Republican Establishment Will Always Love Trump

Donald Trump - Hero of Republican EstablishmentYesterday, all hell broke loose in the political world, Trump Recorded Having Extremely Lewd Conversation About Women in 2005. As with every Trump outrage, there was much speculation about maybe this being the time he’s gone too far. Maybe this time the Republican establishment would repudiate him. And then: nothing.

But this one was clearly worse than usual. Trump spoke in some detail about trying to bed a married woman. Given that he admits to failure, it is clearly true. Then he speaks about his celebrity allowing him to get away with groping women. He says, “Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” Whether or not that’s true seems less clear to me. But admitting to sexual assault to impress the boys is still vile. And all it seems to have cost Trump in terms of endorsements is two little known politicians from Utah.

Republican Establishment Is Outraged!

Otherwise, what we got was a lot of outrage from the Republican establishment. Paul Ryan released a statement, “I am sickened by what I heard today. Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified. I hope Mr Trump treats this situation with the seriousness it deserves and works to demonstrate to the country that he has greater respect for women than this clip suggests.” Mitch McConnell released a similar statement, “These comments are repugnant, and unacceptable in any circumstance.” He wants Trump to “apologize directly to women and girls everywhere.”

Why such faux outrage? I think Brian Beutler summed it up nicely in this tweet:

That is: bragging about sexual assault is bad, but it’s nothing when you consider that Trump would cut taxes on the rich.

But really: the recording is, in an important sense, meaningless. We’ve had well over a year of Donald Trump running for president. We all know what kind of man he is. But more to the point: his supporters know what kind of man he is. And they don’t care. They will never care. There is roughly half the Republican base (basket of deplorables) that will vote for Trump no matter what. Even more concerning is that the Republican establishment is in agreement that tax cuts for the rich and benefit cuts for the poor more than offset anything Trump could ever do. If Trump turned out to be a serial killer, they would still support him.

Central Park Five

Meanwhile, just a day before, we learned, Donald Trump Still Thinks The Central Park Five Are Guilty. These are men who were exonerated by DNA evidence. Yet Trump just somehow knows. And he made a telling (and ironic) comment, “And the woman, so badly injured, will never be the same.” I’ve always found this kind of statement odd: there is a victim so we must punish someone regardless of their guilt! But that’s what “law and order” is all about: it’s an authoritarian approach to running a country — control through terrorism directed at the weakest members of society.

What I think is most interesting about this recording’s release is how it changes the dynamics of Sunday night’s debate (that I will be live blogging). Until the recording came out, Trump indicated that he was going to be calm and focused on policy. But last night, he released the following video statement that seems to indicate there is a new plan:

Basically: I’m sorry; but Bill Clinton is worse; and Hillary protected him!

What We Have Learned

So what have we learned? Donald Trump is a vile man? Nope: already knew that. The Republican establishment would feed all their mothers to hyenas in exchange for a reduction in the top marginal tax rate? Nope: already knew that too. That there is no shame on the right? Sorry. The whole thing is just more of the same. When exactly the three-fours of the country who aren’t deplorables will learn this, I cannot say.

Stuff for a Drama in All This, and Not a Bad Drama Either

Luigi PirandelloHe [the boy] disappears soon, you know. And the baby too. She is the first to vanish from the scene. The drama consists finally in this: when that mother re-enters my house, her family born outside of it, and shall we say superimposed on the original, ends with the death of the little girl, the tragedy of the boy, and the flight of the elder daughter. It cannot go on, because it is foreign to its surroundings. So after much torment, we three remain: I, the mother, that son. Then, owing to the disappearance of that extraneous family, we too find ourselves strange to one another. We find we are living in an atmosphere of mortal desolation which is the revenge, as he [indicating the son] scornfully said of the Demon of Experiment, that unfortunately hides in me. Thus, sir, you see when faith is lacking, it becomes impossible to create certain states of happiness, for we lack the necessary humility. Vaingloriously, we try to substitute ourselves for this faith, creating thus for the rest of the world a reality which we believe after their fashion, while, actually, it doesn’t exist. For each one of us has his own reality to be respected before God, even when it is harmful to one’s very self.

—Father in Six Characters in Search of an Author
by Luigi Pirandello (Translated by Edward Storer)