Last night’s video of Donald Trump, showing lewd behavior, coarse language, gutter-level attitude toward women and boasts of Bill Cosby-like predatory actions, shows nothing new about this extreme misogynist. Perhaps the video shocks because it so starkly portrays his fundamental character writ large. Is the video analogous to Monica Lewinsky’s semen-stained blue dress? Incontrovertible evidence of the character we’re dealing with? Too bad there hasn’t been a comparable level of outrage at the Washington Post disclosures on wrong-doing by his Foundation and New York Times coverage of what’s lurking behind his hidden tax returns.
To those who try to dismiss the boasting about his assaultive sexual behavior as mere locker room talk years before his candidacy, I say, no! The video reinforces who Donald Trump is at his core, someone who by attitude, behavior, and demeanor is unfit to be a healthy parent, let alone the face of the United States in the free world.
Last night, Trump issued an apology in a statement resembling nothing so much as a hostage tape. His campaign managers (including probably fired Fox sex harasser Roger Ailes) obviously wrote it and forced him to read it. Republican Party leaders are jumping ship. Even wishy-washy New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, who last week said in a debate (before doing a 180) she saw Trump as a role model for children. Now she says she can’t vote for Trump, but will write in Mike Pence. Her positions on the top of the GOP ticket have been a pathetic ballet.
On the other side of the aisle, the hacking of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s email, apparently revealing long-hidden content from Hillary Clinton’s speeches to Wall Street, similarly reveals nothing new. We have long known she started shading her centrist positions on the financial industry and on trade in response to Bernie Sanders’ primary challenge. What is most discomforting (but not unexpected for most politicians) is her acknowledgement that there are some issues on which she has both public and private positions. We should always remember the Bismarck and Mark Twain adage that people who respect the law and love sausages should never watch either being made.
The release reinforces the concern that, Hillary Clinton’s protestations to the contrary, her administration will be highly influenced by a tight inner circle of special interests. Unlike Donald Trump, however, at least Clinton has the public positions that align with progressive policies and values. They can be used to hold her feet to the fire if/when she is elected. And it’s not as if she hasn’t pushed for those values from her youthful days at the Children’s Defense Fund. Trump has no such history, except to serve himself.
I would hope that in tomorrow night’s town hall forum the candidates move beyond “Gropegate” and email disclosures to get at the core differences in the their positions on the crucial issues facing our nation. Issues like creating jobs and growing the economy, immigration reform, terrorism, gun violence, student debt, Affordable Care Act reform, and balancing energy and environmental needs.
Trump told the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post he’d never withdraw. At this point it’s probably too late for him to do so effectively. His only hope to counter his downward trajectory may be more October surprises. According to WikiLeak’s Julian Assange, he’s only gone public with one percent of Russian-hacked emails. This is going to be a very long month.
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