“It’s not going to change anything.” That’s what a friend of mine said when the news broke that Donald Trump said, among other things, that he likes to “grab” women “by the pussy.” And I see my friend’s point. Trump’s supporters are a steadfast bunch. But I think this time really will be different.
“Grab ‘em by the pussy” is a disgusting phrase – but also a unique one. It’s not generic, like Trump’s earlier declaration that you have to treat women “like shit”. It’s an expression I’d literally never heard before, one that immediately conjures a mental image that gets seared in your brain and rightfully inspires contempt. That means it’ll stick in people’s consciousness. They can’t forget about it. It’s this year’s “legitimate rape.”
Additionally, grabbing someone in the manner Trump describes is literally sexual assault — and he’s bragging about it. He can whine all he wants that Bill Clinton has said worse, but Hillary can make the argument that a) there’s no evidence of that, and b) Bill isn’t on the ticket – she is. And she will let that be known on Sunday night.
Meanwhile, the format of the Sunday night debate was already stacked against Trump because it requires empathizing with dozens of average Americans, and as a genuine sociopath (colloquially known as suffering from anti-personality disorder) Trump literally doesn’t have the ability to empathize. Like many high functioning sociopaths, he can feign empathy with people one on one for limited periods of time by reading their body language, but doing it over and over is exhausting, and Trump is already severely ADD.
Combine his inability to stay focused with his inability to empathize and add the blade of Damocles hanging over him from this shit-storm, and he’s at the very least not going to be able to dig himself out of this on live TV. At worst, he digs himself deeper.
Finally, the Republican establishment is sick of this shit. They went along with it for months, shamefully, because they wanted to win. If they think he’s a sure loser, they sure as hell don’t want to be tied to his sinking ship – and their abandoning him could accelerate the sinking.
It ain’t over yet, and complacency is the enemy of victory, but I started today thinking I’d spend tonight watching a storm, and instead I’m watching an earthquake.
Remember when we were appalled by comments about 47% of Americans?