SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Wednesday evening brought to a close the series of presidential debates for the upcoming election in November. Our staff covered the event live on social media, posting from a rented trailer parked at a seedy KOA lot behind Circus Circus. The debate opened with what seemed a paid, hour-long advertisement from the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. It quickly degenerated into one of the most cringe-worthy displays of aphasia, pique, pandering and open misogyny from the embattled Republican candidate. Following are highlights of the debate. If there is a defining sentiment that encapsulates the performance, our reporters summarized it this way: “You know what they say, what happens in Vegas...well, it would be awesome if it could just stay in Vegas.”
A Serial Chauvinist Outdone by Cereal MonstersAnalysts from both parties widely agree that Donald J. Trump effectively committed political suicide in his final debate appearance. Updated figures from all districts support that assessment. Interestingly, fictional cereal mascots are attracting stronger voter enthusiasm than Trump.
Each year, General Mills releases its Monster Cereals to celebrate Halloween. This season’s batch delivered an election theme. In a fascinating development, researchers concluded on Thursday that Count Chocula, Boo Berry and Franken Berry were all polling higher than Trump. Early contenders such as Frute Brute and Yummy Mummy were eliminated or withdrew from the race prior to the primaries.
Where does each Monster candidate stand?
THE COUNT: Count Chocula is relying on his vulnerability and populist appeal to secure the vote. The Count attempts to sympathize with the concerns and perils confronting citizens in uncertain times -- economically, socially and militarily. He’s also made out of chocolate, which likely garners greater interest among fans of sweet breakfast fare. A bit egotistical, aggressive and privileged (he is a count), Chocula can be insensitive and obnoxious at times. He most closely aligns with Trump in the mainstream election.
BOO: Boo Berry is pushing a message of strength. As a powerful and unassailable leader of the undead, he has no mortal weaknesses. He assures people that he can face an unknown future without hesitation and combat threats that may arise. However, a blueberry flavored cereal has proven to be a tough sell with skeptical constituents, especially middle-aged voters. Boo Berry is decidedly older than his opponents, but he demonstrates a long record of fighting for equal rights, breaking down corrupt establishments and going against traditionalist systems. He most closely aligns with Bernie Sanders in the mainstream election.
FRANK: Franken Berry is the product of bizarre experiments in genetics, biology, education and spirituality. He usually appears stiff and calculated. His expressions are rigid, and his body language comes across as controlled. He is criticized for lacking spontaneity. As a hodgepodge of different parts and creators, he stands out from familiar candidates of the past. No such creature has ever reached the office of president in the nation’s history. However, he is incredibly knowledgeable, thick-skinned, experienced and capable. He champions centrist policies, but leans left in advocating for the rights of the underrepresented -- a class to which he belongs. He most closely aligns with Hillary Clinton in the mainstream election.
As of this reporting, all three Monsters are besting Trump by at least four points as write-in candidates.
Final Presidential Highlights...and Low PointsFollowing are the highs and lows of the last presidential debate, as covered by Bennington Vale Evening Transcript staff, many of whom were exhausted from the long drive to Vegas and already drunk before the event commenced.
PRE-DEBATE: Some celebrities are seen among audience members.
“Was that Chachi in the audience? Trump's calling down the thunder now.”
TRUMP: On his proposed SCOTUS nominations, Trump proudly exclaims that he will appoint pro-life, anti-LGBT justices to rule over the nation’s highest court in the land, a bastion of fairness, objectivity, constitutional protections and civil liberties.
“The founders wanted woman-hating, gay-bashing, gun-toting fanatics!” -- Donald Trump on his SCOTUS picks.
CLINTON: On the pointed topic of Second Amendment rights, something Trump described as the biggest constitutional issue, Clinton said she supported the nation’s history of gun ownership. However, she immediately cautioned that she would ensure children had no access to weapons.
“Hillary Clinton wants to take guns away from toddlers. That’s not a 2nd Amendment advocate. That’s a socialist bent on destroying our rights!”
CLINTON: On the issue of a woman’s right to choose, Clinton remained steadfast in her opposition to overturning Roe v. Wade, something Trump admits his administration will accomplish.
“Abortion is one of the most difficult healthcare decisions a woman can make,” Clinton says. Trump solves that problem by removing those choices.
Alert reporters, however, noticed the glaring inconsistency in Clinton’s stance.
”Wait, Hillary wants to take guns away from toddlers but now she wants to kill them? Typical Clinton flip-flopping.”
TRUMP: The GOP nominee, through a fresh bout of sniffles and dry mouth, emphasized his commitment to wall off the Mexican border from the United States, citing drug lords and “tons of heroin” pouring into the country each day.
”If Trump builds a wall to stop all the drugs from pouring in, how will he get his coke?”
On the same point, Trump suspiciously reverted to Spanish and branded Mexican drug dealers as “bad hombres.”
”Hombres? That’s Spanish, Donald. You and Tim Kaine need to get on the other side of that wall.”
TRUMP: Chris Wallace, the moderator, expanded the topic to immigration control and reforming citizenship processes. Trump expressed his absolute disgust with undocumented aliens and their attempts to earn citizenship by having children on American soil. Reporters challenged the candidate’s position.
”Wasn’t Melania Trump an undocumented immigrant when she first modeled in NY? OMG, that makes Barron Trump an anchor baby.”
TRUMP: In discussing the current administration’s countless failures, Trump touted his policies as Big League. He repeated this phrase almost as many times as he yelled “wrong” into his microphone whenever Clinton spoke. Again, the presence of TV’s Chachi solidified the hugeness of this moment.
”BIG LEAGUE, Trump! With Scott Baio in attendance, you ain’t just whistling Dixie.”
TRUMP: Out of context, Trump interrupted Clinton and called for all borders to be closed. Reporters observed that the nation has already closed all the Borders, Crown Booksellers and most Barnes and Nobles.
CLINTON: Hillary, in one of her few blatantly hostile remarks, labeled her rival a “puppet.” Trump immediately countered with, “No, you’re a puppet!”
”I know you are, but what am I?” Trump demonstrates the savvy wit for which his debate style is characterized.”
TRUMP: Wallace allowed Clinton and Trump to redirect the conversation to Russia. Clinton continued to accuse Trump of having a relationship with Putin, which Trump resolutely denied -- although with sadness and shame in his voice.
”I’ve told you a thousand times, I’ve never met Putin. I’ve only known the pleasure of his company by way of a bathroom glory hole in Gorky Park.” -- Donald Trump
TRUMP: Trump went on the offensive about congressional pay, government taxes and salaries. Interestingly, a woman president would actually help combat those payouts.
”Hang on a minute, Trump. Women make 76 cents per every man’s dollar. That means President Hillary would be saving taxpayers about $99,000 a year on what would typically be a $400,000 annual salary.”
TRUMP: On foreign markets and international commerce, Trump again blasted the current administration’s deals, referencing NAFTA and TPP. Unfortunately, the candidate offered no concrete evidence of his improved policy.
”We’re going to make a great trade deal,” Trump said. That was it. So Trump’s entire economic plan is “We’re gonna get her done?!” The Donald has ostensibly hired Larry the Cable Guy as his economic policy adviser.
TRUMP: Donald Trump questioned Hillary Clinton about how she could accidentally delete 33,000 emails. Clearly, he has never upgraded to Windows 10 or Outlook 2016.
TRUMP: Trump accused Clinton of mismanaging the State Department and allowing millions in funds to go unrecorded. He then demanded an answer.
”How, Mr. Trump? The same way you lose $916 million and bankrupt nearly all your companies.”
Trump went on to declare that we should run the country the way he runs his businesses. Even among conservatives, the audience became visibly unsettled and silent. A distraught Scott Baio was observed shedding a single tear.
TRUMP: In a discussion of Syria, diverse cultures at home, and foreign leaders who are now acting against the interests of NATO or the United States, Trump took a bizarre turn. He accused every other country in the world of being more intelligent than America, discounted the idea that our nation welcomes immigrants, and accused Clinton and Obama of countless historical crimes.
”Hillary and Obama killed JFK, blew up the twin towers, created ISIS and they kick puppies.” -- Trump
”America is not a diverse melting pot, Hillary. All this melting pot hogwash, I don’t even know where that comes from.” -- Trump
”Putin humiliated you. Assad outsmarted you. Iran beat you. China and Mexico are winning. Basically every country in the world is smarter than us. America is stupid. F America.” -- Trump
”Iran is going to grab Mosul by the p***y.” -- Trump
”Assad is a bad hombre.” -- Trump, said immediately after Clinton reminded him that Assad, whom he had just praised, was responsible for the slaughter in Aleppo that Trump had just condemned.
”Aleppo is like the world’s inner city, just filled with Syrians instead of violent blacks.” -- Trump
At that point, reporters gave up waiting for Trump’s surprise guest. His campaign had implied that he would bring a suicide bomber on stage and demand that Hillary stop the attack.
CLINTON: Sec. Clinton vowed to end Wall Street corruption and corporate crimes, calling out her rival’s past legal issues. Trump demanded to know why Clinton had not taken this action during all her years in office.
”If you don’t like my borderline criminal behavior, tax dodging and unethical dealings, then you should’ve stopped me.” -- Donald Trump
CLINTON: The Democratic candidate returned to the topic of Trump’s sexual predation and misogyny. Trump denied the accusations of all 12 women who have spoken out, and then proclaimed that nobody in the world respects women as much as he.
”Nobody has more respect for women than I do. I adore women. I love women. I love them so much I just grab their p***ies.” -- Donald Trump
TRUMP: Losing the debate on all fronts, Trump reiterated his belief that the election would be rigged. He was reminded by everyone, including Chris Wallace, of the astronomical odds against this. Trump then insinuated that he would break tradition and refuse a peaceful transition of power in the face of unfavorable election results.
Omitted during the precautionary eight-second delay, Wallace sheepishly muttered: “The election isn’t rigged, honey. It’s not that everyone’s out to get you -- it’s that everybody pretty much hates your guts.”
CHRIS WALLACE: The moderator silenced Clinton as she attempted to refute one of Trump’s allegations during the end of the debate.
”No, Secretary Clinton, we need to move on to the next question. And you already won.”
TRUMP: In one of the most ill-timed and reprehensible moments of the event, Trump spoke over Mrs. Clinton’s impassioned speech about reforming Social Security and medical assistance to help the poor: “Such as nasty woman.”
He later attempted to defend his remarks: “By ‘such a nasty woman,’ I meant it as a compliment. You know, she’s a very freaky girl, the kind you don’t take home to mother.”
CLINTON: In the final moments of the debate, Clinton questioned Trump about disagreeing with Republican icon Ronald Reagan -- He Who Shall Not Be Spoken Ill Of.
Trump: “I strongly disagreed with Reagan.” And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the final nail he’s driven into the GOP coffin.
TRUMP: Sensing his palpable loss, Trump concluded the debate with a shocking but subtle endorsement of Clinton, calling her presidency “four more years of Obama.”
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