The New York Times “Upshot” analysis of the election polls puts Trump’s chance of winning the election at 18%.
He was on an accelerating slide since “The Great Gross Debate” on September 26th (which was only two weeks ago, but it feels like forever; this campaign feels like it’s been going on forever).
The first “October Surprise” was the New York Times’ release of a snippet of Donald Trump’s 1995 tax return (anonymously supplied by a tipster), which shows he reported about $915 million in business deductions, which, as a “net operating loss,” could have offset past and future taxes on other income, if he had that much. (The Hillary side is now willing to assume he is that rich, while also baiting him with taunts that he isn’t.)
That was last week’s stumble. The banana peel came yesterday, when the Washington Post released an audio of Donald talking rude-and-crude about chasing women.
Donald is correct that, as history shows, some past presidents led, let us say, to be polite, “active” sex lives. Bill Clinton thought he could get away with what Kennedy did. Kennedy probably knew of Franklin Roosevelt’s extramarital activities. And possibly Eisenhower’s (pre-White House, however).
The problem for Donald is not so much that he talked trash or even that he got recorded doing it. It’s that it feeds his coarse, crass, juvenile, and boorish caricature. The country has accepted JFK’s dalliances and, somehow, swallowed Bill Clinton’s – but if one’s going to be a tomcat in high office, one needs to have some class (JFK’s way), or at least some professed remorse when caught (Bill’s way).
Although this episode of Trump’s is not new, but only newly re-discovered, it undermines his ability (and poor Mike Pence’s, too) to contend that the “real” Donald Trump is not the “Reality” Donald Trump, who made him famous. Politics can be entertaining for adults, but “adult entertainment” doesn’t play well in politics.
One needn’t rely on the polling statistics to know Trump can’t win. It was plain in August that “Donald Is Done,” as he had “insulted just about everybody and seems intent on getting around to the rest by November.” He had already alienated too wide a swath of the electorate Americans to win. “Hurricane Donald Blows Away.”
It’s October and, on schedule as predicted, those whom Trump had merely “insulted” and “alienated” – and almost everyone else – he has now disgusted.
Shortly after the first debate, CNBC announced Trump’s campaign is slipping into a death spiral. The Detroit News broke 114 years of backing the Republican and came out for Gary Johnson. The Atlantic Magazine – for only the third time in its 159 years – weighed in on a presidential election by expressly coming out “Against Donald Trump.” The New Yorker magazine declares “Trump’s in Big Trouble.”
Saturday Night Live delivered its first skit. While it took its shots at Hillary, its depiction of Trump was more biting. Writers have more to work with there and more will come, as poking fun will progress to outright ridicule.
Donald doesn’t like being ridiculed. He has a remarkably thin skin for a political candidate. He has no sense of humor or wit. (He’s “no Jack Kennedy” nor even a Barrack Obama, who once displayed considerable comic timing – at Trump’s expense.) He’s not a good sport.
He doesn’t like losing. And by a landslide at that. He probably can imagine the morning-after headline, “The Biggest Loser” at newsstands coast-to-coast. He probably can’t imagine even mouthing the words to a concession speech.
The New York Times strikes up the band with “Pressure Mounts on Trump to Step Aside.” Trump says “never.”
So did Nixon (who was also caught on tape talking dirty . . . how history repeats!)
Like Nixon’s, Trump’s end will come, not at the hand of the New York Times, however, but when the delegation of Republican Brahmins, including some Tea Party-ers and “Second Amendment People,” convene solemnly at Trump Tower . . . and persuade first daughter Ivanka to tell Dad to call it quits. It’s hopeless. It’s costing them millions. It’s tainting the “Brand.”
Donald knows when to file for “bankruptcy.”
The sequel: Pence is promoted, but he has no following, to the panic of the #NeverHillary’s. That’s 66% of Trump’s support, who say they mainly are voting against Clinton; only 23 percent are mainly for Trump – per a Quinnipiac poll. The poll also finds that 54% of Hillary’s voters are mainly voting against Trump. Both cohorts are now “Liberated” to vote their conscience, which is not for either of those two most-despised candidates in memory or ever.
Libertarian Gary Johnson emails supporters that he’s aiming at winning a few states – New Mexico, Utah, New Hampshire, Colorado, and Alaska, where he says polls show him competitive – to deny an electoral majority to each of the others.
With Trump out, Gary could do much, much better.
Ron Litchman is Chair of The Manhattan Libertarian Party. ManhattanLP.org. (He expresses his own views, not necessarily those of the Manhattan, New York State or National Libertarian Party, nor of any other individual.)