The “Weak” in U.S. Politics: Can Trump’s latest groping scandal impact his campaign? And why is Clinton so quiet over the Wikileaks release? Hint: Supporters don’t care either way. And we finally get the second Trump/Clinton debate.
The “Weak” in Politics as seen by Alexandra Tselios
The second Presidential debate looming was an exciting part of this past week, if for no other reason than wanting to see how Trump behaved after the “grab her pussy” scandal and Clinton after the Wikileaks leak. While both stayed true to form, with Clinton addressing issues and Trump telling everyone she has “hate in her heart,” it ended with a weirdly sentimental moment asking the candidates what they respected about each other. Interestingly, Clinton went to Trump’s fatherly attributes while he went for the “she never gives up” schtick. Which is both the bane of his existence and a quality he greatly admires. As Jane Caro said, “What was also interesting was how each candidate offered an answer that undercut the gender stereotypes that have been such a destructive undercurrent in this contest.” While Trump was successful in being far more articulate and pointed with Clinton criticisms, many criticized his news conference prior to the debate starting with women who had allegedly been harassed or sexually assaulted by Bill Clinton. During the actual debate, he also honed in on Hillary’s past by saying that if he is made President he would commission a special prosecutor to investigate her. This would have been music to the ears of the Clinton critics who have so far wished Trump’s indiscretions hadn’t overshadowed Clinton’s.
Many have since said that Trump won the debate, with The Wall Street Journal noting, “But this was raw and angry politics as blood sport and served perhaps only to underscore even more how unappetizing political debate has become.”
The funnier side of the debate though were some of the reactions across social media. While the Internet kept focusing on the fly landing on Hillary’s face, others focused on the comeback fails from Trump and the zingers from Anderson Cooper.
One thing I have failed to understand about American politics is the focus on a candidate showing the public that their family and their marriage is above reproach when in fact the very thing most of us want to see from our political leaders is some sense of authenticity. Sure, we don’t all want to be part of an Anthony Weiner-style relationship, but we don’t want stiff rigid husbands and wives that are so unrelatable they are quite frankly boring. We condemn Hillary for standing by Bill after his many public indiscretions, yet we become obsessed with TV shows that show cracks in the facade of the perfect family. It seems to me, we want real but only when it suits us. I am not even that interested, nor surprised, by the tape recently revealing Trump’s attempts to seduce a woman by taking her furniture shopping and grabbing her crotch. Why does that not surprise me? Because I didn’t rely on a headline to tell me the entire story, I actually listened to the entire clip. The clip reeked of a desperate man showing off to his friends, saying predatory bravado statements about how much he is into women and how forward he is. His words were crass, sure, but are they enough to turn Trump supporters into Clinton supporters? Nope. Reports suggesting he will drop out of the race over this are just hunting for new material and click-bait headlines. The truth is, this won’t sway his most ardent supporters. They aren’t supporting Trump because he is a model husband and man, they are supporting him because they think they can trust him and that he will look after their best interests, unlike Clinton. Melania Trump coming out in support of her husband and saying that while the words he spoke were unacceptable, she has forgiven him as should America. While some Trump donors have reportedly started asking for their money back, in general I don’t see this as being the death of his campaign. The damage will be in the ties he needs with those in the establishment who will help him long term, and with the GOP “consumed” by crisis over this leak, and Paul Ryan uninviting Trump to campaign events, the ripples will hurt him. Trump likes to believe that he doesn’t need the GOP, but he is forgetting that while grass-root Trump supporters will still support him, he is still operating in a two-party system.
Actually, the importance of topics like this going viral should be less around whether or not the comments make Trump less Presidential, but more around how accepting we are as a society to the words and behavior thrown around by both
men and women. One of the best things to come out of this weekend was the tweet from Kelly Oxford who tweeted asking for women to respond about heir first assaults. What occurred was a terrifying influx of responses from women all over the world indicating how prevalent predatory and abusive behavior has seeped into many women’s lives. If anything, I am glad the tape was leaked, if it ignited raw conversation around an issue so many want ignored.
The past week was no less rough for Hillary, who is continually being haunted by Wikileak’s founder Julian Assange. While Julian disappointed many this past week with his underwhelming “October surprise,” pressure continues to mount on the Clinton campaign with the release of emails from Clinton campaign chairman, John Podesta. The emails mostly covered the (what we already knew about) paid Wall Street speeches and reference to “nonlegal strategies” and even potentially droning Julian Assange. However, analysis into the emails by Snopes has indicated the context is incorrect and if Clinton had made such comments they would likely have been done in jest.
The “Weak” in Politics as seen by Roger Pugh
Heard at Republican Party HQ
“Are you going to vote for Trump?”
“No, I’m going to vote for Mike Pence and hope for a miracle.”
Heard at Hillary’s Campaign HQ
“Will Hillary suffer an October ambush?”
“It’s unlikely the Republicans will be able to persuade Gennifer Flowers to write an unauthorized biography of Bill in time.”
Heard in Congress
“What sort of preparations do you think the Trump camp is making for the second debate?”
“They’re practicing disguising Mike Pence as the Donald.”
Heard in a New York Bar
“What sort of impact do you think Anthony Weiner will have on Hillary’s campaign?”
“None, unless she’s forced to release his emails.”
Heard in a Virginia Retirement Home
“Why are you so worried about the effect this election is having on you?”
“I’m beginning to feel nostalgic for Sarah Palin.”
Heard at Apple
“Do you consider Airbnb and Uber to be the two most disruptive forces of our time?”
“No, they’re well behind Trump.”