EDITORIAL: Cases made in final debate: Clinton ready for the Oval Office; Trump ready for therapy


Both presidential candidates during last night’s stunning debate made the case that a growing majority of Americans now side with: Hillary Clinton will make a formidable, compassionate and effective president, and Donald Trump will continue to embarrass himself and Republicans as a dangerous and ill-suited contender for the White House.

The worst news coming out of Wednesday night’s final debate is that 20 days remain for Trump to not only inflict injury on himself and campaign associates, but on the entire nation, if not the entire world.

While most of Trump’s dismal behavior and performance bordered on being painful to watch, declaring that he would trash one of the strongest tenets of American democracy and philosophy by refusing to concede if he loses on Nov. 8 was the most outlandish and reckless thing Trump has done to date. The unfathomable stunt caps a short and miserable political career that has piled one bizarre, distasteful and menacing stunt upon another. His is a campaign built on a mountain of lies, distortions and conspiracy. And that mountain of ill-borne deceits is now crumbling.

Trump dangerously raised the specter of inciting unruly mobs of malcontents when American voters on Election Day finally deliver the blow to him that his own party unwisely and now regretfully withheld while he embezzled the GOP nomination. It is unconscionable, and his supporters dangerously feed this fever-fantasy of corrupted voting by talking up baseless and outright false stories of malfeasance by election officials.

Trump astonishingly was able to top his own crude act near the end of the debate by sniping at Clinton while she spoke, calling her a “nasty woman.”

As if months of despicable comments, stunts and behaviors hadn’t already forfeited his candidacy, his final debate performance Wednesday was the self-inflicted death knell to his hoax.

On the other end of the presidential spectrum and stage was Clinton. Clinton withstood withering blasts from Trump and kept a cool that few others could.

She made it clear once again that she would be the top choice for president, even if she’d had a serious contender.

She laid out specifics for well-conceived and arguable plans for self-defense, the economy, the budget, foreign affairs, the Middle East wars, refugees and a laundry list of critical issues.

While we don’t agree with all the details of her plans and proposals, each one is solid and ready for debate in Congress and the public.

Most impressive, was her argument for women’s reproductive rights, making it clear she would wipe away erroneous histrionics about abortion decisions. Clinton said she would champion women’s reproductive and privacy rights through court choices and the veto pen. She passionately and articulately made it clear that these decisions, as spelled out in Roe v. Wade, were private matters that the government has no business in.

Clinton made clear that Medicare and Medicaid should be preserved, no matter the trouble. Few things are as critical to so many millions of people as are those two programs. Flirting with dissolution outright or by reducing benefits to the point of making the programs useless is not an option.

It’s more likely than ever after this debate that Clinton will win the White House. And we would caution her again to create programs and systems that take into account her critics’ doubts about her integrity and transparency. Rather than face down those questions when debate moderator Chris Wallace insisted on answers, she deflected critical rebuttal. She has addressed these issues previously, but dodging questions like this before the entire electorate only makes harder her need to diminish concerns. A priority as president should be to ensure Americans have faith in her authenticity.

While the Sentinel and nearly every newspaper in the country have now endorsed Clinton for president, none did so as compellingly as Clinton did herself in the final debate. The argument is complete. Victory is Clinton’s.