Saturday, October 08, 2016

The Donald Chronicles: Panic

Saturday p.m. story in the Washington Post begins:

"The Republican Party plunged into an epic and historic political crisis Saturday with just a month to go until Election Day, as a growing wave of GOP lawmakers called on defiant presidential nominee Donald Trump to drop out of the race in the wake of a video showing him make crude sexual remarks.

The fallout from the tape published by The Washington Post — in which Trump bragged in obscene language about forcing himself on women sexually — threatens to endanger the party’s hold on both houses of Congress in addition to the White House, which many Republicans now fear is lost. The episode also comes ahead of Sunday’s second presidential debate in St. Louis, which was already a crucial moment but could determine how widely the damage spreads."

The Post reports that "more than two dozen" Republican pols have now called for Trump to drop out of the race, but he has categorically refused to do so.  Other Republicans--like John McCain--have withdrawn support or simply said they would not vote for Trump.

The Clinton campaign, the Post said, "seized on the video as another in a long line of disqualifying remarks and actions by Trump."  But this is the one that for whatever reasons (probably the video and audio) has caused a frenzy, and has resurrected other recorded remarks by Trump that have long been available but are now highlighted as part of the cumulative evidence.  (Although there is one that has been "newly uncovered" and it's ugly.)

Trump tweeted and repeated that he wouldn't abandon his supporters, and some of those supporters showed up at Saturday events to boo and heckle prominent Republicans, including Paul Ryan, for abandoning Trump.  TPM published a list of Republicans who are abandoning Trump in one way or another.  Josh Marshall takes note of Trump's voter support and the civil war among GOPers.

And while Mike Pence issued a statement condemning Trump's words, he also accepted his apology.  But he still won't talk to reporters and cancelled his appearance with Paul Ryan.

Republican pols who didn't seem to care how incompetent, unhinged, authoritarian Trump is--let alone how much of a sexual predator their nominee is-- are now fearing that they will lose the Senate and House, especially those in tough races.  Republican women, like Senator Kelly Ayotte (herself in a tough race) are abandoning Trump, and that's just starting to attain critical mass.

So what these GOPers fear is the straight party ticket and perhaps even more, than many of their traditional voters will just not vote at all.

(As a side note, the one group that seems sincerely outraged by Trump's comments are Mormon office holders in Utah and Idaho.  The once-speculated, previously unthinkable Utah move to blue is once again at least thinkable.)

What we now have emerging is a perfect storm, or rather a cataclysmic storm which nevertheless cannot break out of its contained environment," Josh Marshall writes.

Today is clearly the panic phase, and adds all sorts of dizzying possibilities to Sunday's debate.  Does the impact remain in the month to election day?  Some Republican pols think it might not, while others believe Trump has lost his last chance to make inroads with women and other groups he needed.

The Politico piece linked above contains two especially interesting quotes both from Dems:

“It's done,” a Florida Democrat said. “But moreover, the right spent eight years absolutely maligning the character of Barack Obama, and look what it got them: one of the most disgusting humans as their nominee. Hopefully this will be an inflection moment for the country.”

“At this stage, I don't think it's possible to knock this guy out. He's a cockroach at the end of a nuclear winter,” said a New Hampshire Democrat. “But at least people now know he's a cockroach after these comments. He'll still lose, but 45 percent of people are so partisan that they won't change their minds no matter what he's said.”

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