Before last night's first presidential debate of 2016, pundits and political prognosticators made a lot of predictions and offered up advice to the candidates, especially Hillary Clinton.
One of the biggest asks by these experts was that Hillary shouldn't go deep in the weeds during the debate. I'm not sure why speaking competently on policy issues had suddenly become a negative for a presidential candidate, but it did.
Some even worried that Clinton had over-prepared, while many thought that if Trump didn't make a fool of himself, he'd be fine.
It was obvious that Trump's debate preparation was nothing more than repeating what he has said at his rallies.
When the debate began, Lester Holt started off with a softball question and said, "why are you a better choice than your opponent to create the kinds of jobs that will put more money into the pockets of American workers?"
This played into Donald Trump's biggest issue, trade and he opened up fairly strong on this issue, even if we disagree on the substance.
After what many in the media called "a good start from Donald Trump," (who is very comfortable talking about trade issues), every other issue yielded a Trump Fail. It was ugly.
Hillary Clinton knew exactly what she was doing. She took out a bag of taunts about Donald (call him Donald, he hates that) and baited him consistently and often. And in a heartbeat, Trump forgot all about China and jobs leaving America because of NAFTA and fell right into every trap Hillary laid down.
Clinton brought up how Trump's father financed him from the beginning of his career.
She said, "You know, Donald was very fortunate in his life and that's all to his benefit. He started his business with fourteen million dollars borrowed from his father and he really believes that the more you help wealthy people, the better off we will be and that everything will work out from there. I don't buy that. I have a different experience. My father was a small businessman."
Trump responded, "Well, for one thing and before we start on that my father gave me a very small loan in 1975 and I built into a company that's worth many many billions of dollars with some of the greatest assets in the world and I say that only because that's the kind of thinking that our country needs."
The great unravelling had begun.
As Hillary continued, she reminded Americans that Donald Trump rooted for the housing crisis. This set him off to become the great interrupter and said, "That called business, by the way."
Making money off of foreclosed American homes is not something to brag about.
And then she hit Trump on Global warming and painted him as a conspiracy theorist when she said, "Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. I think it's real."
Again, Donald Trump tried to cut her off and said, "I did not -- I do not say that."
Yes, you did Donald and there's plenty of proof out there, including your own twitter feed.
As the debate went on Trump interrupted Hillary at least 70 times, while she mostly adhered to the debate parameters.
His hostility was on the rise and his facial expressions showed it.
And then he became defensive and wasted enormous amounts of time trying to defend every negative assertion Hillary Clinton threw his way.
As they were discussing their tax proposals, Trump veered off into discussing ISIS and weirdly said, "No wonder, you’ve been fighting ISIS your entire adult life."
ISIS became a group around 2013.
And then the subject turned to Trump's refusals to release his tax returns and he got plastered by Hillary Clinton, who was well prepared to take this issue on.
She easily sowed the seeds that Trump is being dishonest for his reason [tax audit] that he's refusing to release his returns.
When Donald tried to change the subject away from his tax returns, he fell into another ditch because he said that he would release them if Hillary released her 33,000 emails, and Holt responded, "So it's negotiable?"
It was Hillary's turn and she pounced. Sec. Clinton painted Trump as being a liar, not as wealthy as he says, in debt, not charitable, and having never paid any federal taxes at all.
Trump then gave a lengthy answer, trying to defend his refusal to release his returns that made no sense and he said, "you do not learn that much from tax returns."
Then why not release them?
Clinton then poked him again on his many lawsuits, including ones where he refused to pay laborers for their services.
He responded by telling the country that his newest project was completed in time and under budget and thousands of other employees love him! Trump used another major moment in a presidential campaign to self-promote his properties.
The subject changed to race relations and Trump jumped head first into his support for 'stop and frisk" policies, which was ruled illegal by the courts and his new favorite line, "We have to bring back law and order."
I didn't know gangs from The Warriors were running around town, murdering everybody.
Clinton said, "I've heard Donald say this at his rallies and it's really unfortunate that he paints such a dire negative picture of black communities in our country.."
Trump responded by loudly groaning.
When Al Gore sighed at George Bush during their presidential debate, the media vilified him for it.
After the two candidates argued about the amount of murders in New York, which are very low according to all crime statistics, the issue turned to Trump's Birtherism and he fell off the rails there also. He continued to defend himself by once again trying to blame the Clinton campaign of 08' for starting the birther movement...
...which is a lie.
And after Donald tried to change the subject to ISIS again, Holt asked him why, after Obama's birth certificate was released in 2011, he continued to harp on the issue.
Trump praised his own efforts and said, "But I was the one that got him to produce the birth certificate. And I think I did a good job. Secretary Clinton also fought it. I mean, you know, now everybody in the mainstream’s gonna say, that’s not true. Look, it’s true."
He continued, "I was able to get him to produce it. He should have produced a long time before."
Trump was bragging during and after the debate how proud he was that he forced the first African American president, barack Obama to release his birth certificate.
Then Hillary struck again by citing that in 1973, he was sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination.
Trump then spent way too long trying to deflect the lawsuit accusation and it didn't help that he said this, "We settled the suit with zero -- with no admission of guilt."
That means, of course, that they paid the plaintiffs damages for discrimination. That's what "settling" means.
There was much more including Trump saying he was endorsed by ICE, which didn't happen and would be against the law if they did because they are a federal agency.
Then the night ended when Hillary hung a sign around his neck that read, "misogynist,"
She said, "Well, one thing Lester, is you know, he tried to switch from looks to stamina but this is a man who is called women pigs, slobs, and dogs, and someone who has said pregnancy is an inconvenience to employers."
She continued, "Who has said women don't deserve equal pay unless they do as good a job as men and one of the worst things he said was about a woman in a beauty contest, he loves beauty contests, supporting them and hanging around them. And he called this woman Miss Piggy. Then he called her Miss Housekeeping because she was Latina. Donald, she has a name."
Trump interrupted and said, "Where did you find it?
She replied, "Her name is Alicia Machado and she has become a U.S. citizen and you can bet she's going to vote this November."
The Beltway press can spin this all they want. The debate started with the standard that if Donald Trump didn't pee his Depends on stage, he won. I'm not sure he met that standard, are you?
It was a yuuge disaster for the Trump campaign. And it's only Tuesday. The rest of the week we'll be watching clips of his massive fail. It couldn't happen to a worse candidate for President.
Digby called Trump's debate: "The worst debate performance in history."