The 2nd US Presidential Debate: A Political Telenovela in Real Time

By Jack Rasmus

In the second US presidential debate held last October 9 in St. Louis, Trump’s strategy was clearly to shore up his conservative base by returning to the extreme anti-Hillary rhetoric that got him the nomination.


The two most disliked candidates in modern US election history did not disappoint US voters’ low expectations of their performance in the second presidential debate held October 9 in St. Louis.

Both candidates spent most of their time attacking each other as either “morally unfit” to be president, chronically prone to “bad judgement”, and habitual liars. Issues of real importance to voters were again, as in the first debate, altogether absent or, at best, were briefly and superficially addressed.

The continued mudslinging was fuelled by the release of videos this past week, taken a decade or more ago, showing Trump bragging about his ability to sexually dominate women and making other generally extreme misogynist comments.

The videos set off a firestorm among the Republican elite over the week. Some began calling for Trump to drop from the race. Others talked of “pulling the plug” on Republican Party financial assistance to Trump’s campaign. How Trump performed in this second debate would no doubt determine whether such talk translated into action, as the Republican camp showed signs of splitting down the middle even further and the party’s elite abandoning their candidate.

This potential “hard split” among Republicans in the United States, the party elite vs. a majority of its members, is not unlike similar party developments in Europe, where the British Labour party elites have been attacking their public leader, Jeremy Corbin, for abandoning their neoliberal policy regime; or in Spain where the Socialist Party leader was recently dumped; or in France where presidential Holland will soon be. The economic recovery since 2009 that has benefited only the economic elites – in the United States 95 percent of all the net income gains since 2009 have accrued to the wealthiest 1 percent households – has been translating into a grass roots disaffection from political parties. As one of the press commentators put it after the second US debate, “This election is about the American people vs. the Political Class.” But it’s not just an American phenomenon. The trend is becoming generalised across many of the advanced economies.

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About the Author

jack_rasmus-webJack Rasmus is the author of the just-released book, Looting Greece: A New Financial Imperialism Emerges, and the previous, Systemic Fragility in the Global Economy, both published by Clarity Press, 2016. He blogs at


The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.