This isn’t just a political or ideological matter. Political and ideological matters are normal. We run into them all the time. So-and-so is against or for the Voting Rights Act; against or for abortion rights; views an unfettered free market as desirable or dystopian. That’s the terrain we usually fight on. We fight very hard on this terrain. These are important matters.
But this year, they’re dwarfed. Now the terrain isn’t higher taxes vs. lower taxes, growth vs. inequality, cultural tradition vs. cultural freedom. This year, it’s democracy vs. something that isn’t democracy.
That’s the choice that’s before America. Can anyone doubt at this point that if Trump actually were to be elected, and a situation arose that he could address most expediently—and most efficaciously to the greater glory of Trump—by suspending a section of the Constitution, or by announcing that he has determined (he, who knows nothing about such things and is proud of it!) that a certain court precedent is wrong and simply won’t obey it… can anyone say with a straight face that he wouldn’t do these things? It answers itself.
And now, here is the real question. What are Republican leaders doing about this? Your voters have nominated a man who exists outside our democratic rules and norms. You all know it. What are you doing about it?
A number of them have done something. They’ve said they’re not backing him or withdrawn their support. Good for them. But the fact is that most leading Republicans still endorse Trump. They know he is a sexist, a racist, a xenophobe, a man whose narcissism is pathological and dangerous, and a man who when confronted with a choice between honoring the Constitution and asserting his own dominion over others will choose the latter. And they persist in not saying it.
Now Trump is blaming his problems on the media. It’s an age-old right-wing trick. An age-old fascist trick. Your supporters will believe you that much more ardently because you have identified for them one more group to hate and to blame.
It’s all ridiculous whining. Trump said what he said to Billy Bush. And these women came forward. What’s the media supposed to do, ignore them in the interest of “balance”? When such women come forward, whether they are accusing a Republican (Robert Packwood) or a Democrat (Bill Clinton), they have their day in the sun. If hard evidence emerges to support their contentions, the story gains new life. If it doesn’t, it fades away. But no one can seriously argue that nine different allegations against a major-party presidential nominee a month before an election isn’t news.
And the flip side, that the media are in Hillary’s pocket. Lord. The New York Times has been after her since 1992, with its Whitewater stories. The Times broke the email server story in March 2015. Is that the act of a paper conspiring to get her elected?
Where Trump alleges a conspiracy of liberals, what in fact exists is a conspiracy of facts—facts that simply do not damn Clinton in the way that he and his supporters believe they should. Take the new story, about the FBI and State and the alleged “quid pro quo.” As all the news stories state plainly, eventually, in the sixth or seventh graf, there was no quid pro quo. The email in question wasn’t de-classified, as the State official had requested. And the original suggestion of a quid pro quo came not from State but from the FBI person, an “international operations division official” (read the eleventh and twelfth paragraphs of this story closely to see what I mean). So evidently Hillary was so powerful in those days that she got an employee of an entirely other agency to do her mesmeric Wiccan bidding. Okay.
I will clear my throat and allow for the 10 percent chance that there’s a real story here, but the truth will probably be as follows: Nothing will be provable with respect to Clinton, because there is nothing to prove. It’s like the story from August with the Lebanese-Nigerian businessman, who never got his requested meeting at State. Here we have an email that was never de-classified and a quid that was never quo’d. Nothing happened. It’s a conspiracy of facts.
On Trump, meanwhile, we have plenty of facts. No, we don’t know for certain that he accosted those women. It’s their word against his. But his alleged sexual predation isn’t the most important fact about him. It’s the one TV has latched onto, because TV is TV, and this story line includes visuals in the form of the women willing to speak before the camera.
I do not, obviously, mean to minimize their trauma. Assuming they’re telling the truth, and he’s lying his gelatinous ass off, what they went through is horrifying. But I’m just saying that his more important predation is against all of us; against this country. He is a constitutional predator. He will defile and rape our Constitution whenever the moment requires it, if he’s elected.
The fact that he probably won’t be elected will allow the Republicans who aren’t standing up to him to skate away without blame; after all if Hitler had never come to power, and Weimar had been handed over instead to some milquetoast Christian Democrat and the little corporal had remained a fringe figure, we would not today know the names of the quislings as we do. Republicans from Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan on down are counting on this forgetfulness. I urge you to remember.