Wednesday, April 27, 2016


A lot of people believe that Donald Trump is refusing to transform himself into a plausible general-election candidate, but I think he believes this is precisely how he's going to make the transition:
At the very end of a news conference commemorating his absurdly dominant Tuesday night performance, Donald Trump accused Hillary Clinton of playing “the women’s card” and said, “If [she] were a man, I don’t think she’d get five percent of the vote.”

On MSNBC’s Morning Joe [today], Trump was asked about Clinton’s comment during her own Tuesday night victory speech that “if fighting for women’s health care and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the woman card, then deal me in!”

Trump responded by trotting out the sexist “shouting” trope that is often deployed against Clinton.

“I haven’t quite recovered, it’s early in the morning, from her shouting that message,” Trump said. “And I know a lot of people would say you can’t say that about a woman because, of course, a woman doesn’t shout, but the way she shouted that message was not -- ooh. I just, that’s the way she said it.”

On ABC’s Good Morning America, Trump recycled another sexist line from his Tuesday night speech -- that if Clinton were a man, she wouldn’t be doing as well as she is.

“It’s not sexist, it’s true,” he said. “It’s a very, very true statement. If she were a man, she’d get five percent.”

Finally, on CNN’s New Day, Trump offered up this doozy -- “When I came out, I was competing against 17 very capable people… and a woman.”
I don't think this is Trump simply refusing to adjust his tone even though he knows he has to make changes as a general-election candidate. I think he thinks he is making changes -- but in target rather than in tone. If I'm right, his idea of a "pivot to the general" involves a ratcheting up of sexism, directed particularly at Clinton. I think his belief is that establishment types are wrong to think this won't work -- after all, they're the ones who said he couldn't get away with describing Mexican immigrants as rapists or calling for a ban on Muslims. Trump, I suspect, thinks talk like this is taboo only because of "political correctness," not because it actually is politically counterproductive.

“I haven’t even started on [Clinton] yet," Trump told Jimmy Fallon back in January. In March, he said the same thing on Fox & Friends: "I haven't started on Hillary yet. That will be interesting." Last week on Fox & Friends, Trump's son Eric said of his father and Clinton, "He’s going to go after her in a way that no one has gone after her before.”

Trump thinks the vast majority of us hate Hillary Clinton, and hate her in a sexist way -- we just won't say in public that we think she's a hag and a shrew and has an annoying laugh and a shouty voice, at least until he breaks the taboo and says it all for us. (Also: Benghazi! Monica! Emails!) I don't know at what point he's going to realize that "political incorrectness" works best in all-Republican environments. I hope that doesn't dawn on him until the night of November 8, 2016.


Ernest Lamonica said...

After Nov 8th Trump will be hearing Hillary's laugh in his Evening Nightmares forever. If you heard his "Foreign Policy" speech today you must realize he has no idea what will come out his mouth when he starts talking. Hillary will have a field day with him in debates,.

Victor said...

tRUMP will make Rick Lazio look like a feminist!

The New York Crank said...

I beg to disagree. I keep seeing validation of my theory that Trump is trying desperately to lose, so that he doesn't have to be President of the United States. But like the two connivers in "The Produers," his best efforts at flopping keep on producing hits.

Yours crankily,
The New York Crank

BKT said...

I kind of agree with NY Crank-- the Trump camapign seems almost like a weird social experiment in which he keeps plumbing the depths of bad taste and repugnance, trying to find the point at which what he says is too outrageous even for rabid conservative crackpots. And he's discovering that there is literally no bottom to that barrel.

Greg said...

Please proceed, Drumpfy.

Frank Wilhoit said...

Trump has exactly two options left. He cannot win the general election. He can lose it, or he can pre-empt it. The only way he can avoid losing is by escalating his rhetoric to the point where the country is in complete chaos before Election Day -- such chaos that it will not matter whether the election is even held, much less who wins.

If he tries to "act Presidential", he will lose his support.

Feud Turgidson said...

Regardless, he'll lose. The only reason it MIGHT not be an historic fat-assed white racist dude fat-ass kicking is due to the amount of voticide, caging, and outright counting fraud that will be occur, largely incidental to Trump because mainly in an effort to keep the Rs in control of the House.

In the end those, he'll have won something he values more than the presidency anyway: control over the RNC, a valuable propety that he will proceed to convert into cash for himself. IMO it's going to cost the various interest groups with a claim to 'own' the RNC a billion dollars to blow off this narcissist, and he still won't shut up until he has some massive stroke while Trumpsplaining the world of everything to Scarborough and the petty scold.

Blackstone said...

Trump winning is not completely out of the realm of possibility (even if low probability). However, this isn't not the path to victory for him.

That said, the best line I've heard is by Stephanie Miller- Donald Trump says what every Republican says when they are drunk.

Steven said...

I think you might find that political incorrectness works better than you thought on the general public too.

If he's sexist and his numbers start dipping, he'll adjust. There is a lot of substantive stuff to go after Hilary on anyway.

If he gets the Republican nomination, which is looking very likely, I wont be surprised if he gets all the way to the white house.

Philo Vaihinger said...

I think you are perhaps forgetting that Trump has already dubbed her "Crooked Hillary" and attacked her for being weak, incompetent, tired, old, and yes, of course, female.

But by no means is he going to rely only on misogynist provocations that he will easily spin, with the help of quotes from single issue feminist supporters, into charges she only cares about "women's issues."

Obama never ran and never governed as "a race man" or "a race leader."

He ran to be president of all Americans and in his presidency, even when dealing with race issues, he has always been about all Americans and the good of the whole country.

Trump is going to go after her as a women's candidate in a sense in which Obama never was a black people's candidate - as mostly or principally though not entirely a women's candidate.

Kathy said...

I wonder how much money Hillary has raised off his bullshit. I sent more today so I can get my official woman card.

Kathy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Philo Vaihinger said...

@Kathy, I sent her some, too. Much earlier in the race I contributed to Bernie, but I came to regret that and voted for Hillary in the PA primary.

Do I get an official woman card?

Kathy said...

@Philo Vaihinger, I don't see why not.