So this is how it ends

Good evaluation by the Economist of the second presidential debate:

SO THIS is how it was to end: a septuagenarian con-man flanked by four victims of sexual assault, real or alleged, trying to intimidate his opponent by dredging up old accusations against her husband, Bill Clinton. That pre-debate Facebook Live broadcast by Donald Trump, which combined farce, dystopia and reality-TV in three tawdry minutes, presaged the tone of the encounter that followed. As it turned out, his second confrontation with Hillary Clinton, at a town-hall style event in St Louis, did not signal the end of Mr Trump’s presidential bid. It may not lead to the headlong disintegration of the Republican Party, another outcome predicted in advance. Instead a hairline crack may have opened in the American republic itself.

Great piece, worth reading in full. It concludes that the debate wasn’t the cataclysmic event for the Trump campaign — but only because he was playing to his core supporters, who would probably vote for him even if he’d shot Clinton live on stage. But it shows the kind of damage that the last 30 years have inflicted on the American polity. And it’s more than a ‘hairline crack’.

ALSO. Great column by George F. Will. Ends thus:

Today, however, Trump should stay atop the ticket, for four reasons. First, he will give the nation the pleasure of seeing him join the one cohort, of the many cohorts he disdains, that he most despises — “losers.” Second, by continuing to campaign in the spirit of St. Louis, he can remind the nation of the useful axiom that there is no such thing as rock bottom. Third, by persevering through Nov. 8 he can simplify the GOP’s quadrennial exercise of writing its post-campaign autopsy, which this year can be published Nov. 9 in one sentence: “Perhaps it is imprudent to nominate a venomous charlatan.” Fourth, Trump is the GOP’s chemotherapy, a nauseating but, if carried through to completion, perhaps a curative experience.