Is Trump finished?
Certainly any prior Republican candidate would be. A Bill Clinton can be accused of sexual assault and still get elected president. But that’s because Democrats have an easier time in the media.
A Republican, on the other hand, can expect to be hounded for any transgression no matter how long ago it occurred. Trump is accused, with good evidence, of talking badly about women. Clinton was accused of actually treating women badly.
The media went rather lightly on Clinton. They are relentless on Trump. Little has been said or written about the race since last Friday other than stories concerning Trump’s attitudes about women as displayed in his hot-mic guy-talk in 2005.
But Trump’s not supposed to be here in the first place. When he announced for president in June 2015, the candidacy was dismissed as a publicity stunt. It would be over soon said the experts.
‘Soon’ came in mid July when Donald Trump insulted Sen. John McCain, saying that he, Trump, would have more respect for McCain if McCain hadn’t gotten caught by the North Vietnamese.
Trump’s candidacy was over right then declared the experts.
Yet onward he marched, drawing bigger and bigger crowds at his campaign events, filling up big-city arenas and dominating news coverage. One by one the other 16 Republicans in the race fell by the wayside.
By May of this year, it was effectively over. Donald Trump had defied all predictions, all political wisdom and all presidential campaign precedent and won the Republican nomination.
Thus ended Hillary Clinton’s assumption that she would waltz to an election day coronation.
But then came this vulgar tape of Donald Trump talking crudely about sexually conquering beautiful women because of his celebrity.
The media went into a frenzy and immediately published polls saying that Trump is now down by double digits. “He’s done,” say the experts.
But is he?
The tape was a jolt, no question. But there are two things to consider.
First, how shocking is it, really? Donald Trump, a brash, larger-than-life media celebrity went over the top with guy talk about women. Is that really so unexpected? Is anyone really surprised? Is it really shocking?
But assuming that it is, here’s the thing about shock. It wears off rather quickly.
When that happens, voters are still left with a country that a decisive majority of them feel is on the wrong track. Voters are still left with a Democratic candidate that by decisive margins they believe to be a liar. Voters are still left with the choice between the status quo – as it comes to a laundry list of issues ranging from the economy to health care to national security – versus a clear change in direction.
Certainly if Trump goes down in a big defeat, the 2005 recording of him talking boorishly will be held up as a turning point.
But hard as it may be to believe right this second, it might not be over for Trump at all.