If, on the night of Monday September 26, a US presidential election had been held instead of a televised debate, Donald Trump would likely now be America’s president-elect. That morning the reliable on-line poll analyst Nate Silver, sympathetic to Clinton, had tweeted, 'It’s a dead heat,' and then, a few minutes later, 'State firewall breaking up. Trend lines awful.' In retrospect, one simple task stood between Trump and the presidency: he had to look like some version of a rational human being.
He failed. As Conrad Black has put it, the office of the presidency has been seeking Donald Trump. That night, Trump essentially picked up the phone and told the presidency it must have the wrong number. A classicist would call it a peripeteia.