Thursday, March 08, 2018


I think there's some truth in this:

I don't think it's just "trash-ass white persons" and "garbage humans" who are unfazed by the Daniels story (and probably will be unfazed if any sexual kompromat involving Trump ever emerges, assuming it's heterosexual and involves adults) -- I think the Monica Lewinsky scandal suggested that voters can shrug off politicians' extramarital sexual behavior under the right circumstances.

I just can't seem to figure out what the right circumstances are. It would be easy to say that Democrats (Eliot Spitzer, Anthony Weiner) can't get away with this kind of thing (because many of their own voters will share the Republican disgust), while Republicans (Trump, David Vitter, now-Congressman Mark Sanford) can get away with it (because their own voters will stay loyal) -- but if that's the formula, why was Clinton able to stay in power? Was it just the fact that he had the chutzpah to remain in office and fight, as did Vitter, while Sanford acted abashed and had to resign as governor, then had the nerve to run for Congress and was welcomed back? But Weiner and Spitzer both failed at attempted political comebacks, and Spitzer's wasn't accompanied by new reports of bad behavior. What's the common thread?

What's the secret? Is it sanctimony if you're a God-invoking conservative (Vitter, Sanford) and sexual swagger if you aren't (Clinton, Trump)? Weiner and Spitzer had neither.

Millions of us despise Trump, but once you factor us out, I think many people in the rest of the population simply see Trump as a larger-than-life figure, someone who's earned the right to play by a different set of rules because he's successful and charismatic. I think even people who claim to believe in strict Christian morality feel that on some level. The thrill of celebrity overwhelms any qualms about right or wrong.

Partly it stems from a desire to live vicariously through the real or imagined sins of someone you regard as an ubermensch -- and, of course, that's not limited to men who'd like to be Trump:

It helps that he seems to want what heartland Americans would want if they were rich: beauty queens, private planes, more-is-more.

With the qualifications noted above, I don't think any sexual dirt on Trump will ever hurt him. It's too exciting to too many people, and the rest of us loathe him already.

No comments: