Sunday, October 9, 2016

Why This Trump-tastrophe Is Different

I cannot escape the US election, as Trump keeps being more and more Trump.  To be clear, we should have seen this coming.  One of my regular tweets has been "he doth project too much."  And what did Trump say about Mexicans and Muslims?   That they were threats to rape Americans.  It should have been a clue about his own pattern of sexual assault:
Why is this audio tape of his statements the supposed last straw?  To be clear, Trump was beyond the pale before he started.  Why?  When he announced his run last year, we knew that
  • he was a birther--which combines racism and conspiracy theory.  This should have been disqualifying on its own, but the GOP made this almost a requirement.
  • he was a serial business failure.  The idea that he is a smart businessman never held any water except for those who were desperate to buy the con.  We knew about his bankrupcies and the lawsuits.  Not so much that the lawsuits were about contractors being repeatedly ripped off, but heaps of smoke.
  • he had no political experience.  This should be a disqualifier--because we don't ask our neighbors to operate on our brains (unless they happen to be licensed brain surgeons).  Politics is like anything else--expertise is better than the absence of expertise.  Alas, the idea that politicians might have skills has become so poisoned that we forget the obvious--if you want to get some stuff done, someone with experience will be more effective.  Indeed, I fully expect, despite Hillary Derangement Syndrome, that she will be more effective than Obama.  She knows the system far better than he did.  
  • he was married three times, committed adultery on a regular basis in public.  Sure, that may not be a disqualfier, but if he was going to get the GOP nomination, one would think that some contrition on this might be handy to get evangelical votes.  Oops, they only value abortion opposition and pretty much nothing else.
But if there not enough, his announcement to run came with slurs against an entire group of people, one that the GOP had figured out they needed to win the presidency.  So, that should have been disqualifying.

I can go through the rest, but it is unnecessary.  We know the record.  But Republicans decided to stick with their party's nominee with a few notable exceptions, no matter whether he diminished veterans, attacked African-Americans, pal-ed around with white supremacists (puts that whole Bill Ayers thing of 2008 into perspective, doesn't it?), incited violence, gave fodder to ISIS, undermined US security, and, oh yeah, seemed to be operating with/by/for the Russians.

Why did so many leap off the bandwagon now but not before?  Mostly cowardice.  They didn't want to be the first, but with this weekend's events, they could see that they would not offend the party this time.  Also, to be clear, all of Trump's previous stuff was talk.  This weekend's audio was talk, too, but talk of a pattern of sexual assault.  So, misogyny aimed at Clinton or Megan Kelly or whoever else was not sufficient, but bragging about committing sexual assault seemed to do the trick.  Again, I think it is only partly that this was more offensive but also much about Republicans realizing that they would not be alone this time.  The NYT chart on the pattern of exits makes this pretty clear.  There are few profiles in courage--Ben Sasse and a couple of others were early and consistent.  The rest?  Late and waffling.

Maybe there can be some good that can came out of this--the discussion of groping spawned by Kelly Oxford on twitter is very important.  But damn, what a wasted year to have this guy suck up so much attention and do so much damage to the body politic.


Anonymous said...

As Michael Cohen (the columnist, not the Trump lawyer) said, this has been one of the most fascinating 48 hours of US political history since at least the Saturday Night Massacre. Just like that, this election went from a 2008-esque Clinton victory to potentially a 400 EV landslide and a Democratic takeover of the House. I'm not sure if we'll remember it yet as the day the GOP split into two parties, but it was clear that Congressional Republicans wanted to kick the can down the road until November. They're not going to get that; everything's unravelling now. (

Anonymous said...

Théodore McLauchlin: "It's above all vital to be horrified by what a President Trump would mean for our daughters. But be horrified by what it would mean for our sons ... I'm sickened by boys growing up thinking that this is 'locker room talk': i.e. what it means to be a man is to be proud of sexual assault."