The thing we risk losing sight of is that her victory in the debates was no certainty.
Attempting to stay out of the headlines (comparatively speaking) while trying to win an election would be crazy in any normal race. But when you think about it - which Clinton's campaign team clearly did - the two dominant narratives about them are that people don't like her, and he has a tendency to say unbelievably stupid shit. Thus the strategy was, don't screw up, which you won't anyway because you're Hillary Clinton, but also don't grandstand. Just step back, because, given the chance, he is more likely to say stupid shit than anything that'll take votes away from you.
It sounds simple, but it was risky. I watched the second debate and at times he was wiping the floor with her. He landed far more blows and received four or five rounds of applause to her one. She compared herself to Abraham Lincoln and he skewered her for it. He cited her organised harassment of the women who claim to have been sexually assaulted by her husband and made decent points on the failures of Iraq and Obamacare.
But then he delivered the moment her strategy depended on:
"It's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of this country."
"Because you'd be in jail."
It was insane, tyrannical, and unhinged. Each debate has had one of these moments. The first was the Alicia Machado comments (covered in the article); second, these fascistic jail threats; third, refusing to say he'd recognise the outcome of the election.
He talked his way into this race and she let him talk his way out of it.
Image: International Business Times