(Rolling Stone) -- If it had been anyone other than Donald Trump, it might have inspired something like pity.
The first presidential debate of 2016 was nearly totally humiliating, even if it wasn't the humiliation that Hillary Clinton's supporters wished for. Their candidate missed opportunities to deliver a killing blow, instead frequently remaining silent and letting Trump do all the work. No, what was humiliating was watching a candidate, after only a little provocation, completely disassemble his own campaign legend.
Going into last night, the 24-hour news media was determined to set the stakes high for Clinton, low for Trump, remonstrate with themselves for establishing such unequal standards, then keep returning to them anyway.
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Clinton had to be commanding without being shrill, empathetic without being a teary woman, knowledgable without being a know-it-all and combative without being defensive. Trump just had to make sure not to murder moderator Lester Holt or call him the n-word.
Instead, Trump slunk beneath the lowest expectations. The man dismissed as the most ignorant, uncivil and unprepared major-party candidate in history could not have conducted himself more poorly if his goal was to vindicate all the haters and losers who bedevil him.
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