It showed Donald Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women. And now the nation is reeling. How can this be happening? How can this man we already know is a hateful racist, misogynist, and con artist behave like this? Who saw this coming—other than everyone?
The campaign has had some surprises. For instance, the nominee of the Republican Party (the party of Reagan) is a puppet of Russia. Now that’s one I didn’t see coming. Trump demeaning women and allegedly sexually assaulting them, that I expected.
Donald Trump is the true illustration of white male privilege. He can accuse Mexicans and exonerated black men like the Central Park 5 of being rapists, while behaving himself like rapist for decades—and still almost become president.
When I first heard Trump’s words on the tape, saying that his stardom allows him to grab women by the p-word, it sounded like how most male comedians I know talk. And believe me, none of them should be president, either.
Even many Republicans condemned Trump’s disgusting remarks and several rescinded their endorsements. Their statements of outrage against Trump were strikingly similar: “As a husband and father of daughters, I am deeply offended.” I assume that if any their wives and daughters were Mexican, Muslim or African American, they would have been offended months ago. Everyone should have been highly offended starting from the moment his campaign began.
At the last debate, Trump tried to defend himself for the words he said on the tape. He claimed, “No one respects women more than I do.” This much we know: if a man feels a need to clarify and state, “I respect women,” it’s because he doesn’t. Donald Trump also tried to dismiss those rape-y comments as just “locker room talk.” But more videos have surfaced since then. In one, he tells a 10-year-old girl that he would date her in 10 years. I guess we should take that as just “5th grade room talk.”
At the debate, Trump tried to turn his behavior around on Hillary Clinton. He painted Bill Clinton as the real assaulter and he even brought President Clinton’s past accusers to a press conference and into the debate hall. Bill Clinton is certainly vulnerable in this area. It makes me recall that not long ago, people would compare Hillary unfavorably to Bill, as he’s such a great politician. I would hear, “She’s no Bill Clinton.” Now I hear, “Thank goodness, she’s no Bill Clinton.”
This turning the tables on Hillary won’t work. It’s Hillary Clinton on the ballot and, even though Donald may not get this, women are not just extensions of their husbands. And there is one thing Americans can say about Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, and Hillary Clinton with some degree of certainty: Hillary is the one who has not committed sexual assault.
Anyone who doubts that things are still hard for women, just look at how Donald Trump treats them. And just look at what Hillary Clinton withstood with grace at that second debate. She was shamed, having to face her husband’s other women. She was stalked across the stage by a hulking, sneering man. She was threatened to be jailed. She was called the devil. It’s pretty much exactly what you would expect the first woman would have to go through to become president.
At least a couple of good things have come out of this horror. One, I have fully mastered the spelling of the word “misogyny.” (I used to have trouble with the “i” or “y.” Now after typing it a thousand times during this election, I got it.) And second, Hillary Clinton will likely become president. And then maybe Michelle Obama.
Hilary Schwartz is a comedian and writer based in NYC with love (and hate) for politics. She is a regular contributor to Political Storm.
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