Alec Baldwin's Donald Trump is proving to be as potent a political impersonation as Tina Fey's Sarah Palin was during 2008 presidential election.
It is certainly getting noticed by Trump. After Alec Baldwin's portrayal of Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live last week, the Republican presidential candidate tweeted his displeasure. "Time to retire the boring and unfunny show. Alec Baldwin portrayal stinks. Media rigging election!"
He isn't likely to feel much different this week.
On Saturday, SNL's opening sketch once again skewered Trump, this time taking aim at his claims of a media conspiracy and a "rigged" election, often using Trump's own words.
The skit, focused on the third and final presidential debate, featured Kate McKinnon once more as an unnaturally unflappable Hillary Clinton, and Tom Hanks as Fox News' Chris Wallace, the moderator of the debate. Alluding to the fact that most polls have shown Clinton won the debates, McKinnon's Clinton began by gleefully saying, "In the first debate I set the table, in the second debate I fired up the grill, and tonight, I feast."
Just as the real third debate began with the blustering Trump speaking very calmly and quietly, Baldwin's Trump begins by speaking softly. "Chris, I’m going to start this debate in the quietest voice possible," he said, calling himself a “sweet little baby Trump."
But, of course, the discourse between the two quickly degenerates.
The show takes some shots at Hillary Clinton. When Hanks' Wallace asked McKinnon's Clinton about the WikiLeaks disclosures of her emails, the McKinnon's Clinton goes off on a tangent. "You’re never going to answer a question about your emails,” Hanks' Wallace said.
“No, but it was very cute to watch you try," said McKinnon's Clinton.
But while SNL gently ribs Clinton, it depicts Trump as a buffoon.
The real Trump has repeatedly responded to the unearthing of infamous hot-mic comments (in which he boasted of sexually assaulting women) and allegations by several women that he's groped them, by saying, "Nobody has more respect for women than I do." In the SNL skit, when Baldwin's Trump delivers the same line, the camera shows the audience, and then the entire world, howling in laughter.
Hank’s Wallace also later says to Baldwin's Trump: "It has become very clear that you’re probably going to lose."
Baldwin's Trump says, "Correct!"
Hanks' moderator then asks if he will accept the results. “I will look at it at the time because frankly this is whole thing is rigged," says Baldwin's Trump.
Donald Trump has repeatedly made this claim, without providing any substantial evidence. His claims of a "rigged" election have also been debunked by state election officials, some of them from the Republican party.
In the SNL skit, though, Baldwin's Trump says he knows the election is rigged because "every day I turn on the news, and all of the newscasters are making me look so bad." And how are we doing that? Hanks' Wallace asks.
“By taking all of the things I say and all of the things I do and putting them on TV.”
This, of course, is what Tina Fey did so effectively with former VP candidate Sarah Palin eight years ago. Back then, Fey's portrayal came at a turning point and helped to change public perception of Palin to that of a lightweight unworthy of the vice presidency.
Baldwin's Trump, on the other hand, is more of a pile on, coming at a time when Trump has already been under siege. The depiction is not likely to change any voters' minds—especially not Donald Trump's, who has complained bitterly that the media is biased against him.