The Corner

Politics & Policy

David Axelrod’s Odd Suggestion to Hillary: Skip the Last Debate!

Sure, Hillary Clinton’s in good shape both nationally and in state polls. But is she so far ahead that she can phone it in for the rest of the way? Former Obama chief strategist David Axelrod floated a truly bizarre idea this weekend, in response to Trump’s equally outlandish proposal for pre-debate drug-testing for both candidates: “We should take a drug test prior because I don’t know what’s going on with her.”

An announcement from Hillary Clinton that she will skip the third and final presidential debate would be one of the few surprises that could actually change this election and help Trump. A declaration that she now finds Trump too unhinged to engage in debate would play into a whole host of her worst traits: That she feels entitled to this office, that she’s arrogant, that she breaks her promises and can’t be trusted. (She agreed to three debates!)

Speculation about her health and stamina would return. Trump would instantly declare that she chickened out and that argument would be plausible; the reasonable conclusion would be that Hillary saw only risk, no potential advantage to appearing on stage with Trump again and decided the electorate only deserved two debates instead of the promised three. It would be a terrible closing message for her.

Beyond that, if Trump really is unhinged, and Hillary Clinton isn’t, why wouldn’t she want another 90 minutes of that contrast on national television before millions of people?

The third debate is Wednesday night. As of this writing, there is no indication Hillary Clinton will cancel her appearance.

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