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Tuesday, October 11, 2016


This is not a voting accident

by Tom Sullivan

"GOP tumbles toward anarchy as Ryan snubs Trump" reads the online front page of the Washington Post. Now finally, with Trump's poll numbers sinking fast, the rats are abandoning ship:

The Republican Party tumbled toward anarchy Monday over its presidential nominee, as House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.) cut Donald Trump loose in an emergency maneuver to preserve the party’s endangered congressional majorities.

Ryan’s announcement that he would no longer defend or campaign with Trump prompted biting condemnations from within his caucus and from Trump himself, who publicly lashed out at the speaker.
With the appearance of the 2005 "Access Hollywood" recordings on Friday, many among the GOP leadership have discovered their candidate for president of the United States is a crude, adolescent, boorish misogynist. Having no past experience in government, nor any apparent knowledge about how it functions, nor respect for its democratic processes and institutions was not disqualifying. Being a racist con artist was not disqualifying. Expressing an affinity for dictators was not disqualifying for Republicans either, so long as it looked as if Trump had a shot at actually winning.

Then came the tape where Trump plainly treated half the electorate in the country like nothing more than objects "for the use of men with power," as New York magazine's Rebecca Traister said last night on "All In with Chris Hayes."

After Trump's Sunday debate performance, the Village press struggled to maintain its practiced equivalence. At Washington Monthly, Nancy LeTourneau lashed out (emphasis mine):
There have been times during this presidential campaign when I have suggested that the tools of normal political punditry are inadequate to capture what is happening. Last night’s debate was one of those times. The most egregious example of that failure comes from headlines like this one, at Politico: “UGLIEST DEBATE EVER: Clinton says Trump’s campaign is exploding. Trump calls Clinton the devil.” In other words, Clinton saying what everyone knows to be true is just like Trump calling his opponent “the devil.” That is the lowest form of both-sider-ism.
"He wanted to humiliate [Clinton] in the way he knows how to humiliate women," Traister fumed:

In May, Traister had written of the sad irony of this trumpish obstacle to Clinton's winning the presidency:

There is an Indiana Jones–style, “It had to be snakes” inevitability about the fact that Donald Trump is Clinton’s Republican rival. Of course Hillary Clinton is going to have to run against a man who seems both to embody and have attracted the support of everything male, white, and angry about the ascension of women and black people in America. Trump is the antithesis of Clinton’s pragmatism, her careful nature, her capacious understanding of American civic and government institutions and how to maneuver within them. Of course a woman who wants to land in the Oval Office is going to have to get past an aggressive reality-TV star who has literally talked about his penis in a debate.
Politico put down its both-sider-ism yesterday just long enough to report on the latest polls:
Donald Trump trailed Hillary Clinton on average by about 5 points prior to the leaked video of his sexually aggressive comments. Now, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll out on Monday, he trails by 14.

It might not matter either way: No candidate in the modern era of polling has ever climbed back from more than 4 points behind over the final month of the campaign to win the presidency.
Cartoons featuring the Titanic, Trump, and the GOP elite are flying around the internet. But this was not a boating accident. This was the course set decades ago by a Republican Party that fed its primary electorate a steady diet of distrust and hatred for the Other because it brought the Republican base out to vote. It resulted from the collision between hundreds of years of unconscious, unsupported assumptions about what America represents and whom it is for. The United States of America may have been founded primarily by white, Christian men, but the American Idea was never exclusively for white, Christian men and their long-suffering wives. They are finding that out now. Post the Voting Rights and Civil Rights Acts. Post women entering the workforce. Post demographic shifts that threaten white dominance of American social institutions. Post Barack Obama, they are about to have their country led by a powerful, accomplished woman. They don't like it one bit.