Yesterday may have been the culmination of the weirdest, most surreal election campaign this country has ever seen or, hopefully, will ever see again. For people who hate Trump, it was a bizarre feeling of disgust and satisfaction. There’s nothing that Donald Trump said in that tape with Billy Bush that surprised us, but it did reinforce all of our worst fears about the man. It also reinforced everything that the women of this site and elsewhere have been writing about for years, not just about Donald Trump, but about a lot more men than we probably care to admit.
We’re going to see a lot of men like this defending sexual assault in the coming days, and this is as appalling as the actions of Trump. In fact, anyone who defends Donald Trump from this point in should be removed from the pool of pundits.
Donald Trump is Brock Turner writ large: A sexual predator who managed to become a major-party nominee for President of the United States because he is white and wealthy. You can scream #notallmen all you want, but there are millions of those men all around us, and every time you let a “locker room” conversation like Trump’s go unchecked, you have contributed to the problem. We have to take some responsibility for our gender. This is not going to stop until we tell our brothers, our fathers, our co-workers and our friends to knock it off. Until they understand that’s it’s not OK to say — or think — these things in public or in private. We have to clean our own goddamn houses.
The good news is, this is the nail in the coffin of Trump’s campaign. He may rebound in the weeks to come, but he’s never going to close the gap. In that way, the events of last night were sickeningly satisfying, but also profoundly depressing. How did it get this far? How did the country let this man sniff the most powerful office in the land?
Donald Trump did release a video apology that bore no resemblance to an actual apology. It was defiant and aggressive. He only apologized for the words, but never his actions, and then he sought to shift blame, as Donald Trump is wont to do. It was the apology of a sociopath.
Republicans, meanwhile, are finally starting to jump ship, not because Donald Trump is a xenophobic, misogynistic pig — because he has been since the beginning — but because there’s audio tape proving it. Some of the men abandoning Trump are doing it out of an honest belief that Trump is a repulsive, irredeemable man (the Mormon politicians in Utah, for instance), but others are doing it only to save their own ass politically. In and of itself, it’s been gross to see men (and women) who refused to stand up against a bullying demagogue for 16 months only do so now when it is politically convenient. It’s disappointing to see that so many of our elected officials are only willing to stand up for the country when it serves their own political interests.
Even more depressing are the Republicans who still refuse to walk away.
Sen. Roy Blunt tells me he'll still vote for Trump, and it's "unrealistic" to ask that he quit the race to be replaced.— daveweigel (@daveweigel) October 8, 2016
For those who weren’t watching cable news last night, Ana Navarro continued to be a one-woman wrecking machine, dressing down Republicans for continuing to defend Donald Trump, calling upon them — ney, demanding — that they pull their endorsements.
There was also a lot of talk about Donald Trump dropping out, and what the Republicans might do in that event. Trump is not going to drop out, and even if he did, it’s too late to do anything about it. The ballots are printed. Thousands of early votes are already in, and even if the GOP was somehow able to elevate Mike Pence to the top of the ticket, polls show he’s not only losing right now in a head to head race versus Clinton, but he will forever have the stink of Donald Trump on him. Trump supporters would stay home. Pence would lose in a landslide.
For Democrats, and for people with an ounce of common decency, this should be a great day. Donald Trump’s downfall should be a time for celebration. But it doesn’t feel like that right now. It just feels like someone took the bandage off an old sore, exposing the gangrenous foot underneath, the bones exposed to the elements. We have to decide now if we’re going to cut it off at the ankle, of if we’re going to spend the next few years trying to clean up the blood and pus oozing from our Democracy.
Dustin Rowles does not use images of Donald Trump in his political posts. Above is Kylie Bunbury, the lead in Fox’s “Pitch,” which is the best feel-good escape from the election season on TV right now. You can follow Dustin on Twitter.