By Melanie Phillips

The end-game has begun. America’s nightmare presidential election has entered its final agonizing throes. The latest opinion polls suggest that Donald Trump, badly damaged by the release of the 11-year-old tape of his lewd and offensive remarks about women, is unlikely to win. His second debate with Hillary Clinton last weekend, where he put in a much stronger performance than the first, doesn’t seem to have helped him. Women are now queuing up to claim he groped them and worse, accusations he says are lies. With any other candidate, it would be game over. Yet Trump has been written off many times before.

No one can predict this election result even now. People still don’t seem to understand the enormous insurrectionist dynamic behind Trump’s rise. Those who are firmly for Trump are in wholesale revolt against precisely the kind of people who tell them they can’t insult or demean women or others who are never held responsible for their own actions.

Indeed, the near-universal hysteria over the tape was hard to credit. Surely no one can be surprised that Trump turns out to be a crude sexual barbarian? What’s more, the frenzy is being fueled by people who brushed aside Bill Clinton’s sexual excesses as a “private matter” and ignored the way Hillary used threats to silence the women he had used.