The anticipated heavy opposition research on Donald Trump started dropping late last week. Access Hollywood released audio and follow-up video of Trump bragging that women let him do anything to them because he’s a star.
We knew such stories were coming. In fact, Hillary Clinton’s team’s restraint impressed me, in a detached sort of way. They have strategy and discipline. I expected they would hit hard on a least one of the big stories like this during the summer when the race appeared to tighten. But they held until October to inflict maximum damage when Republicans had the least manoeuvrability.
They not only had to restrain themselves, but also the sources from selling the tapes to Republican opposition researchers. (I will assume for brevity that some R staffers actually sought them.) I grant that this restraint involved a fair amount of media collusion with the Clinton camp, but media bias has been a reliable feature of American political coverage for decades. The Right should have figured out long ago that we must work with the limitation. It does no good to continue complaining about it as if the middle or the Left might care. Nor does it help to do our own media collusion on the right.
The Trump Tapes have dominated political coverage for a week, even with Sunday night’s town hall style debate. Many leftists are hypocritically appalled, as they were not bothered by this sort of behavior in the past. Many Republicans and evangelicals are hypocritically not appalled, as they have railed against such behavior previously. (Other Republicans have rescinded their endorsements, which is too little, too late this year.)
The analysis is simple. Either character matters or it doesn’t. If character does not matter, then one can use a “but he’s our bastard” defence. If character does matter, then it matters regardless of the letter next to the politician’s name.
But aside from the hypocrisy tangles, I want to focus on one particular and awful defence of Trump. Many Republicans have defended Trump because the talk of grabbing women by the pussy — yes, that’s what he claimed he did as a matter of rich man’s advantage — is just “locker room banter” or “frat boy level” discourse to amuse or impress the other manly men in the conversation.
Comments like Trump’s neither amuse nor impress. First and foremost, it wasn’t simply dirty words. The “banter” described sexual assault. Any analysis that does not deal with that truth is indefensible.
After that threshold issue, I must wonder what kind of men these defenders of Trump know. I’ve worked in many male-dominated industries and hung out with a lot of frat boys. Outside of self-pleasuring-exhibitionist men in Europe, I have encountered one man who treated me in any manner approaching what Trump has described and he was quickly set upon by other men in earshot, who interrupted his game and later took steps to prevent it happening in the future.
This isn’t frat boy or locker room talk. This is the word vomit of an aspiring predator. Besides the threat to our daughters, it insults our sons, husbands, and brothers to suggest that this is common, much less pooh-poohable behavior. Worse, it confirms every social justice warrior theory about men, which they use to berate and abuse boys and men.
When Trump became the presumptive nominee in May, I was a steering committee member of the Commission to Establish a White House Council for Boys and Men. We wanted to raise awareness of the boy crisis issues: fatherlessness, suicide and mental health, education, and employment, all areas in which men suffer or lag behind women in some significant way.
I resigned when the race became Trump vs Clinton because I thought a White House Council was futile. Hillary Clinton has no care for the concerns of men. She’s one of the prime players set against them.
Donald Trump would set the boy crisis causes back for a generation. Fatherhood? He’s the guy that thinks kids are cute but getting your hands dirty with diapers or such is women’s work. Manliness? He hasn’t served in uniform or slogged through Mike Rowe type dirty jobs but claims prowess by churning businesses out of a cushy loan from his daddy and bragging about his penis size on national television.
But ultimately, it is his view of women that does the most damage. In addition to his treatment of women as objects, he illustrates the theory of Toxic Masculinity that motivates feminist social justice warriors, and Republican excuses for this behavior confirm everything they ever thought of the Right.
Trump’s support among women is collapsing, if it was ever there. He and his supporters have not only handed the White House to Hillary Clinton, but if the landslide comes, then they have handed her the illusion of a popular mandate and emboldened SJWs to do their worst against manliness.
Everyone loses. It will be a very long four years in America.
(Image: Sylvie Pankhurst)