is­sues for much of the 90-minute de­bate.

But where was this Trump three months ago?

“They came out with an ane­mic jobs re­port … and I said ‘is that the last jobs re­port be­fore the elec­tion? Be­cause, if it is, I should win eas­ily,’ ” Trump said.

Per­haps that’d be true if Trump had been able to fo­cus on eco­nomic pol­icy. He didn’t even talk about his plan last night, but spent his chance talk­ing about NATO. (For the record, Trump’s plan is to give mas­sive tax cuts to cor­po­ra­tions in the hope that it stim­u­lates job growth).

Clin­ton didn’t re­ally talk about her plan ei­ther, which would fo­cus on a mas­sive stim­u­lus-like in­vest­ment in in­fra­struc­ture, but she did a good job cast­ing doubt that Trump’s plan would do any­thing other than sig­nif­i­cantly cut rev­enue for the na­tion.

It’s likely too late for Trump to play the long game in this elec­tion and win by ap­peal­ing to bet­ter pol­icy and ideals.

In­stead Trump said things like this: “You talk but you don’t get any­thing done, Hil­lary, just like when you ran the state depart­ment, $6 bil­lion was miss­ing.”

There was never $6 bil­lion miss­ing from the State Depart­ment. An au­dit did find de­fi­cien­cies in ac­count­ing re­ports, but not $6 bil­lion in miss­ing funds. Why lie?

Clin­ton is al­ready fairly dis­liked by the ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans.

Head­ing into Wed­nes­day’s de­bate in Las Ve­gas, an Econ­o­mist/YouGov poll of 1,300 vot­ers found 45 per­cent had a “very un­fa­vor­able” opin­ion of Clin­ton and 12 per­cent “some­what un­fa­vor­able.”

Trump should have spent this cam­paign work­ing on mak­ing him­self like­able — in the same poll, an in­cred­i­ble 51 per­cent found Trump “very un­fa­vor­able” and 10 per­cent “some­what un­fa­vor­able.”

In­stead of talk­ing about Bill Clin­ton’s in­fi­deli­ties, Trump should have talked about the re­la­tion­ship he has with his chil­dren. In­stead of lash­ing out at a Gold Star fam­ily, he should have talked about Mike Pence’s son, a Ma­rine, and ap­plauded the sac­ri­fice of ser­vice.

But in­stead he con­tin­ued to lash out 20 days be­fore Elec­tion Day.

Even when he’s win­ning on an is­sue, Trump can’t re­frain from say­ing things that de­tract from his pol­icy. “She’s a nasty wo­man,” Trump said over Clin­ton in the fi­nal mo­ments of the de­bate.

In­stead of talk­ing about Bill Clin­ton’s in­fi­deli­ties, Trump should have talked about the re­la­tion­ship he has with his chil­dren. In­stead of lash­ing out at a Gold Star fam­ily, he should have talked about Mike Pence’s son, a Ma­rine, and ap­plauded the sac­ri­fice of ser­vice.

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