Rigged election, nasty women, bad hombres: Game, set match, Hillary
© Greg Nash

The third and last Presidential debate may have been Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSecret Service members who helped organize Pence Arizona trip test positive for COVID-19: report Trump administration planning pandemic office at the State Department: report Iran releases photo of damaged nuclear fuel production site: report MORE’s best yet — at least for the first 30 minutes or so. It was downhill from there though, as Trump proceeded to engage in several bizarre and disqualifying statements that taken together, underscore just how fundamentally unfit he is to assume the role of Commander of Chief.

At one point in the debate, moderator Chris Wallace asked each candidate if they would accept the results of the election. Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCarville repeats prediction that Trump will drop out of race What's behind Trump's slump? Americans are exhausted, for one thing Trump campaign reserves air time in New Mexico MORE immediately said she would. Donald Trump said he would have to see. “I will look at it at the time,” he said.

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Wallace asked again. Trump said he would keep us in suspense and did not commit to accept a loss if that were the American people’s decision.

That is a wholly disqualifying statement.

Since the last debate, Trump has relentlessly warned his supporters of a “rigged system,” seemingly laying the groundwork to blame his loss on an electoral system fraught with fraud, even though there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

In fact, a recent study of voting between 2000 and 2014 by a Loyola University professor found only 31 credible incidents of voter fraud.

This is a deeply unfounded accusation and for Trump to say during a presidential debate that he would not concede immediately puts our whole democracy in jeopardy

Does he not understand that our democracy was built, and depends on the peaceful transfer of power from individual to individual, and party to party, every 4 or 8 years, smoothly, respectfully, and willingly?  It is what our founding fathers, well, founded our country upon.

To now denigrate and smack-talk that same system, is un-American, dangerous, insidious and cowardly.

I am beginning to think, that more than anything, Donald Trump is terrified he is on the brink of being beaten by a girl.

A woman actually. Or as Trump put so eloquently in the debate, “…one nasty woman,” referring to Hillary Clinton, in yet another wholly disqualifying statement.

Oh Donald, what a wonderful way to reach out to exactly the demographic you so desperately need to win – college-educated women. You look over at your opponent, a college-educated woman, and call her nasty.

This cements the sentiment in most voters’ minds that Trump has a pattern of demeaning and devaluing women. The Clinton campaign’s response?  They bought the domain name www.nastywomengetshitdone.com and redirected it to their candidate’s campaign page.

Brilliant.

Despite the nastiness of the debate, there were also definitely moments of great policy discussion — on the economy, abortion, foreign policy, and gun control.

And on these, Hillary Clinton’s deep and nuanced grasp of policy and America’s role in the world placed her in a stratosphere miles above Donald Trump.

Immigration was another topic that was heatedly discussed. Trump played to his base — with help from Clinton — in emphasizing his draconian stance of building a wall, making Mexico pay for it, and then dealing with the rest of the millions of undocumented immigrants living and working in the country.

In describing her own immigration stance, Hillary rejected Trump’s often-repeated false claim that she is for open borders and wants to let in hundreds of thousands of refugees who would do us harm. She explained her belief that we would continue welcoming well-vetted refugees, and that she would fight for comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship and not a Trumpian deportation force that would break families apart.

In defending his own stance on immigration, Trump blurted out “We have some really bad hombres in this country and they have to go.”

The candidate who insults Mexican immigrants and Latinos from day one of his campaign calling them rapists and criminals, now utters the first Spanish word of his campaign to do what?  Insult immigrants, specifically Latino immigrants.

Gracias Senor Trump!

The Hillary Clinton campaign buys the domain name www.hombresforhillary.com.

Brilliant.

Trump had some good moments during this debate, no doubt. When he hit Hillary with her 30 years of experience and accused her of accomplishing nothing in that time, Trump laid out political catnip for his base.

But Clinton deftly turned that into an effective riff of comparing each decade of her work in public service starting in the 70s with Trump’s private sector travails getting sued for discrimination, accepting a $14 million loan from his father to start his business, his bankruptcies, and his Apprentice show.

She compared his seemingly selfish and petty endeavors to her work in helping children and families. She pointed to her work as a Senator for New York for 8 years, and her term as Secretary of State, helping to keep our country safe and highlighting her role in capturing Osama Bin Laden.

There were two additional instances where Trump said things that were incredibly disturbing:  when he could not even fake criticism of Vladimir Putin and Russia’s alleged hacking of private emails. For that Clinton delivered one of the night’s most devastating rebukes, saying that Putin would rather have Trump win because he prefers to have a “puppet as president.”

Trump also made it clear he would reverse Roe v. Wade through conservative pro-life Supreme Court judges.

Again, congrats Mr. Trump — you could hear women cheering you on all across the nation. Oh wait, those weren’t cheers…

Given that there are only 20 days left until the election, Trump needed either a knockout punch, or for Hillary to badly stumble, or both, in order to fundamentally change the trajectory and momentum of the race. He got neither.

As such, even with a smooth-ish start to this final debate, it ended up as game, set, match for Hillary Clinton.

While everyone still needs to get out and vote, (please know the system is not rigged and your vote will count), the nation is now one step closer to welcoming our very first Madame President.

Cardona is a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a Democratic strategist and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @MariaTCardona.


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