Stop and think. Five years ago, if someone had told you that the most consequential moment in a U.S. presidential debate would involve a Venezuelan public figure, what are the chances you would have guessed that figure would be Alicia Machado?

Take it away, Chait…

The final exchange of the debate was the most devastating. Clinton lacerated Trump for his dehumanization of women — the kind of sexualization that offends social conservatives and social liberals alike. She brought up his abuse of one of his beauty-pageant contestants — noting, as an aside, his fondness for hanging around them — and that he called one contestant “Miss Piggy” and, because she is Latina, “Miss Housekeeper.” When Trump fell for the trap by demanding her name, Clinton supplied it: Alicia Machado, driving home the justifiable impression that Clinton sees her as a human being, unlike her opponent, who sees her as a piece of meat. His response consisted of whining that her campaign was spending money to attack him in advertisements.

Had this whole thing been in the works for some time? You betcha!

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