Just when you thought Trump couldn’t sink any lower …


The recording of Donald Trump’s comments about women has created a firestorm. First, let’s listen to the recording itself that was caught on a ‘hot mic’, when the people being recorded did not know that their microphones were on, because it has to be heard to be believed. This 2005 recording was obtained by Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold.

We should be very clear about what is most objectionable about this because there will be a lot of obfuscation in the coming days as the Trump camp tries to put out this latest conflagration. It is not just the words that he uses or the attitude towards women or the things he says that he wanted to do to women, bad as they all are. It is the things he admits that he actually does to women. Those constitute nothing less than assault and normally if someone did anything like that, they would be arrested and charged and rightly so. By his boastfulness, Trump has revealed his amorality in a dramatic fashion.

Late last night Trump issued a 90 second statement on the issue.

He says, “I’ve never said I’m a perfect person or pretended to be someone that I’m not” and “Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am”. It is amazing that he can say these things with a straight face.

The question is what Republicans and Trump supporters will do now. I don’t think that Trump’s comments will hurt him that much with his supporters, in the sense of creating huge swings in the opinion polls. With just 31 days to go before the election, we’re well into sunk-cost territory. People hate to admit that they made a wrong choice and after cheering for so long the person whom they saw as the savior of the nation, it will be too hard for them to disavow him. So expect to hear the following rationalizations: It was a long time ago. It was just locker-room talk. This is how real men talk. He was not running for office then. He is not a cautious politician. It proves that he is not politically correct. Bill Clinton was much worse. Hillary Clinton has done worse (Benghazi!). And so on.

The one argument that has at least some validity, that what is important in elected officials are the public policies that they pursue and not their private behavior, however reprehensible, will not be made because in America, morality and sanctimony must be upheld in public however much they are violated in private. Furthermore, the argument that has been advanced with his taxes, that what he did was legal, does not apply here since the actions he admits to are clearly illegal.

Where this will likely influence people is in two areas. One group consists of the people who say they are undecided. They usually do have a preference but have just not publicly articulated them, and it will be easy for them to now say that they will not vote for him. Their numbers are really small but in these days of rigid political polarization, a shift of even 1% can be hugely significant.

The other group consists of Republican elected officials and those who make a living in the media as political commentators. Those people’s prime goal is to protect their careers and future earnings. As long as Trump had a chance of winning, it was worth it to them to defend him and reap the fruits of his possible success. If it looks like he is going down in flames, some will abandon him. While many Republican leaders have distanced themselves from his remarks, only a few have actually renounced their prior endorsements of him. There has been some talk of Trump being replaced on the ticket but this is highly unlikely. This article discussed this possibility back on August 3 when there was another major controversy, but there have been so many of them that for the life of me I cannot recall what happened back then that prompted this speculation. The rules for replacing him at this late stage are extremely complicated and he would have to quit of his own volition, and he will never do that.

(As an aside, Ted Cruz should really start wondering if his god, whom he thinks of as his close buddy whose commands he follows when making decisions, is actually messing with him. After snubbing Trump at the convention and portraying himself as the one true righteous and moral conservative, Cruz cravenly capitulated to Trump and even worked a phone bank for him just a few days ago. But now, just after his ignominious reversal, Trump seems to be on the verge of actually crashing and burning, the very thing that Cruz must have been hoping for at the convention and that predicated his earlier strategy. He must be kicking himself for not standing by his earlier snub because he would be smelling like roses now. It is a spectacular example of poor timing on his part.)

You can be sure that comedians are going to have a field day with this latest news. Bill Maher has got off to a quick start.

Comments

  1. Matt G says

    Ha, this is nothing! Remember that time when Michelle Obama wore a sleeveless dress to an official function? Now THAT was offensive. Democrats obviously have low moral standards, and what’s even more disgusting is their hypocrisy.

  2. Reginald Selkirk says

    The one argument that has at least some validity, that what is important in elected officials are the public policies that they pursue and not their private behavior,…

    So ask yourself if Trump’s behavior has any connection to policies he supports. He thinks abortion should be illegal, and has stated that women getting abortions should be punished for doing so (comments he later ‘walked back’ under pressure). This is not especially compatible with the libertine sexual behavior Trump has engaged in.

  3. kestrel says

    I was struck by the first point Maher made – that is not knowing your microphone is on. I go to a lot of open mic nights at the local bars and eateries for some music and NONE of those people EVER say some stupid thing in front of the microphone because they already know – if there is a microphone, you always assume it it on. Always. If part-time or beginner musicians can figure this out, surely these people can. Good glob.

  4. A. Noyd says

    Bill Maher can go fuck himself, too. Putting down a man by saying he has a vagina? Likening Trump’s incompetence at the debate to sexual assault? How is that acceptable? Trying to use misogyny against misogyny just puts more misogyny out into the world. It’s gross.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    Reginald Selkirk (#3)

    This is not especially compatible with the libertine sexual behavior Trump has engaged in.

    It’s perfectly compatible with the all-too-popular mindset that sex elevates men but degrades and befouls women.

  5. applehead says

    #5, Dunc,

    Seconded, and then some. I think we can all agree Drumpf is a bottomless pit and I’m pretty confident in predicting this won’t be the last abominable revelation we will get about him. Especially now that the mud-slinging goes into the home stretch and Cheetoh Jesus once again unleashed his Russian hackers if the latest Hillary leaks are any indication.

  6. brucegee1962 says

    I hope this makes the evangelicals sweat a bit too. Of course some of them are already saying “hey we’re all sinners and we’re forgiven, except for Bill Clinton who is specifically excluded.” The problem is that Trump either doesn’t know how or can’t bring himself to talk that fundie talk. Surely there will be a few whose conscience will plague them.

  7. rpjohnston says

    Nothing puts a spring in my step like imagining how the imported Canadian shitweasel is feeling.

  8. says

    He must be kicking himself for not standing by his earlier snub because he would be smelling like roses now. It is a spectacular example of poor timing on his part

    That’s such an interesting way of putting it! I.e.: by not having better timing he’s revealed what a power-loving invertebrate he is. I’m sure he is kicking himself – for not dissembling better. We should be happy that Trump has inflicted tremendous collateral damage on all of the horrible people in the republican party.

    You know what’s crazy? Bush sure is starting to look great right about now. If he’d come out and said “you know, the reason I was so quiet and un-energetic was because I couldn’t get behind where the party was going…” he would look so good. (which, fortunately, he won’t)

  9. KG says

    Mano, I think you underestimate a secondary effect. A lot of senior Republicans have now called for Trump to withdraw, repudiated their endorsement of him, or both. Such rank disunity in the party just a month before the election is itself likely to discourage habitual Republican voters – they won’t make the same effort to get to the polls, and fewer will volunteer to help get out the vote. By the same token, Democrats will be buoyed up, seeing their enemies in disarray. We may reasonably hope that, even if the polls don’t move much, the outcome will be worse for the Republicans not only in the presidential contest, but in congressional ones.

    But I see Scott Admas has already explained how Trump is still 98% likely to win! And of course condoned Trump’s behaviour, while saying he’s not condoning it.

  10. sonofrojblake says

    I’m not convinced senior Republicans repudiating Trump will help. Remember, “senior Republicans” are the people he had to beat, and ended up humiliating, to get where he is. For every Republican with a conscience who won’t vote Trump, there’s probably one or more undecided who sees the party’s disloyalty to their fairly elected candidate and determines to vote for him to spite them.

    it will be easy for [undecideds] to now say that they will not vote for him

    Sure, that’s what they’ll say. What matters is what they vote, when nobody is watching.

  11. Reginald Selkirk says

    For every Republican with a conscience who won’t vote Trump, there’s probably one or more undecided who sees the party’s disloyalty to their fairly elected candidate and determines to vote for him to spite them.

    Well there you go. Half the votes that might have gone to Trump no won’t. That’s enough to decide it right there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *