Was that debate last night great, or what?? It was a slug-fest from the start and made for entertaining television. It also gave us “Bad Hombres” and “Nasty woman,” two phrases that immediately caught on like wildfire and that will likely become the Halloween craze this year. I said before the debate season even began that I felt there was a really good chance that Trump would eventually be pushed to the point of calling Clinton the B word, but this was so much better. It demonstrated everything that is wrong with the man in a nutshell. First, that this is what he thinks of strong women, second, that he can’t restrain his worst impulses, and third, that he embraces and doubles down on them. It is amazing to me that when the phrase popped into his head, he not only couldn’t keep it from coming out, he actually leaned into the mic so that he could be plainly heard. Much was made about his challenge to the legitimacy of the election, but I honestly feel that this moment was the true coup de grâce to his candidacy, as it provided Clinton’s campaign with “the feminist rallying cry” that it needed (though to be fair, “nasty” has already been a feminist rallying cry). Indeed, “nasty women” across the country are embracing Trump’s insult like a badge of honor and are about to flex their muscles at the polls. Man, I wish Alice Paul could have lived to see this.
But as for Trump challenging the legitimacy of the election: I was frustrated by the lack of media commentators bringing up 1860. Referring to the South’s secession would actually have helped them make their point about how dangerous Trump’s challenge to the democratic process is, and yet we heard nothing about the Civil War (nor Reconstruction’s rigged elections or the Election of 1876, for that matter). On the other hand, Trump’s defenders keep bringing up Gore’s activities in 2000, but the parallel simply does not exist. Gore took back his concession when it became clear that the votes in Florida were in dispute and that a recount was warranted (and called for by state law). Once that recount was stopped by the Supreme Court, Gore let the process go forward and did not challenge its legitimacy. In fact, he presided over the official vote of the electoral college and gaveled down the people that were trying to disrupt the count. But in my mind, here is the biggest difference: Gore did not question the legitimacy of the democratic process before the election even took place, as Trump has been doing for months now and on which he doubled down last night. And, as the nasty woman pointed out, Donald has a LONG history of challenging any process that does not favor him. (In fact, this pattern even goes back to a chemistry test he took in school). In his mind, the only way he ever loses ANYTHING is because of a rigged system. Sorry, Trump supporters, but Gore simply does not have a history like that.
And one more thing: I am getting so tired of Trump talking about how Douglas MacArthur and George Patton would be “spinning” in their graves if they saw how we are dealing with ISIS. Listen, MacArthur was an idiot who’s only claim to strategic competency was the Inchon Landings during the Korean War. Perhaps Trump loves him because the man publicly and egregiously challenged the decision of President Truman to not use the bomb on North Korea and Chinese troops (yeah, that would have been a GREAT idea), thus challenging the vitally important concept of military submission to civilian authority. And Patton? We all love George C. Scott’s portrayal, but please Donald, don’t just get your history from the movies. The man doesn’t exactly match the myth. We could go over the dude’s long list of transgressions, but just pick up a textbook and read about the bumbling campaign he took a large role in directing against the Mexican “terrorist” (and truly Bad Hombre) Pancho Villa. (Spoiler: it was a huge fiasco). Oh, and then there was that time that MacArthur and Patton together led troops down Pennsylvania Avenue to attack a campsite of American WWI vets and their families, using cavalry, bayonets, and tear gas to disperse men, women, and children, continuing the assault even after President Hoover ordered it stopped. When it was all over, Eisenhower labeled MacArthur “a dumb son of a bitch.”
Here endeth the lesson.