Master Debaters, Near and Far 

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Boring, boring, boring, boring, TRUMP!, boring, boring, boring, TRUMP!, boring, boring, boring, boring, TRUMP!, boring, boring, TRUMP!

That was the most concise analysis of last week's GOP presidential candidate debate that I read. And that was on Twitter. It was a lot like the final episode of True Detective, except you'd replace "TRUMP!" with "KA-BLAM!"

The candidates spent most of the debate trying to convince viewers that they would be the best man to control American women's uteruses, and denying any possibly sensible positions they'd held in the past. I fully expected Chris Wallace to end the debate by saying, "Final question: Which of you is the absolute batshit craziest, and why?"

The aftermath of the GOP debate was almost as much fun as the debate itself, as The Donald seemingly shot himself in the foot with misogynist comments about Fox moderator Megyn Kelly, who had the audacity to ask Trump about his many past mysogynist comments. Pundits immediately proclaimed that Trump had jumped the shark and that his campaign was over, unless he apologized.

Trump, as anyone who has observed his career could predict, didn't apologize, and instead ramped up his rhetoric another notch. Naturally, his lead in the polls grew and Fox groveled, withering under Trump's verbal assaults on the network.

I fully expect Trump to pull out a bunch of bills at the next debate and "make it rain" on the other candidates. What could it hurt at this point? He's the Teflon Man.

It was a big week for debates, with Monday night's Memphis mayoral forum coming just on the heels of the GOP's extravaganza. Five candidates — Mayor A C Wharton, Jim Strickland, Harold Collins, Mike Williams, and Sharon Webb — vied to impress Memphis voters with their rhetoric and political acumen.

Well, except for Webb, who appeared to have wandered onstage by accident. As one person tweeted: "I'm sure Dr. Sharon is a sweet woman with a great heart, but this is not her element." That would be correct, if by "her element," you mean Earth. Prediction: You will not read or hear the term "Webb-mentum" in the next few weeks.

Each of the other four candidates made some points and took some shots at their opponents. Wharton gave as good as he got (and he got fired upon more than Detective Ray Velcoro in that True Detective finale).

I still think the race is going to come down to Wharton and Strickland, based primarily on the fact that they are by far the best-financed, and that beating an incumbent in a field split four ways is tough without serious cash. I don't think race-based voting will be much of a factor. Memphis voters have shown time and time again that when it comes to city-wide races, crossover voting is the rule rather than the exception, especially when party affiliation is not a factor.

One thing is certain: This fall in Memphis will not be boring.

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