By this point, pretty much everybody’s aware of the recording, which the Washington Post first published on Friday, of Donald Trump boasting to Access Hollywood star Billy Bush that, because he’s a “star,” he can get away with doing whatever he wants to “beautiful women,” including grabbing them by the genitals.
I was starting to wonder if the widespread outrage against Trump had maxed out, but it’s good to see that it hasn’t. Nobody in their right mind can stand behind a person who says things like this.
Even the Republican National Committee has withdrawn their support of Trump. As of today, the party’s official effort to support Trump’s campaign, known as the “Victory” project, is officially at least partially suspended.
It’s unclear how long this hiatus will last, but it’s groundbreaking for a major party to withdraw their support for a presidential candidate just a month before the election.
Frankly, I didn’t even know that was possible.
But it makes sense.
I hope we’re getting to the point where even associating with Trump becomes a liability. It’s good to see that, in many circles, Trump is becoming the great American punching bag. Even Robert Deniro is making public statements about knocking his lights out.
Thank god for the 19th amendment. Up until 1920, it wouldn’t have been possible for a male politician to lose women’s votes. They couldn’t vote.
Thank god for a culture that produces massive quantities of footage of public figures. For much of American history, tape like this would have felt like something out of science fiction. It’s not like politicians were recording phonograph records about how entitled they felt to sexually assault women.
It’s easy to see what’s going on with Trump’s campaign as a new low in our nation’s political campaigns.
What if, god forbid, this depravity is simply the new face of American politics?
Are we really going to have to endure this kind of revolting misogyny every time there’s a major election?
But, I wonder if the opposite is, in fact, occurring.
Perhaps what we’re seeing is a society catching up with what’s been going on for a very, very long time, and, for the first time, caring enough about it to raise an uproar and shut it down.
Billy Bush, the other half of Trump’s conversation, didn’t come out of nowhere.
This is W’s cousin. Billy spent the early nineties living here in Maine, captaining the lacrosse team at Colby.
As upsetting as Billy’s conversation with Trump is to anybody with a shred of decency, I get the sense that rich, white frat guys say stuff like this all the time as they go about their day to day work of running Wall Street and overthrowing democratically elected governments south of the equator.
The difference is that, normally, they’re allowed to do so with impunity.
I wonder if all of this could be indicative of things changing.
In 1948, 69% of American men reported having paid for sex. By 2007, it was down to 15%.
Today, more and more kids are being taught about the importance of consent in intimate relationships, and men and boys are increasingly getting “called out” for behaving toward women in ways that are ugly and violent.
Or at least they should be.
It’s a long fight, and I don’t mean to imply that we’re there yet. There’s still an unbelievable amount of work left to do.
But, hopefully, as Trump’s campaign implodes and combusts, as I’m confidant it almost certainly will, it will send a powerful message about the kinds of behaviors that American voters will and will not accept in our public officials.
Billy Bush and Donald Trump are not the “new normal” – men have said awful, degrading things about women since the dawn of time.
What I think might be new is the extent to which the public is shining a spotlight on this behavior. What’s new is the amount that we can see and the volume at which female voices are being heard in angry opposition to it.
Sure it’s horrifying to see somebody so close to taking control of our country behave like this, but, if this outrage is the new normal, and I hope it is, I think we may just be all right.