KEEPING HIM IN THE FIGHT

1. It’s Monday, October 10, 2016. The election is 29 days away.

2. It’s the national celebration of Columbus Day. He and my paternal grandfather were Ligurians. So I celebrate.

3. Because we can’t stand this election much longer, there are a lot of people – myself included – who wanted Hillary Clinton to put Trump away in the second debate. Let him whine to the finish line after another drubbing.

That didn’t happen.

Yes, the CNN post-debate poll showed that she did better by a 57-34 margin.

And, yes, my God, the bastard threatened to throw her in prison – taking a page from the playbook of his buddy, Vladimir Putin.

And, in the initial half-hour he tried to self-destruct by invoking Bill Clinton’s infidelities and claiming as mere “locker-room talk” his captured-on-tape comments that amount to bragging of sexual assault.

But for most of the debate, he was scoring points by ranting about either terrible things she’s done over the years or failing to do things over the years.

And he scored best when she tried to use Lincoln to justify equivocation on Wall Street reform and he turned that around.

I thought there were points in the debate when he had the upper hand. To the point that I had to wonder something.

DId she not want to finish him off?

It’s a real question. If you were watching TV Saturday, you saw the meltdown of Republican officials about the Access Hollywood tape. Senators and Congressmen in tight races condemned him or even bailed on him, saying they wouldn’t vote for him and calling on him to withdraw.

And while I as a Democrat find that duly appropriate, I also have to think that I want Trump – and not some hastily appointed replacement – to lose this election. I want a total rejection of what this imbecile stands for.

That wouldn’t happen if he left St. Louis with his tail tucked between his legs.

So maybe Clinton finishes him off in Las Vegas on the 19th. Or maybe she lets him bleed all the way to the end. Maybe this is the rope-a-dope before the big knockout.

I just hope he doesn’t land a lucky punch between now and Nov. 8.

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