Will this do it? After months of racism, sexism, and xenophobia, will this be what finally sinks Donald Trump? I guess we'll see...
Certainly, many Republican politicians seem to be deserting the sinking ship. Of course, it seemed to be sinking even before this. (But it would be stupid to become complacent. He could still win, especially if liberals throw away their votes on idiotic third-party candidates.)
But Republican politicians wouldn't be deserting him if they thought he could win. After all, he's been saying these things all along. And if you're willing to use racism for political advantage, where will you draw the line?
Here's how Josh Marshall at TPM puts it:
We can't say the emergence of this tape was predictable. But the behavior is not at all surprising based on what we already knew. Indeed, I would almost say this whole line of reasoning is offensive, in this sense: Sexual assault is terrible. But it's hardly the only terrible thing that has been dredged up by this election. What about the campaigns of hate and occasional violence spurred by this campaign? Just yesterday I wrote about how Trump has done more to normalize anti-Semitism in American public life than anyone in decades. I wrote about this because it is something I know from personal experience. But Trump's entire campaign has been explicitly about demonizing Hispanics and American Muslims - subjecting them to escalating campaigns of hate, harassment and in some cases actual violence. Meanwhile African-Americans have served as his stage props, sometimes being targeted with racist attacks and other times as powerless non-people who only Trump can save. Is all this stuff just a cost of doing business? Sexual assault and sexual violence of all sorts is one of the most pressing issues in our society today. But it is hard not to conclude that the revelation of this tape is considered a step too far because women are a critical demographic that is in play in the election and secondarily because the politicians have wives and daughters. Most of those wives and daughters aren't black or Jews or Hispanic or Muslim or people from any of the other groups Trump has stepped on on his way to the nomination.
You might not care about blacks, Jews, Hispanics, or Muslims. Heck, you might not care about women. But we all know women. We all have family members who are women. At the very least, we all had mothers.
I'm not sure how much difference that makes to Republican politicians, but women vote, and that does matter to them. Republicans may have already written off blacks, Jews, Hispanics, and Muslims, but they can't win if they write off women.
That video clip of Trump is easily found on YouTube (here, for example, though copyright complaints might change that). But note that the problem isn't the 'locker-room banter,' as the Trump campaign tries to spin it. Sure, most men admire beautiful women, and when they're alone - trust me - that can be expressed very lewdly. (That's not admirable. But it's not uncommon.)
But Donald Trump was bragging about sexual assault. He was bragging that he could force himself on women and get away with it, because he's a celebrity. That's the problem here. Sexual assault isn't just rude. It's a crime.
Of course, he'd just gotten married for the third time and he was also talking about trying to commit adultery (with a married woman, no less). But he'd bragged about committing adultery previously. He's on tape bragging about his successes when married to his previous wives, and that hadn't hurt him.
Of course, his first wife, Ivana Trump, had accused him of rape, and that didn't seem to bother his supporters. (Note that he's currently in court over allegations that he raped a 13-year-old. But anyone can claim anything, so I'm not going to assume anything about that, one way or another.)
So if this is what finally causes Donald Trump's candidacy to crash and burn, all I can say is... why did it take so long? Given his entire campaign so far, why was this the straw that broke the camel's back? (If, indeed, it has.) Why were so many people OK with all the rest of it?
Donald Trump should have been disqualified as a presidential candidate pretty much the first time he opened his mouth. And ever since, he has repeatedly demonstrated that he doesn't have the personality, the intelligence, or the qualifications to be President of the United States (not to mention his racism, sexism, and religious bigotry).