Welp, Hillary Clinton wrecked Donald Trump in Monday’s debate. You can tell he lost by the mania with which he insists he won. Now that the queen has slain the frog prince, as we always knew she would, we can go back to treating Trump’s candidacy like the joke it is. Remember last week, when FiveThirtyEight had them in a dead heat? That was before Hillary got that sweet, sweet three-point post-debate bounce. Now that people have seen Trump is belligerent and nonspecific, he can’t win. And isn’t he orange? I find this to be the drollest election of our lifetimes, and certainly not a clear rupture between the American experiment and its decline. Today is Friday, and Republicans sure will be embarrassed when we look back on it. Won’t you count these eggs as chickens with me?
People ask me why I’m not more widely read, and I ask them if they read my essay about a rap mixtape that uses the word “spondee” and alludes to Ezra Pound. The Missoula Independent is a fine publication with extremely forgiving editors. This week I’m in there twice: once to wonder with mounting terror in my voice whether Trump’s nihilistic debate performance will affect his candidacy, and once to heap praise on Young Thug. Have you heard Jeffery, the mixtape I refuse to stop talking about? You should listen to that and spend all your time thinking about it. I assure you it’s more pleasant than wondering whether an obviously vapid rich man will lure our democracy into suicide by nostalgia. But, uh, be sure to read the column anyway. Then share it with your friends on Facebook or, if your friends still have hair, Twitter. People ask me why I’m not more widely read, and I say it’s their fault. We’ll be back tomorrow with Friday links!
A couple weeks ago in Friday links, we embarrassed ourselves by announcing that Pepe the Frog—an internet meme originating in an image by cartoonist Matt Furie and subsequently popularized on 4chan—had been co-opted by white supremacists. It turned out the Daily Beast article on which that claim was based was poorly sourced. Yet today brings sweet albeit deeply complicated vindication: Pepe the Frog has been declared a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League. Speaking as a person whose mentions have recently been overrun, I can confirm that Pepe seems extremely popular among Twitter Nazis.
Last night’s debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was less a war of words than a long disagreement over whether they mean anything. “It’s all words,” Trump said early on. “It’s all sound bites.” He interrupted often, but it was usually just to say “wrong” or “no.” One of Clinton’s claims he so denied was that he had called climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese to hurt American manufacturing—which of course he had:
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
That’s not a screenshot; it’s embedded. The tweet is still up, despite the false and increasingly popular rumor that his campaign deleted it during the debate. Even Chris Hayes of MSNBC bought into it last night, although he apologized this morning. Like all the best hoaxes, this is one we want to believe.
On the morning of the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, no less a soothsayer than Nate Silver believes this election is a dead heat. His FiveThirtyEight forecasting blog gives Clinton about a 52 percent chance to win the presidency, compared to Trump’s forty-eight. Let us pause here for a moment and consider how crazy that is. Trump has no experience in elected office, spent most of his time in the public eye as a punchline, and launched his campaign with a flurry of gaffes and lies that has become a blizzard since. A rational electorate should not like him. But he is running against a candidate who embodies the Democratic Party, and that brand is in danger of becoming toxic.