For me, the Sunday night presidential debate was just icing on the cake, or should I say manure on it, yet another final straw of a pathetic, despicable run for the most important job in the world, a world gone mad, a world — after eight years of damage by a feckless president, and his sycophantic party — in need of a leader, a trustworthy, serious, knowledgeable, and stable leader. Donald Trump is not that person. Neither is Hillary Clinton. Both are unfit to lead. How sad.

I have been writing for a long time going back to last year, that Trump would be a disaster, and not just because of what he had said and done to that point, but because of what would come. With him it is never-ending. Every week something else. And never good.

It was clear even before the debate – Trump giving a quick news conference with Bill Clinton’s sexual assault accusers — that the Trump strategy was not to try and salvage things by attempting to win over women and independents and minorities and others outside his hard core supporters. It became clear the campaign believed those people were lost and well, it may as well write them off.

It became clear during the ugly, bitter, low-road debate — Clinton’s accusers prominently seated, when Trump went after Bill Clinton, that the GOP nominee’s silly run was to end with his sole reliance on an excited base, as if there were enough voters within that base to make him president. There aren’t.

The weekend exploded with that tape, that infamous tape of Trump salaciously yucking it up with the host of a TV entertainment show. Yes, Hillary was exposed as a liar yet again when emails were leaked containing excerpts of her Wall Street speeches, but once again, Trump’s antics put Hillary’s lies on the back burner. After all, what is more interesting, sex or Wall Street speeches?

For those of you who despise Hillary Clinton so much, for those of you who knew not to give that man the nomination win, who agonizingly feel the need to choose Trump over Hillary, I get it. I do. She has certainly disqualified herself for doing terrible things. And you worry about Israel and what Hillary may do with the Jewish state. And now you must not just hold your nose and vote, but nearly choke yourself to death as you make your choice.

Many of you who did not want Trump now press his case all over social media as if you wanted him all along. Maybe you really hate having to vote for him but are doing your best to keep Hillary out of the White House. I get it.

What I find difficult to comprehend is how The Donald became the chosen one in the first place. I watched in horror as I knew, as many knew, that he was a train wreck coming. His ardent supporters could not even think of the end game. They were as selfish as their candidate and were themselves recklessly short-sighted. How could they not see what would happen?

I have asked my fellow Republicans for years as we have nominated one unelectable candidate after another, “What is more important, winning the argument or the general election?”

For example, had we not chosen such moronic, easy-to-destroy US senatorial prospects over the last eight years, we might have had enough senators to thwart many of President Obama’s actions. After the weak candidates naturally went down to defeat, their myopic supporters then complained bitterly about the inability of the Senate to stop Obama when they themselves were the ones who made that impossible!

Trump kept talking about winning. Winning so much people would get sick of it. For a man who bragged a lot about winning, he sure hasn’t acted that way. I have felt from the start that he really didn’t want to be president, that he got caught up in himself and couldn’t pull back. So we ended up with two candidates carrying so much “baggage” it’s a wonder their private jets can get off the ground.

To me, the two nominees are equally despicable. Yes, yes I know he only talks stupid while she does stupid, and dangerous stupid at that – see Benghazi, emails, the foundation, et. al., but that doesn’t resonate with the voters that matter. Fairly or unfairly.

Instead of being the party of ideas as the Republican Party once was, because of Trump, we have become the party of, “Oh yeah, well they are worse!” That used to be the Democrats’ exclusive domain. “He’s worse!” “She’s worse!” Well they both suck.

Back to that “Access Hollywood” bus tape. Even if the argument were true, that boys will be boys, and it was just “locker-room banter,” it doesn’t matter. In politics, all is political. And in the political world, this was a disaster.

Over the whole campaign, as soon as Donald Trump got off that escalator to announce his candidacy, instead of talking about Trump’s plans to help the economy or get control of foreign policy, his surrogates and supporters have found themselves needing to aggressively defend one scandal after another. He has left a chain of insults, foolhardy tweeting, and silly fights in his wake.

Yes, Bill Clinton is a sexual predator and probably a rapist. Yes, the mainstream media is biased against Republicans. Yes, the Clintons and their people are crooked and slimy and probably have their fingerprints on the release of the nasty tape, with more craziness to come. Yes, Hillary’s bungling was responsible for the deaths and endangerment of Americans. Yes, Hillary is a money-grubbing, serial liar. Yes to all that and more.

It doesn’t matter!

The Republicans have always had to be better than the Democrats, cleaner than the Democrats. We had to fight harder, uphill on an uneven playing field. Media bias made it that way. Is this anything new? So what do we do? We nominate the worst candidate ever, at least in my lifetime, to carry our banner.

What should have been a slam dunk presidential win – and I know the hard core still believe it will be – finally ending the Clinton entitlement machine, became an agonizing, in-the-gutter nightmare, unbefitting a 21st century run for high office in the greatest country on earth. A race so surreal, if we weren’t living it we would never believe it could happen.

Maybe I am old school but I find it undignified and shameful, let alone senselessly off-message and propitious to the opposition, for a presidential candidate to pick fights with Gold Star parents, with judges, with beauty pageant winners, with former POW war heroes, with minorities, with women, twitter-crying about anyone who looked at him funny. And then his base is quick to let us know that those he demeaned deserved it.

Well, the people who will decide this election, everyone other than both nominee’s core supporters don’t get into the weeds to see what the core sees. They don’t care.

So what now? No doubt more Trump stupidity will be exposed, as he goes nothing-to-lose, scorched earth and nuclear, continuing to drag America through the gutter, thrilling the hard core as the swing state deciders become more and more appalled. For example, in the debate he said he never sexually assaulted anyone. How long before the sexually-assaulted come forward? Unfortunately, it is logistically too late for the Republican National Committee to pull Trump, and he won’t resign anyway.

The GOP needs to save itself. It must concentrate on preventing a “wave” election – massive losses, and on very importantly, holding the Senate, whose Republican majority was shaky, but seemed to be holding, before the “locker-room banter.” Now it may fall. As it is, polls show a 50 – 50 split.

I know much of the hand-wringing is politics, an excuse for some endangered office-holders to finally rid themselves of the anchor around their necks. Is that so wrong?

You, the hard core, should be mad at Donald Trump, not those who refused to get on the bandwagon, or who jumped off. Mad at him for running and for fooling you, for making you support him, for losing a race that could have easily been won. And for tragically giving us President Hillary Clinton.