From now on, Donald Trump’s campaign can only go downhill. The videotape in which he propagated sexual assault will be followed by plenty of similar recordings, for instance from ‘The Apprentice’ and the ‘Howard Stern Show,’ that will bury Trump’s already minimal chances, even though the hard core of deplorables will continue to support him. The media are full of speculation about tonight’s debate. Will Hillary Clinton bring up Trump’s criminal misogyny, and will Trump respond by an attack on her role in silencing women who accused her husband of rape and sexual harassment? The answer to the first question is ‘maybe,’ the answer to the second ‘absolutely.’ Hillary doesn’t have to be the first to mention Trump’s transgressions, because she can be sure someone in the audience will. She can also be sure that in response to such a question, Trump will pivot towards Bill Clinton, and accuse her of having treated women much worse than he ever has. It will produce the surreal spectacle of Donald Trump, in spite of the recordings and his reputation, wearing the costume of a protector of abused women.
Hillary Clinton doesn’t have to respond to Trump’s accusations, and she probably won’t. Unless she wants to create a problem for herself she’ll just say that none of the allegations have been proven, Bill Clinton was never charged, and she won’t dignify random gossip. That will take the air out of Trump’s balloon and leave him standing as the one with a criminally perverted mind. Trump’s next line of attack will be about the excerpts of speeches Hillary Clinton gave to the financial industry that were leaked by Wikileaks two days ago. In this Trump hardly has standing on his own, but now we’ll see him assume the shape of a Bernie Sanders supporter who feels cheated. Hillary Clinton’s answer will be that while campaigning she changed some of her views, not in the least thanks to Senator Sanders’s arguments, and that those changes are reflected in her current platform. On her part, next to his taxes Trump’s manifested racism will be a rich topic, both the discriminatory practices he and his father engaged in and were sentenced for and his calling for the death penalty for the Central Park Five, who served 7 years while innocent.
Aside from those issues, the format of tonight’s debate is not favorable to Trump. In a town hall both candidates move within a small circle, surrounded by future voters, in this case undecideds. It means that Hillary Clinton will constantly be in close proximity to Trump, which will make him very uncomfortable. On top of this he’ll have to interact immediately with voters and possibly shake their hands, which he is known to like about as much as Howard Hughes did.
As of Monday Trump’s campaign will resemble a mudslide, and the Republican Party is taking notice. Elected officials are leaving the sinking ship in droves, realizing that with Trump on top of the ticket the GOP may lose not only the US Senate but also the House of Representatives. Of the Republican establishment only Priebus, McConnell and Ryan are still supporting Trump.
If Trump has a bad debate tonight, as is to be expected, their support will dissipate too, and the Trump campaign and the GOP will completely part ways. Attempts to make Trump withdraw have already failed, so the Republicans are stuck with him like chewing gum on a shoe’s sole.