1. Polls are getting close, as polls typically do this close to an election, which is not necessarily out of the ordinary. After all, if a candidate is hopelessly behind this close to voting day he or she is doing everything wrong.
Yet somehow, Donald Trump has done virtually everything wrong according to the history of campaigning, but the polls have been rewarding him since he began his campaign by implying that an entire group of people (and a sizable, electorally relevant demographic) were “rapists.”
Meanwhile, one of the traditionally fastest career-killing federal crimes of a politician is charity money-laundering, but Trump has stolen from his charity repeatedly seemingly without any negative consequences to his polling.
2. Trump brags that he doesn’t pay taxes, and that his refusal to pay his share to his country is smart. Will he continue doing that while president? Will a President Trump refuse to pay taxes? What great public relations. Does a person deserve to be president of a country to which he refuses to contribute?
3. Donald Trump said he gets audited every year… maybe because he admittedly doesn’t pay his taxes. He also repeated the lie that he cannot release his tax returns while being audited. Can the IRS automatically release the tax returns of people running for president in the interest of our public democracy?
4. Trump said America is a third-world country. Do Trump supporters really, honestly believe that? That can’t be believable, right? We can all agree that America isn’t as crippled as Sudan or Somalia, right?
5. Donald Trump said he wants stop-and-frisk to come back, and that national stop-and-frisk will be good for ethnic minorities. Talk about a way to attract minority voters: advocate for even more invasive police. Trump also questioned the integrity of another federal judge, claiming that the judge who ruled stop-and-frisk unconstitutional was biased against police.
6. Trump repeatedly said jobs are leaving America and that we have to stop our jobs from being stolen from us. Ironically, it is the political party he commandeered in order to run for president that has spent the last 36 years pushing neoliberal free-trade policies and deregulating the economy. Jobs in America left because of the Republican Party’s slow and successful sabotage of unions, governmental oversight, and workers’ rights.
Neoliberalism and free-trade — championed by Ronald Reagan and almost every congressional and presidential Republican since — suggest that we should not and will not protect American jobs against international competition. It is a so-called “race to the bottom” in which multinational corporations seek out the cheapest labor, wherever around the world it is. Blaming Hillary Clinton and Democrats, rather than the decidedly conservative laissez-faire policies of the GOP over the last three and a half decades, is a grossly misleading thing for Trump to do.
7. One of the hallmarks of Trump’s campaign is that we need to renegotiate all of America’s trade deals. We cannot. There are strict rules within the World Trade Organization, and it would be hypocritical for us not to follow them because America helped write them and convince much of the rest of the world to join along.
The problem, however, is not necessarily the removal of international trade barriers, but that Big Business domestically screws over workers with wage theft. Economic inequality is responsible for the plight of the working poor more than free trade, and Trump’s advocacy of repealing minimum wage laws suggests that the American labor force will continue to suffer even if he could miraculously bring back manufacturing jobs to America.
8. Trump said we have to help the rich by lowering their taxes so that the wealthy can create jobs again. Wouldn’t we have seen more of that infamous job creation over the last 36 years if Reagan-esque tax cuts actually worked? The tax rate since WWII for the richest Americans has dropped about two-thirds, yet income inequality has risen dramatically since then. Mathematically, trickle-down is a complete hoax.
9. Donald Trump kept trying to spin the Birther nonsense into some kind of a businessman victory noting that Hillary Clinton started the controversy (not true, a fact repeatedly checked by CNN throughout the post-debate analysis), but that she couldn’t close the deal like him and force Obama to release his birth certificate.
This is an interesting bullshit claim because Trump really thought he was calling Obama’s bluff on the matter of Obama’s citizenship. But Trump was entirely wrong: Obama is a legal citizen and always has been. Trump’s attempt to blame the controversy on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign staff is eight years late, given that Donald Trump has been peddling Birther nonsense well into 2016.
10. Trump again lied about the Obama Administration giving ransom money to Iran. The money was always Iran’s, and we basically stole it from them 40 years ago during the Iranian Revolution. We simply gave them back the money that was theirs all along as a part of Obama’s effort to normalize relations.
11. Immediately following the debate, Trump claimed that the Internet polls had him winning in typical Trumpian self-congratulation, despite the fact that he couldn’t possibly know that. Props to the reporter for calling him on it and explaining that no polls were out yet. It’s a classic Trump tactic: just make stuff up completely.
12. The general idea that Trump reacts to things like average Americans, talks like average Americans, and thinks like average Americans is problematic because a president should, perhaps definitionally, not react, talk, nor think like an average American.