With the Vegas setting of the third presidential debate, it may be only fitting that Donald Trump has requested a drug test.
After all, Trump used to stage boxing matches, notably Mike Tyson bouts, at Trump’s since-bankrupted casinos in Atlantic City.
Then there is the fact that Trump, who fashions himself an alpha male, genius and ex-jock, got whipped by Hillary Clinton in the first debate.
As he did in the second debate.
In debate number two, Trump looked not only psychopathic, as he lurked in the shadows and hovered menacingly behind the Democratic nominee; he also looked exhausted, or on the ropes, in boxing terms, when he frequently clutched the back of his chair and sniffled, like a poorly conditioned boxer with a bloody nose, a palooka in the midst of more than a few standing eight counts.
Trump can’t seem to accept that Clinton trounced him twice, even after all his much-denied preparation for the second debate.
Were he truly a boxer, I would say that he must suffer from pugilistica dementia, but he is not even a palooka.
He can boast as much as he wants about his intellect, stamina and strength, but Donald Trump, the non-boxer, the chickenhawk, is little more than “fat, drunk and stupid,” which, as Dean Wormer said in Animal House, “is no way to go through life, son.”
He may not drink, but Trump is drunk on self-love, drunk on fame, infamy, celebritydom and attention.
That is what happens when you surround yourself with sycophants.
Thus, Trump has called preposterously for the drug test since he still cannot fathom how Hillary Clinton could be in such supreme mental and physical shape as to crush him in those two debates.
Even Trump, not known for dispensing compliments, acknowledged at the end of the rematch that Clinton is a fighter, that she doesn’t give up.
Boxing metaphors, especially when they are not distinctive or specific, can seem as bankrupt as Donald Trump’s aforementioned casinos.
But as we approach debate #3 tomorrow night, I have been thinking about the second Roberto Duran-Sugar Ray Leonard fight, the famed “No Mas” rematch for the welterweight title, as a template for the final debate between Clinton and Trump.
I say this not because David Axelrod, the maestro behind President Obama’s 2008 campaign, recently suggested that Hillary Clinton might want to skip the debate given Trump’s pathetic and bizarre demand for a drug test.
No, I say this because it is Trump, not Clinton, who might very well quit in the middle of the third debate.
I am not a betting man, and I still believe that the governing sports metaphor for this election is the one I made in February.
In my February piece, “Trumplestiltskin Is a Shame,” I compared Donald Trump not only to Rumplestiltskin but also to the pre-Theo Epstein Red Sox, cursed by their racist past, a franchise that in 1986 lost to the New York Mets in a thrilling World Series.
At the time of my piece in February, I pointed out the irony that Trump was born in Queens, home of the Mets, yet due to his racism, he would follow the Sox by losing on the grandest stage of all, the general election, if not the World Series.
But debate number three invites the boxing analogy because, while it is a long shot, I do think there is a chance that Trump will throw up his hands in disgust and utter the equivalent of “No Mas,” as Duran did in November 1980 during his rematch with Sugar Ray Leonard.
Fought several months after Duran won his first encounter with Leonard for the welterweight championship, the second bout displayed the brilliance of Sugar Ray, who frustrated Duran with his evasive moves and dazzling fitness.
Duran could not connect against the former Olympic gold medalist, who peppered the new welterweight champ with a flurry of blows, then darted away before Duran could land a decent shot.
In round eight, Duran, who, according to reports, was trailing on the cards of the judges, waved his hand and trudged away, as he muttered, “no mas,” or “no more.”
The champ simply was not prepared for Leonard’s game plan. Leonard evidenced his ring mastery throughout the rematch and constantly baffled Duran, who could not catch up to him.
Duran, who had gained weight after his victory earlier in 1980 over Leonard, hoped for a brawl. Instead, Duran fell victim to an extraordinarily well-conditioned, well-prepared opponent.
Leonard’s victory in the rematch came shortly after Ronald Reagan, supposedly Trump’s political hero, defeated Jimmy Carter to win the presidency.
As others have noted, Ronald Reagan presented a much sunnier image of America than the hateful one spewed by Trump.
Moreover, Reagan had no love for the Soviet Union, which he famously dubbed the “evil empire.”
It goes without saying that the Gipper would not be happy about Trump’s bromance with Vladimir Putin.
As President Obama would say, Reagan would “take it as a personal insult” if anyone voted for Trump, a man who might actually have business dealings with Russia.
No, Trump is not the second coming of Reagan; nor is he the second coming of Duran, a valiant fighter, who won many world titles over his long boxing career and who earned the right to be called a champion, even if he did lose the rematch with Leonard, as well as a rubber match years later.
No boxer at all, not even a palooka, Trump should “stop whining,” as President Obama said at the Rose Garden today, the day before debate #3.
Of course, that would run counter to Trump’s code, out of the Roy Cohn playbook, which is to lie, smear, defame and lie some more.
So, don’t be surprised if tomorrow night Trump throws up his hands, collapses on the stage or utters the equivalent of “no mas.”
Given how much he mocked Jeb Bush for speaking Spanish, Trump is more likely to mumble, “No more.”
It is still a long shot for that to happen. But you can bet that no matter how Trump performs in the third debate, he will whine afterwards about a fix, about how the debate, like the election, was “rigged.”
And you can bet that Trump will take more than a few standing eight counts, before he suffers the most humiliating loss of his life in November.
Hillary will knock him out in debate #3 in Vegas and in the general election, and it won’t be on technical grounds. It will be a decisive victory, as historic as anything we have seen in sports, except perhaps a World Series win for the Cubs.
I’ll be rooting for Hillary tomorrow night.
And I’m voting for Theo Epstein for president in 2024.