Saturday, August 20, 2016

Trump Nailing His Own Coffin Shut

As Donald Trump’s numbers plummet, we could bask in the sense that America has finally woken up to what they were supporting. On the other hand, we could ask: “what took you so long?” The reality, however, is that this election is far from over and that he happens to be running against another incredibly unpopular candidate, possibly combining for the worst presidential election in memory (maybe ever). Never before have the American people had to choose between two candidates they liked less. Sure, there was Bush vs. Gore, which pitted a misfiring Vice President against an abject buffoon, but their positivity ratings were never near the depths we are currently experiencing.

Nonetheless, it does look like a second Clinton presidency is becoming increasingly popular with each passing day. And this could be good for our democracy, at least putting a puncture in the right-wing talking heads that have had far too much influence on American democracy since the first Clinton entered office 24 years ago. Unfazed by his slumping figures, with even stalwart red states currently in play, Trump has decided to go all the way with his bellicose, largely unhinged campaign strategy, going as far as to hire a Breitbart executive as his campaign manager (NYT).

In just the past few weeks of a meltdown that seemed to immediately follow his rise to a marginal lead in the polls after the GOP Convention, here are some of the outlandish things the Republican nominee for our highest office has said:

-  - “In many respects you know they honor President Obama. ISIS is honoring President Obama! He is the founder of ISIS. He’s the founder of ISIS, O.K.! He’s the founder, he founded ISIS and I would say the co-founder would be crooked Hillary Clinton. Co-founder, crooked Hillary Clinton. And that’s what it’s about.” As the crowd erupted into cheers and chants of “Lock her up,” Mr. Trump then smiled and basked in the crowd’s applause. (NYT)
  - Speaking about Pennsylvania, a state he is currently trailing in, “Pennsylvania is a little further, but I think we’ll win Pennsylvania because of the miners,” he said, adding of Mrs. Clinton: “She wants the miners out of business. She wants steel out of business.” (NYT)
  -  While this might be good news for the hardliners, GOP leaders were apoplectic where he told WKBT-TV in Wisconsin, “I am who I am. It's me. I don't want to change. Everyone talks about 'oh are you gonna pivot?' I don't want to pivot. I mean you have to be you. If you start pivoting, you are not being honest with people." His honesty, of course, includes the aforementioned charges, building a wall that Mexico will pay for, kicking out Muslims, telling Second Amendment advocates to take up arms to stop Clinton from appointing Supreme Court justices they might not like, ending our NATO alliance, spending more while cutting taxes dramatically and, somehow, cutting the deficit in the process, and a host of other absurd claims that defy history, logic and any sense of reality.
  -  And in one of the strangest claims in history, Trump is arguing the only way he can lose is if the election is stolen from him: “If the election is rigged, I would not be surprised. The voter ID situation has turned out to be a very unfair development. We may have people vote 10 times.” (WP) He made similar claims in Ohio, saying, “the election is going to be rigged.” That same day, in an interview with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, he beseeched Republicans to start “watching closely” or the election will be “taken away from us” through fraud. Many people cry foul after losing, but to do so before is a new take on preemptive strikes that actually seems in line with Trump’s worldview.

And so all Hillary Clinton needs to do, at the moment, is do damage control on the many “scandals” that surround her and look as sane as possible. Even among her most vociferous critics, it is hard to find many who would argue she is not that …

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