Today we heard a tape of Donald Trump making extremely lewd and crude remarks about women. What astounds me more is that all of a sudden some media commentators and politicians are acting as though these revelations are somehow a shock.
Trump has been recorded making disparaging remarks about women many times in the past. Trump’s attitudes towards women are well-known, and anyone who professes to be shocked after hearing this tape is only saying so for the benefit of the media. Where was the outrage at all of the many previous instances and examples?
The country’s most senior Republican, Paul Ryan, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, cancelled a campaign appearance, but did not disendorse his party’s presidential nominee. Neither did his number two, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
When confronted by the media about the tape, long-term Trump supporter and Florida Governor Rick Scott said:
If you believe that, then I know of some businesspeople in Nigeria who would be interested in sharing their inheritance with you.
This issue will be a news story for a couple of days, but it will fade like every other shocking Trump story we have heard over the past 18 months.
The reality is that Trump will not lose a single vote following this latest revelation. He will not gain any, either, but he was never in danger of that. Trump’s vote is locked in.
There is not a single American voter who is wavering on whether or not to vote for Trump; they are either going to vote for him, or they are not.
Hillary Clinton’s vote, though, does have room to grow. Disenchanted Republican voters, and traditional independent voters, are trying to decide whether to vote for her, vote for a third party, or simply stay home on election day.
A quick glance, shortly before publication of this article, at Trump’s apology on his official Facebook page reveals some very interesting – or scary – results. Of the approximately 122k “likes”, just 2.2% were “angry”, “sad”, or “wow”.
The overwhelming majority of Trump’s supporters like him even more. A look through some of the comments tells a further story about how this issue might affect him.
In January this year, Trump infamously said to a campaign rally in Iowa, that he could “shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters”. As shocking and scary as that statement was, it is absolutely true.
Trump will survive this latest outrage. He will not withdraw from the race, and it will have no bearing on his final vote in November.
The bigger issue facing the US following election day is what New York Times writer Andy Borowitz wrote in March 2016:
Stopping Trump is a short-term solution. The long-term solution, and it will be more difficult, is fixing the educational system that has created so many people ignorant enough to vote.