It was a pitiful sight. Without shaking hands, two candidates vying to become the next president of the United States launched into political debate, and with a dearth of deep discussion, they constantly descended into attacks on each other's character. It was only natural for one U.S. media outlet to label it the "ugliest debate in American history." In any case, new questions should probably be raised about the temperament of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Immediately before the Oct. 9 debate, a U.S. paper published a video that captured Trump making extremely lewd comments about women in 2005. Some Republican heavyweights responded by retracting their support for him, and there have even been calls for him to end his presidential campaign. Needless to say, the situation is abnormal.
Trump briefly apologized for his remarks during the debate, and described what he said as "locker-room talk." This is surely a far-fetched excuse. He gave words to the effect that when you are a star, women let you do anything to them. His words do not mark the first time that he has been called out over comments making light of women.
During the first debate last month, Trump's Democratic Party opponent, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said that Trump had insulted former Miss Universe from Venezuela Alicia Machado by calling her "Miss Piggy."
It was separately reported that Trump, who has been refusing to release his tax returns, reported a massive loss in the 1990s, and has possibly avoided paying income tax for 18 years. It is only natural that Clinton now has a wider margin of support over Trump.
The second debate was a good opportunity for Trump to regain ground. But during a question on the video, Trump starting going on about the Islamic State militant group and brought up scandals with women involving Clinton's husband, former U.S. President Bill Clinton. It gave the impression that he was trying to dodge the issue.
Just before the debate, Trump held a news conference with women allegedly victimized by Bill Clinton, and went on to invite them to the debate, a move holding the Clinton camp in check. But criticizing Hillary Clinton using her husband's scandals with women seems nothing but misdirected.
It appears that Trump is picking out a path for mudslinging and battles outside the normal framework. He said that if he were elected, he would assign a special prosecutor to investigate problems relating to Clinton's email use. This was probably designed to create an unpleasant feeling for the Clinton camp, as a special prosecutor had been assigned to investigate an affair involving Bill Clinton when he was in office.
It seems that Hillary Clinton has been swayed by these Trump-style tactics, and her loss of composure at times seems to have made the debate even more unproductive. CNN declared Clinton the winner of the second debate, but the gap between their scores was narrower compared to the first debate -- probably a result of this.
Be that as it may, there are clearly serious doubts about Trump's policies and his temperament as a prospective president. His transgression of lowering the quality of the presidential election to this level is serious indeed.