In essence, we didn’t learn anything about the candidates this week that we didn’t already know – Hillary Clinton is a liar and Donald Trump is a sleaze. Only now we have more proof. In a way, the new Trump audio and Hillary’s leaked Wall Street speeches are like a confession from OJ he killed Nicole and Ron – yeah, we know that already.
What these new bits of information do is reinforce what everyone knew to be true, solidifying already hardened positions for the true believers. The problem for Trump and Clinton is there are so many Americans who aren’t true believers for either of them.
On the Clinton front, Hillary was making reluctant headway in appealing to Bernie Sanders supporters. After a month of her promising free or near-free everything, the unwashed über-leftists realized it just wasn’t going to happen for Jill Stein and started coming to terms with the fact their dream of a worker’s paradise would survive, and even be advanced slightly by, a Clinton presidency.
They never believed her – Sanders, the multiple-home-owning socialist, is the only person they believe. But they tolerate her because she’s been saying the right things to them, and she’s not Donald Trump. More importantly, she’s not a Republican.
When transcripts of a few of her paid speeches, including Wall Street speeches, became public, Hillary went into panic mode. Hillary’s words had something for everyone to take umbrage with. She called for “open borders” and “free trade,” which only served to harden opposition to her on the right and re-instill it on the left.
To the right, Hillary’s desire to wipe the map of our nation’s sovereignty didn’t cost her votes, but it reinvigorated opposition from those who believe a nation needs borders to exist.
To the left, knowing Hillary speaks highly of free trade to rich people in private was the equivalent of swearing to your vegetarian girlfriend that you’ll give up meat if she takes you back and being caught with a hamburger in your glove box. Hillary even said in a private email, “So, you need both a public and a private position.”
It confirmed what everyone has known or suspected about her: she’ll do and say anything to get a elected.
The trust, or good will, or whatever you want to call it, Hillary had built with Sanders supporters was wiped clean; the blinders they slipped over their eyes slapped off. This would be great news for the Trump campaign…were it a campaign for nearly anyone but Trump.
While Hillary’s campaign was in panic mode, the Trump campaign was hitting its own iceberg.
The 2005 audio of Donald Trump speaking crudely about woman that surfaced Friday had the media clutching their collective pearls. It was fake outrage – there are maybe five men in the country who haven’t either heard their friends talk like that or said things like that themselves to friends at some point in their lives. Men are pigs, especially when they’re around other men. But so are women when they’re around other women. Who cares?
I know I don’t. Trump was never my guy. I’ve been hoping to see something from him to at least be able to have some level of personal comfort to vote against Hillary, but I haven’t seen it yet.
That said, anyone who thought Donald Trump had turned over a new leaf or wasn’t a morally sketchy person hasn’t been paying attention. He’s bragged about bedding married women in his own books; his extramarital affairs were tabloid headlines. He wasn’t in line to be the next Pope even if every Catholic on the planet quit the faith tomorrow.
The problem for Trump is it’s his own words, in his voice. We all assume he said stuff like that. But now we’ve actually heard him say it.
When the story broke, I wasn’t surprised. Trump is a 70-year-old man and a billionaire. Most adults don’t change, especially 70-year-old billionaires. If you were shocked by the audio from 10 years ago, or the allegations from 2010 (when Trump was already married to his current wife), you chose to be ignorant.
But most Trump supporters weren’t shocked, and they don’t care. He was right, he pretty much could shoot someone and not lose his core supporters. His problem is there aren’t enough of his core supporters to afford to rely just on them. He needs to reach out and win new voters, and a lot of potential new voters didn’t like Trump from the get-go because of his personal shortcomings. His apology video did a bit of that, then went on the attack. Guess we’ll see if that approach works.
The fact is both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had planned to launch bombs at each other in the second presidential debate today, and they each ended up shooting themselves in the foot first. The past came back to haunt both of them Friday in big ways, and at their ages they both have a lot of past left to haunt them in the next month.
They’re both awful people.
But being awful people doesn’t disqualify them from the presidency. These are who the American people picked as their nominee, like it or not. And while these latest revelations are new, they aren’t the least bit shocking. It’s what we always knew these people to be, whether you want to admit it to yourself or not.
This is where we find ourselves – having to choose between a businessman with a history of sleaze in his personal life and a career politician with a history of corruption and self-enrichment through the public sector. It’s a hell of choice. When you enter that voting booth 29 days from now…pick your poison wisely.
(A Final Note: it’s rather telling, yet unsurprising that while even some popular and conservative Republicans have started to call for Trump to “step down” over his words, Democrats seem to have zero problem with Hillary’s actions. Any of them. From the “bimbo eruptions” and fortunes made trading on her government positions in the past to her lying today. That doesn’t tell us anything about these candidates, but it tells us a lot about the character of the two parties.)