Monday, October 10, 2016
THE UGLY DEBATE
Last night Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton engaged in a Presidential debate that was as ugly and mean spirited as one would expect from this campaign. I suppose Trump was the winner, in that unlike in the first debate, he seemed reasonably prepared and was not ever caught short sighted. More importantly, he was able to say in front of Clinton what his rabid supporters have been wanting to hear him say ever since he announced his candidacy: that Clinton was a liar, that she was wrong about Benghazi and her emails, that she "had enormous amounts of hate in her heart", and that he was going to call for a special investigation of her if he's elected. Finally, he topped it all off with this sharp rejoinder: Clinton: (it's)“awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the laws in this country.” Trump: "Because you'd be in jail”. So, we've gone from Republicans chanting "Lock her up!" at their convention, to Trump threatening her with jail to her face.
And as if that weren't low enough, Trump responded to criticism of him making horribly sexist comments in a recording released last Friday by attacking Bill Clinton's record on women when he was President, saying "There has never been anyone in the history of politics in this country that has been so abusive to women." This seems like a desperate ploy by Trump, in that he wants to somehow re litigate charges made against Bill Clinton decades ago, and then extend those charges to include Hillary. I can't see this winning over moderates or undecideds.
So while Trump may have won the debate, the election will be a far different thing, and with several prominent Republicans with holding or with drawing their support of him (especially House Speaker Paul Ryan) , his chances of winning are sinking lower and lower. The question now is: how much of the Republican party will he pull down with him? Will Clinton get a Democratic majority in the Senate, and perhaps even the House of Representatives? Perhaps. More importantly, we may be seeing a split in the Republican party, between people who understand that compromise is part of politics, and those who see it as a weakness, between those who realize that a party made up of mostly old white angry men does not have a great future, and those very same old white angry men who wish that the days of white male dominance in this country never ended. Putting it bluntly, is Trump win the nomination in spite of his saying things that are racist, and sexist, or because he says things that are racist and sexist? Will his crazy candidacy be seen as a one time aberration? A brief fling with a celebrity with no political experience? Or will his popularity with the party's voters cause them to turn from the party leaders? Could the party literally split in two? In any event, these next few years are going to be very interesting ones for the Republican party and for the country in general. As those crabby old white men become fewer and fewer, hopefully a more moderate and modern Republican party will emerge, while Rush Limbaugh and his ilk fade away. In any event, I'm glad Trump appears to be going down hard, and that no candidate like him will reappear soon. No more demagogues America, please!