The last time I wrote one of these pieces, I was nearly in despair over the state of this year’s presidential election.
To briefly recap, since launching his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump has managed to issue inflammatory and divisive remarks against Muslims, Mexican immigrants, women, people of color collectively and numerous other demographics.
In spite of all that, and despite many self-sought firestorms that would have doomed many another candidate, Trump deftly conquered the Republican primary race. Trump effectively clinched the Republican nomination by the end of spring, and I remember a Hamlet reference at the end of my last piece in which I bemoaned his immunity to “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.”
And I say that chiefly because since Friday, I’ve been watching the expedient and nigh inevitable self-immolation of the Trump campaign.
Following his first staged encounter with Hillary Clinton at the presidential debate on Sept. 26, Trump spent a week attacking former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, whom Clinton had referenced in the debate as yet another female victim of Trump’s reprehensible rhetoric.
We know by this point what Trump does when confronted with a gaffe of this magnitude—he grabs for the nearest shovel, digs a trench fit for No Man’s Land and waits, bayonet in hand, for the media and his opponents to make a move.
So it went with Clinton’s reference of Machado. Trump fumed at being reminded of his calling Machado “Miss Piggy,” and then “Miss Housekeeping,” due to her Latin heritage. He posted a tweet urging voters to check out a purported sex tape Machado had been in. Perhaps somehow, Trump thought further denigrating Machado would help his political standing.
By early October, Trump had spent 16 months running a campaign predicated on attacks against various segments of our society. His political messages of angst and rage had been broadly repudiated by these groups, especially women.
And then came Friday, the 7th of October. The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold managed to dig up a video recording from 2005 in which the current presidential candidate issued the following remarks:
“I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her,” Trump says. “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”
“And when you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump says. “You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”
This, at long last, was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The Republican party as we know it today could stand by a candidate who built his brand on attacks against the plethora of social groups Trump had feuded with. But the second white womanhood was cast in the same light, Trump became indefensible.
That same evening, Republican lawmakers began retracting their support for Trump in the presidential campaign. Further condemnation and desertion of Trump continued through the weekend. There was talk that Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus would no longer financially support the Trump campaign in favor of down-ballot races.
Trump had a chance to address and recover from the damning footage during the second presidential debate, held Oct. 9. This would most likely be his final, last-ditch effort to restore faith in his candidacy.
I’ve been dancing on what looks like the Trump campaign’s deathbed since Saturday.
To put cards on the table, I have no qualms with expressing my view of Trump’s campaign as the most caustic and egregious political operation run in this country during my lifetime. I’ve now written a few thousand words to that end, and even if readership of this series doesn’t extend far beyond the parameters of this campus, that’ll suffice for me.
There will be at least one more installment following The Sinister Saga of Donald Trump. There are fewer than 30 days remaining before our presidential elections, and damned if there’s not some liquor left. Whether our electorate decides to plunge our nation into the oblivion of a Trump presidency or sees the light of day in an all-around much better candidate, I’ll be here to write about it.
From this time forth, my thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth.
Featured Photo Credit: Feature photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore on Flickr.
Horus Alas is a senior philosophy major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.