Donald Trump came in with a preexisting condition, that of failure to communicate at the first debate against Hillary Clinton.
Last night in St. Louis he was given a second chance to go strong where earlier he had been weak in pointing out Clinton’s flaws, among them her soft approach to Islamic terror. Over the weekend Wikileaks revealed that she favored open trade and open borders.
This was where Trump had his opening to double down on his call to build walls against infiltrators who bring with them Islamic terror along with BDS and anti-Semitism. Within the past 24 hours two Israelis were murdered and more wounded in Jerusalem at the hands of jihadists.
That placed Trump in a perfect spot to further his cause against Radical Islam that affects everyone, everywhere. He took control.
He said, “We have to be able to name the problem – radical Islam. We can’t let people in we know nothing about.”
Clinton said, “I agree we need to take care of who enters this country.” But the rest of what she said amounted to gibberish. Likewise the rest of night.
He had facts. He had substance. She had political clichés.
Trump arrived a wounded man. Caught on tape debasing women (in 2005) in the most vulgar terms, Trump found himself cornered from Clinton and even from members of his own party. Even before the slugfest at this Town Hall setting, some GOP heavyweights demanded he drop out.
Clinton said, “Now we know who we are.”
Trump said, “Mine were words. Not action, like your husband’s.” He accused Bill Clinton of going beyond groping.
Gradually, the forced devil-may-care smile dissolved from Hillary’s face.
On infidelity and political backstabbing, Trump could have borrowed the line from Michael Corleone in “The Godfather” -- –
“We’re both part of the same hypocrisy, senator, but never think it applies to my family.“
But the entire campaign, at either end, is in turmoil. Clinton is on the hook from a tape that shows her two-faced, one side private, the other side for the public.
She is, after all, a pal of Wall Street. This is a complete turn of what she’s been saying to fellow Liberals.
Last night she tried to explain, but most of it was standard political-speak and Trump walloped her on this, too.
Trump was supposed to be on the ropes. But he immediately turned on her by going straight to her email scandal – and for the rest of the night she never recovered. Trump was sharp, specific and on target throughout. He had her squirming on Benghazi, on Iran, on Syria, on Iraq, all of which he called a disaster, and which he blamed on her and Obama.
“She has bad judgment,” Trump said. “She should never be president of the United States.
Back to her destroying 33,000 of her emails, “People go to jail for something like that,” Trump said.
“Go to my website,” was just about all Clinton could say.
From the start, the trap was set. Let Hillary do her part. Then let the news media do the rest toGet Trump and hand the prize to Clinton on a silver platter. Last night it did not work. Trump was masterful and fully in control, on race, the economy, the coal industry, foreign affairs, taxes and the Supreme Court.
Day and night The Washington Post, The New York Times and the establishment networks led with Trump and his blunder of the day. The fix was in. The news media went to war and the enemy was Donald Trump. But Trump had the best of it for the full 90 minutes.
In advance of the debate, only Fox News provided coverage fair and balanced. But MegynKelly could not resist cueing a Robert De Niro tirade against Trump.
Last night Trump took charge and after all was said and done, his own scandal of the moment was put to rest, at least until the media pick it up again.
Whenever she tried to trap him, as with his reluctance to release his tax returns, he immediately shifted to her failures while she was secretary of state.
But the mainstream media will surely continue to harp on his failings (“I admit. I’m not perfect. But I tell the truth. She lies.”) because the media will never let Trump escape with a win – and a rousing win it was against all expectations from friends and foes.
The media can pick any man out of a crowd and always find something to ruin him.
For this voter, the latest about Trump’s lewdness against women is a tough one to take. It is sickening. So sickening that moment-to-moment we verge on changing our minds. The scale keeps tipping in either direction. But, warts and all, he remains the choice to solve so many of our problems.
Trump’s flaws are personal. Clinton’s flaws are national and universal. In the view of many, she corrupts everything she touches, most recently even the FBI.
She’s had more than three decades to solve America’s problems, and failed, and failed again to correct the blight brought on by Obama over the past eight years.
“Where was she these past 30 years?” Trump asked rhetorically.
Trump has sinned but he is redeemable. He is a proven business leader. Clinton is irreversible.
She has sinned but shows no signs of being anything but a political egomaniac, in the game only for herself and her cronies. Hillary Clinton has been after the job all her life, whereas Trump remains a late-coming applicant for the White House. Trump remains a work in progress.
To win he will have to want the job as badly as she does. That remains to me seen. But last night he was a man with the goods.
He was even quick with an ad lib, when on the topic of speaking on both sides of her mouth she mentioned something about Lincoln doing likewise, Trump quipped:
“Now she uses Lincoln to lie about her lies.”
The thing is this --
Hillary Clinton REALLY wants this job. Outside of politics she has no life. With Trump it’s different. Either way he’ll go on.
Even a hurricane won’t stop her. She asked Florida officials to extend the deadline for voter registration in view of the storm that would deter sign-ups.
Last night’s debate was a clear triumph for Donald Trump. But to win our hearts and minds, the battle is not between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
The battle is between the shrewd, cunning and deceitful news media and the rest of America.
New York-based bestselling American novelist Jack Engelhard writes a regular column for Arutz Sheva. New from the novelist: “News Anchor Sweetheart,” a novelist’s version of Fox News and Megyn Kelly. Engelhard is the author of the international bestseller “Indecent Proposal.” He is the recipient of the Ben Hecht Award for Literary Excellence. Website:www.jackengelhard.com