First things first: The tape released last week that showed Donald Trump talking graphically about making moves on a married woman while himself married, and bragging that his social status and wealth allowed him to grab women at will, is no surprise. It’s also completely unacceptable.
But it did give the media an excuse to discuss Trump instead of new e-mails showing Hillary Clinton breaking the law. The Democratic presidential nominee was also able to largely skate free from top-of-the-fold coverage of how she plans to sell America’s sovereignty down the proverbial river. Many Republicans and conservatives bear blame for this, as demands for Trump to drop out over unsurprising, disgusting comments made a decade ago overshadowed Clinton’s far more relevant scandal.
As an officially Never Trump voter, I’m very glad to have avoided the garbage fire that erupted Friday. While a lot has been written about the situation, here are three points that have largely been ignored.
Let’s Get Some Perspective, Folks
First, as pointed out in a viral Facebook meme and a powerful piece at PJ Media, most of the people expressing shock and horror at Trump’s derogatory 2005 comments are either lying or totally unaware of themselves. In a country where women average four sex partners and men average seven (graphic content warning at link), 40 million Americans view pornography (which is often violent and has been linked to sex trafficking), and Bill Clinton isn’t in jail, Trump’s comments are just the extreme version of what happens every day to and for millions of Americans.
As importantly, the brouhaha over decade-old comments shows the Left’s convenient lie: That it’s past time to move on from moral matters. That standard appears to only apply when conservatives demand standards for those in public office. Certainly not in Hollywood, or in video games, or for politicians with the surname Clinton.
Second, Trump’s base of supporters are not standing with him because he’s a paragon of virtue. Many simply see him as the anti-Washington vote—a man who has said he’ll tear down a system of power that, economically, has failed everyone but the wealthy for decades.
If voters wanted a semi-moral person for president of the United States, neither of the current major-party candidates would meet that standard. Trump has been a public boor for decades, and Hillary Clinton has enabled her husband’s alleged abuse of women. She’s also attacked Bill’s accusers since the 1990s.
The GOP Picked Trump On Purpose
Lastly, and most importantly: The establishment GOP owns Trump, and abandoning him now can’t change that. In March, the GOP primary functionally turned into a two-man race: Trump versus Sen. Ted Cruz, with Ohio Gov. John Kasich in a distant third. Yet three weeks after Sen. Marco Rubio dropped out of the race, only two senators had backed Cruz.
Trump was largely reviled by GOP senators, yet Cruz’s bombastic and self-serving style of Senate activism concerned them only slightly less than Trump’s problematic personal and professional ethics, and policy backflips. Likewise, influential Republicans like former Senate majority leaders Trent Lott and Bob Dole, and former House Speaker John Boehner, backed Trump
It is true that neither candidate received a lot of establishment backing, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s endorsement of Trump was somewhat balanced out by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s backing of Cruz. Additionally, Trump garnered just one Senate backer, and Cruz did receive more Capitol Hill support—but where were dozens of other Republican senators and representatives?
Their radio silence at the time speaks volumes—re-election was more important than making sure an actual conservative beat Trump. As importantly, where at the convention were these people who are now abandoning Trump at a record pace? They wait until now to make a stand? Over comments a decade old, that offer nothing new except salacious headlines?
The silence of elected and other powerful Republicans during the endgame of the GOP primary spoke volumes. Cruz made a lot of enemies in the U.S. Senate and elsewhere, something Trump pointed out in a debate. But he holds actual conservative principles, and on his worst day cannot match the vitriolic and boorish style of Trump.
Of course, now Republicans can’t ditch Trump fast enough. Thanks, folks—you helped give us Trump, and then when comments from the Bush era came to light, you carried Clinton’s water. That’s some impressive leadership, right there.