For nearly a year, hardline Trump supporters and members of the so-called “alt right” have labored tirelessly to defend the vulgar words and precarious political positions of the reality TV star and real estate mogul Donald Trump. They have argued that America’s current political system, which relies heavily upon the power of representative government and centralized federal power, casts aside any serious concern for the wellbeing and perspective of ordinary Americans. They have claimed that Donald Trump, admittedly an unorthodox candidate, is the leader America needs to wreak havoc upon a corrupt system that manages to find ways to excuse the incompetence and corruption of the likes of Hillary Clinton. They delight at the prospect of this ‘bull in a China shop’ wrecking havoc upon the decadent establishment of big government and big business based out of Washington, D.C.
But on Friday the bull got too wild for the taste of almost anyone. The release of Trump’s 2005 remarks on his way to a soap opera appearance, dated as they were, have now sunk the campaign to a new low. It isn’t simply that Trump’s words are “lewd,” “vulgar,” or examples of “locker-room talk” as much of the press initially reported. If that were simply the case, Trump’s surrogates might actually feel emboldened by them. Donald Trump’s bashing of political correctness has in fact been a major source of his appeal.
These remarks, however, are different in that they cross a very serious line. In the exchange Trump is heard not only boasting about infidelity and the access he has to various women. He goes further, actually defending sexual assault and his choice to ignore the importance of consent. The deplorable nature of this dialogue is most evident when Trump states, in regards to making intimate moves towards unsuspecting women, that “I don’t even wait.” In no locker room, politically un-correct rant, or parallel universe anywhere are such remarks those of a man who should be President of the United States.
As a result the anti-establishment candidacy of Donald Trump is now in danger to its very roots, and it has everything to do with the link between power and sexual assault. As any sexual assault prevention course will tell you, sexual assault begins with one person having particular strength, power, or leverage over another. The perpetrator, possessing a strong sexual desire for the victim, loses any regard for the interests and rights of others. He or she becomes consumed with desire, and then abuses the power they have in acting without consent.
This is particularly relevant and damaging to Donald Trump because his entire candidacy is built upon his presumed ability to wrestle power from the corrupt. Trump argues that he is a patriot who can be trusted with the office of the presidency since he will always keep the interests of ordinary Americans in mind. Unlike the Clintons, whom he casts as the embodiment of corruption, Trump claims a personal resiliency to the temptations of corruption. Donald Trump is different, he and his supporters say, because he is a traitor to the Washington establishment and an elixir to America’s woes.
But now we know better. Behind closed doors Donald Trump is just as much an abuser of his celebrity status as Bill Clinton. As as the video shows Trump has clearly not had the interests of the women he encounters in mind; how then can he be trusted without the entire citizenry? Trump in fact purposefully talked about trying to seduce a woman to commit infidelity against her husband, and then he bragged about the access his celebrity status gave him. This is not the character of a patriot; it is the character of a man who will use power for his own gain and satisfaction.
Consequentially, GOP leaders now face what may be the darkest days in the history of the Republican Party. They are forced to recognize that their chances of winning the 2016 presidential election with Trump are over, and that they now have even bigger issues to face. The GOP will soon decide its moral future and soul by determining exactly how much tolerance its leaders have for blatant misogyny and defense of sexual assault. Amidst such chaos, Republican leaders like Reince Priebus, Paul Ryan, and Mike Pence will gradually move away from electoral calculations and more towards conviction of their own hearts. For what decent and honorable man, when considering his own family, can in good conscience conjure up any argument for what he has seen and heard besides complete and utter disgust?