It’s regrettable that it should be “news” to so many people what a disgusting human being Donald Trump is, and how wrong it would be to give this man power. But it seems that perhaps this tape will prove a tipping point for the Republican world’s relationship with Trump. It will be interesting to see in future polls how many Trump voters have fallen away.
For now, we can see at least a short-term impact in Republican circles from this tape, showing as it does a vivid tabloid picture of Donald Trump as a serial sexual predator, a sexual bully who boasts about how he can sexually impose himself on women, evidently with not much concern about the woman’s feelings, and even perhaps getting pleasure in getting something sexual from them at their expense.
Not a pretty picture.There is as much ugliness, however, in Trump’s wielding of the birther lie. Unfortunately, the people on the right don’t hold that ugliness against him— while they recoil from this picture of Trump grabbing an unconsenting woman by her most private parts. (The “birther lie” here stands in for a whole raft of major assaults by Donald Trump on the integrity of our political world that should repel any one who cares about the political health of our nation.)
The tabloid level of our perceptions gets it that Trump is a sadistic creep. And that raises the question: why would any American want to give the great power of the American presidency to to a man who gets off on asserting his power and taking what he wants?
And if it as at the other person’s expense, well, there’s a certain plus to that as well. The last to dominate flavored with a splash of cruelty.
That’s what the tape shows.
For him, it’s all winners and losers. And on the tape he gets off on making an unconsenting woman a loser.
Do we want to hand power over to a guy who likes to invade and take what he wants?
Do we Americans want to put ourselves in a position to be treated like Trump treated the women referred to in that tape when he imposed themselves onto them sexually against their wishes?
Do we want to feel as those women felt who have come forward to describe their feeling bullied and creeped out?
So the tape helps us envision in what spirit Trump would likely use his power as president.
So yes, it’s sex. And it is a shame that so many people on the right should fail to respond to the abuse of our democracy as intensely as they respond to a man’s showing himself to be a sexual bully.
But whether the tape is at the tabloid level of our consciousness or not, it contains a very important message for citizens, and not just tabloid readers, about what it would mean to risk giving the great powers of the presidency into the hands of a unfeeling, sadistic bully like the Donald Trump we hear on the tape.
This tape really SHOULD move votes. [Update: preliminary poll results indicate that (so far, at least) the great majority of the Republican electorate is willing to continue to support the man displayed in that tape. The elected officials seem to have responded more strongly than the voters they are concerned about.]
Afterword: The more that Trump’s prospects shrink, the more the Democrats’ focus should be on attaching the stink of Trump to the Party that saw fit to make him their standard bearer. And it’s not like this tape is such a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to Trump’s general behavior, around women and otherwise.
So the connection is real between the ugliness that Trump shows and the heart of the Republican Party that has made him their nominee and have rallied around him — people like Paul Ryan, and all those other elected officials who have gotten on board to make him the next president of the United States.
And of course there are all the ways that Trump’s ugliness has been just a more blatant version of what the Republicans have been doing for years, to shape the electorate that Trump came in and stole from them. The bigotry, the lying and the hypocrisy, the insistence on conflict over cooperation, the selling out to the devil rather than follow the scientific truth about climate change.
And when it comes to blatant, the new tape exposes the already blatant Trump still more blatantly.
The immediate challenge is how to utilize any of those connections to induce Republican voters to withhold their usual support from the Republican representatives they’ve sent to Congress, disgusted with the Party for giving them Trump and taking it out on the down-ballot Republicans.
That, at least, must be the scenario Democrats aspire to, and work toward. And the campaigns of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate, and the liberal commentary class is to use Trump to take power back from a sick Republican Party.
Defeating trump is essential. But changing the make up of Congress so that R obstructionists can’t block the Hillary presidency the way they have Obama’s is also a must. The intentional paralysis of America, in the face of multiple important challenges, must be defeated.
Column by Andy Schmookler