Hillary Clinton and #Donald Trump held their second presidential debate Sunday night in St. Louis. It was more contentious than a typical debate and different from the first in some ways. Donald Trump was a little bit more prepared and polished- despite nearly-constant sniffing- and Hillary Clinton slightly less so.
But in many ways, the debate had much in common with the one two weeks earlier. Trump got off several brazen lies, more than one of which - that he opposed the war in Iraq, that many people saw “bombs lying around” in the home of the San Bernardino attacks, Clinton started birtherism- he had used in the first debate as well. And yes, Trump loomed strangely behind Clinton at various times, and there was that moment when Trump threatened to jail his opponent.
The consensus afterward, which was mostly correct, was that while Trump certainly improved on his first debate performance, he didn’t do much to stop the bleeding from a catastrophic last 48 hours, and the post-debate news cycle, especially the fact-checking, was not likely to be so kind. The first post-debate polls, for what it's worth, favored Clinton.
World’s weirdest press conference
But let’s talk about what happened beforehand, when Donald Trump held a press conference, live on Facebook Live, with three women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct in the past, as well as a fourth women whose rapist Hillary Clinton once defended as an attorney.
It was incredibly surreal, an event conducted in wildly ridiculous bad faith as if Donald Trump cared about these women or their stories for one second as anything but a shield for his own awful behavior and as a means to political power. Numerous old quotes from Trump about the supposed physical ugliness of Clinton’s mistresses and accusers both stepped on that moment and put another instance of Trump’s treatment of women in the news.
Bill CIinton, of course, was impeached in 1998, but Republicans failed to remove him from office. And certain people associated with the impeachment effort have really never stopped fighting that battle since. The press conference was an example of that - despite all evidence from the last 25 years of history that attention on Bill Clinton’s misdeeds tends to bring sympathy to his wife, as opposed to the opposite.