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The second debate wasn't bonkers in a compelling way, just in a characteristically 2016 way; the GOP meltdown continues; escalation in Yemen's civil war.
A return to normal levels of batshit crazy
- On Sunday night, one candidate for the American presidency told his rival that if he were elected, "you would be in jail." [Fox News]
- But other than that, hey, it could have been crazier! [Vox / Dylan Matthews]
- No, it actually could have. Donald Trump previewed his "debate prep" on Facebook by holding a press conference with three women who've accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct, and a woman whose alleged rapist Hillary Clinton defended in court in 1975. [Vox / Libby Nelson]
- Trump's campaign had been hoping to sneak the women into the Trump family box in the front row of the (town hall style) debate hall, where they would confront Bill Clinton. The Commission on Presidential Debates put a stop to this at the last minute. [Washington Post / Robert Costa, Dan Balz and Philip Rucker]
- Arguably, it's a good thing for Trump that his plan was thwarted. It allowed him to talk about things that weren't mistreatment of women, leaving a debate that felt, at least for this election, relatively normal (normal enough to have bored journalists so thoroughly that they've created a folk hero out of undecided voter and questioner Ken Bone). [The Atlantic / Megan Garber]
- The relative normalcy led some pundits to assume that Trump won the debate simply by not melting down onstage. [San Diego Union-Tribune]
- The American public appears less convinced. Clinton won post-debate polls — and in a poll taken before the debate, but released Monday, she's opened up a double-digit national lead. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
GOPtain America: Civil War
- With the debate out of the way, we now return to your previously scheduled Republican meltdown.
- At least 160 Republican leaders, at this point, have unendorsed or otherwise disowned Donald Trump. Many of those have come in the 72 hours or so since the release of a 2005 tape in which he appears to brag about sexually assaulting women. [NYT / Karen Yourish, Larry Buchanan and Alicia Parlapiano]
- There's also, of course, the fact that Trump is losing. Badly. Which is probably a big reason for the rumors swirling over the weekend that the Republican National Committee was about to pull resources from the presidential race and move them down ballot. [WSJ / Janet Hook, Beth Reinhard and Reid J. Epstein]
- But elected Republicans have a problem. They think Trump is toast. However, their base loves him — more than it loves them. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
- (#NotAllElectedRepublicans: When Paul Ryan told House Republicans he was devoting the next 29 days to making sure Hillary Clinton didn't have a "blank check," he had to get back on the call later to address accusations that he was abandoning the nominee.) [AP]
- The result: the bizarre spectacle of a protest outside the RNC's headquarters Monday by angry supporters of their own party's nominee, including Trump's Virginia state chair (who was fired for his role in the "stunt"). [The Hill / Lisa Hagen]
- RNC Chair Reince Priebus, for what it's worth, attests that the party is all in for Trump. He's actually been one of the more Trump-loyal figures of his party's establishment. [Politico / Alex Isenstadt, Kyle Cheney and Shane Goldmacher]
- But as L.D. Burnett points out in this piece on previous collapses of American political parties, the thing most likely to doom a party is to bet big on a big event — and have it pan out the other way. [S-USIH / L. D. Burnett]
Backing out, or getting sucked in?
- The civil war in Yemen — which has always been undercovered in the US relative to how bad it is — is getting worse. [Vice / Nick Miriello]
- On Saturday, the coalition led by Saudi Arabia killed 140 people in an airstrike on a funeral hall. [NYT / Shuaib Almosawa and Ben Hubbard]
- The strike could be a turning point in the politics of the war — in part by putting pressure on the US, whose military assistance to Saudi Arabia has made it at least indirectly supportive of the Saudi effort in Yemen against the Houthi movement, which controls much of the country. [Huffington Post / Akbar Shahid Ahmed]
- US officials have apparently been concerned about this arrangement for some time; Reuters reported Monday that some had worried, when the US prepared to make a new arms deal with Saudi Arabia last year, that the US would be legally culpable for Saudi war crimes in Yemen. [Reuters / Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay]
- And the funeral-hall airstrike left the US fairly apoplectic. It spluttered that it wasn't giving a "blank check" to Saudi Arabia, and promised to "review" its support for the campaign entirely. [WSJ / Mohammed Al Kibsi, Ahmed Al Omran, and Karen Leigh]
- (It is not at all clear what the "review" actually entails, or how likely it is the US will withdraw its support.) [Samuel Oakford via Twitter]
- But the US might already be in too deep. On Monday, a missile was fired (unsuccessfully) at a US ship. [NYT / Eric Schmidt and Thomas Erdbrink]
- Houthi rebels deny they launched the attack. But US Sen. Lindsey Graham is already calling for some form of retaliation. [Samuel Oakford via Twitter]
- North Carolina Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry has embraced a novel, and apparently effective, reelection strategy: requiring that every elevator in the state display a picture of her. [Washington Post / Jacob Smith]
- A new study from Council on Foreign Relations fellows suggests Trump's Muslim ban would cost the US economy $35.6 to 71 billion annually. [LinkedIn / Edward Alden]
- Justin Bieber's "Sorry" video featured the jersey of a random SoCal high schooler which his mom had donated to Goodwill. He was, suffice it to say, sort of taken aback. [Jezebel / Laura Turner]
- Alt-rock, in one intricate map spanning The Velvet Underground to Parquet Courts. [Wired / Margaret Rhodes]
- The hardest part of filming LBJ's "Daisy" ad: getting the 2-year-old actress to count accurately. That's really hard when you're 2! [Newsweek / Michael Daly]
- "What kind of fucked up locker rooms has Donald Trump been in…" [Dodgers pitcher Brett Anderson]
- "Prabhu Deva, Malaika Arora, and Ram Charan — big names in India — are expected to attend, and thousands of Indian Americans will watch as actors, dancers, and singers take the stage at the convention center. Also, Donald Trump will speak. Three weeks before the election … the presidential candidate will headline a concert of Bollywood stars." [BuzzFeed / Tarini Parti and Priya Anand]
- "I've been told this by high up folks. They say listen, Obama and Hillary both smell like sulfur … I've talked to people that are in protective details, they're scared of her. And they say listen, she's a frickin' demon and she stinks and so does Obama. I go, like what? Sulfur. They smell like Hell." [Alex Jones via Media Matters]
- "These days when I meow, it sounds like the wind whipping through a forest of dead trees. When I purr, it sounds like metal shards being poured into a woodchipper. When I eat, those around me turn in horror. I am extremely fucking old." [Nutmeg the Cat to Jezebel / Lauren Evans]
- "Well the first thing I’d do is (by the way one of the first provisions is (by the way you know I give up a lot when I run cause I change the tax code (by the way you know she could have done this years ago but she didn’t because her rich friends don’t want her to (30 fucking years, folks—30 years with this lady and nothing changes—nothing ever will change)))) get rid of carried interest." [Wait But Why / Tim Urban]
Correction: The original version of this article stated that Trump held a press event with his own accusers; the accusers were of Bill Clinton.
Watch this: Fixing the debates: a better way to interrupt
Debates are broken. Here’s how to fix them. [YouTube / Mac Schneider]