Editorial Boards and Columnists Across The Country: Clinton won, Donald took the low road

Here are the stories that Trump – and his fellow Republicans down-ballot – are waking up to in states across the country:

Denver Post Editorial: Trump doubles down on desperate strategy in second debate

Donald Trump’s attempts Sunday to shift attention away from his boasts of sexual aggression and assault add yet another layer to the rising foundation of reasons to end his presidential ambitions. We applaud the many members and leaders of his own party who are denouncing him. Trump’s attacks before and during Sunday’s debate represented a cynical Hail Mary pass that we hope objective voters see through as the desperate acts of a badly damaged politician.

Miami Herald Editorial: In debate, Trump’s scorched earth vs. down-to-earth Clinton

Donald Trump had one job at Sunday night’s debate: Persuade the group of undecideds in the room and beyond that his misogynistic bragging in a video that surfaced last week has absolutely no bearing on his fitness to be president. News flash: Donald Trump is unfit to to be president. He ducked, dodged, backtracked, spoke in ridiculously broad generalities — Hillary Clinton was a “disaster” as a U.S. senator — took responsibility for absolutely nothing … It was more of his scorched-earth approach, based on the belief that he will make life better for Americans simply because he says so.

Iowa State Daily Editorial: Clinton wins second presidential debate
… Trump seemed to cycle through sound bite arguments and, like last time, gave very little of anything resembling a straight answer. Almost immediately, Trump received questions about his latest scandal: his 2005 comments that depicted the Republican candidate bragging about sexual assault. And while Trump seems to think that this “locker room talk” means very little when faced with his favorite talking point, ISIS, he failed to show the American public not only remorse, but a stance that showed anything other than complete disregard for severity of sexual assault and the power of words.

Des Moines Register: Kathie Obradovich: Trump fails to defuse video scandal

Maybe Donald Trump should have just skipped the first 30 minutes of Sunday’s presidential debate. He was present physically but he didn’t show up in time to make a strong first impression. Most of the first third of the 90-minute presidential debate centered around Friday’s release of a video from 2005 in which Trump bragged about kissing women without permission and grabbing them by their genitals. The video drew statements of disgust and condemnation from high-level Republicans and some — although few in Iowa — have withdrawn their support of Trump. … Trump’s apology seemed perfunctory and he again dismissed the comments as “locker room talk” that in no way excused it.

Las Vegas Sun Analysis: Donald Trump didn’t win anyone over with performance in second debate

Sunday night in St. Louis, Donald Trump proved yet again he’s not interested in winning over any voters outside of his loyalists. After reiterating a tepid apology for his disgusting hot-mic remarks in a 2005 video, he tried to divert attention from it by discussing former President Bill Clinton’s extramarital affairs and pledging to have a special prosecutor investigate Hillary Clinton over her email scandal if he were elected president. Classic Trump, the same as when he challenged moderator Anderson Cooper of CNN over the debate rules, saying he was in a “one-on-three” situation against Cooper, Clinton and moderator Martha Raddatz from ABC News. … As for those who question Trump’s fitness to serve, however, he did nothing to convince them to vote for him.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial: A debate unlikely to win voters over to Trump's side

Trump made clear he is not aiming for a campaign reset but instead will use misogyny as a theme to attack his opponent. As angry accusations flew between him and Clinton, Trump stated bizarrely, “We have a divided nation … because of people like her. Believe me, she has tremendous hate in her heart …tremendous hatred.” In response to the laundry list that Hillary Clinton gave of his insulting treatment of women, Latinos, Muslims, immigrants and disabled people, Trump’s response was to wave it off along with the scandal that erupted Friday regarding his 2005 remarks: “It’s just words, folks. Just words. … That was locker room talk.” He then, inexplicably, tried to transition from that to a critique of the Obama administration and the Islamic State. … Whether Trump managed to win over undecided voters with his show Sunday night is anyone’s guess. This newspaper is unswayed in our belief that he is dangerously unfit to be the next president.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Craig Gilbert: Trump doubles down on defiance after damaging tape

His party in crisis, his campaign in meltdown, Donald Trump entered his second presidential debate against Hillary Clinton with no clear path to political survival. Some suggested he “tone it down” and “show contrition” after the airing of an explosive tape of him speaking crudely about women, sending some Republicans fleeing from his candidacy. Instead, Trump doubled down Sunday on the defiance that has marked his campaign all year. He was sarcastic and combative. He interrupted Clinton. He sparred with moderators Anderson Cooper of CNN and Martha Raddatz of ABC. In one astonishing exchange, Trump vowed to prosecute his political opponent if he becomes president.

Chicago Tribune Editorial: Donald Trump may have lost the 2016 election in 2005

The recording strikes Americans who've reliably loathed Trump as another we-told-you moment. They wonder, correctly, why all Republicans and Trump converts weren't long ago repelled by his notorious comments about women, Mexicans, Muslims and others he has diminished. Why, Republicans, are you just now offended? Fair question. One answer: because this raw revelation reaches a more frightful order of magnitude. Here we have Trump not only demeaning women but describing how he preys on them. … We'll be surprised if this week's opinion polls don't suggest that millions of Americans are finished with Trump. After Sunday night, this fate both echoes and looms: He may have lost the 2016 election in 2005.

Salt Lake Tribune Editorial: Trump’s performance in Sunday’s debate did little to steady his ship

With all the slime attached to Trump's campaign, and not just in the past few days, his only hope of repairing the damage to his own chances, and to the whole election cycle, would be for him to make a convincing case, in the little time remaining, that in spite of everything he has the ideas, the skills and the temperament to lead this nation. He didn't do that Sunday.

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Henry Gomez: Desperation, thy name is Donald Trump: Thoughts after the second presidential debate

Perhaps the only suspense that remains in the final month of this race is whether Trump will face this adversity with any dignity. Spoiler alert: The Trump who showed up Sunday in St. Louis for his second debate with Democrat Hillary Clinton seems determined to go down in a blaze of desperation. The New York businessman is grasping for anything that might stop the bleeding from a series of self-inflicted wounds dating to their first face-off nearly two weeks ago…If Trump's goal Sunday was to reassure his remaining supporters and to keep undecided voters from giving up on him, he failed before the Washington University debate even began.

Detroit News: Nolan Finley: Trump in debate failed to recover from disaster

Destroyed. Dead. Done. That’s the status of Donald Trump’s campaign following the worst weekend for a presidential candidate ever. He walked onto the stage of Washington University in St. Louis Sunday night needing to erase his words captured on an 11-year-old videotape, strategically released to coincide with the debate, that served as a primer of sorts for molesting women. He didn’t deliver. The second question of the evening, from moderator Anderson Cooper of CNN, went directly to the tape, asking Trump if he did the things he spoke of in the recording. Instead of a sincere apology and a plausible explanation, he dismissed it as locker room talk and quickly pivoted to a ramble about defeating ISIS and keeping America safe. The moment called for contrition and a convincing assurance that he was a changed man. Trump lost the night right there.

Dallas Morning News Editorial: Debate exposes the same old mile-wide-and-inch-thin Trump

With Republicans in panic mode — some even encouraging Trump to step down in favor of vice presidential nominee Mike Pence — Trump showed himself Sunday to be incapable of contrition. He also exhibited an inability to describe any strategy he would employ — from health care to Syria — if elected to the White House. While Democrat Hillary Clinton talked more about policy and tactics, Trump resorted to broad-brush — and often bewildering — attacks, such as saying Clinton “has tremendous hate in her heart.”

Washington Post Editorial: A new low, even for Donald Trump

… the overwhelming impression was that Mr. Trump, with his campaign sinking and Republican office holders urging him to withdraw, decided that his best response was to snarl and double down on old falsehoods.

Boston Globe Editorial: Vile words drown Trump’s mediocre performance

AS HIS FELLOW Republicans deserted him one by one, Donald J. Trump put up the best fight he’s capable of at the second presidential debate in St. Louis on Sunday night. But it was nowhere close to good enough. Trump wasn’t convincing as a potential president. … There are probably no magic words that Trump could have said that would have undone the damage he has inflicted on his campaign. If anything, Sunday’s debate will make it easier for his fellow Republicans to leave him to his fate.

Boston Globe: Michael Cohen: Trump’s Banana Republic

We could talk about the fact that Hillary Clinton was at the top of her game, delivering
a solid debate performance, even as her opponent waded deeply into the political sewer. …
We could talk about the fact that Trump said Captain Humayun Khan would be alive if Trump had been president — as he once again lied about his support for the war in Iraq. We could talk about the fact that almost every word out of his mouth was untrue; that he dredged up every right-wing conspiracy theory that finds home in the conservative fever swamp … Finally, we could talk about how this debate — solely because of the presence of Donald Trump — was an appalling spectacle that degraded and debased our democratic system.

WMUR: Trump's mission: Make Clinton's life hell

Donald Trump issued an unmistakable threat to Hillary Clinton Sunday night: I am
willing to cross any line to make the next 30 days of your life hell. Throughout it all, Clinton showed a remarkable level of composure throughout the night. And the lines of attack may not have the impact Trump intended. A CNN/ORC poll found 57% of debate watchers thought Clinton won compared to 34% who thought Trump came out on top. The poll only represents the views of people who watched the debate and has a slight advantage than average CNN polls of all Americans.