A Reckoning for Hillary Clinton
Donald Trump is, in his own uncanny way, a near unstoppable force of nature.
Truthfully, I don’t find myself too pissed off at him. Maybe that’s because he doesn’t seem to be taking this whole presidential race with a quarter of the seriousness as his now enfeebled opponent. I don’t feel obliged to waste anger on someone who’s plainly unaffected by the collective wails of half the country, much less mine. Or maybe it’s because I figure his election would be greeted by bipartisan stonewalls in Congress and a trigger happy Supreme Court ready-prepped to snipe down any executive order he issues, right or wrong as they might be. The risks might not be too heavy, so I don’t see a need to get scared.
Maybe it’s that he’s too damn entertaining to hate.
Or maybe…just maybe…it’s because I don’t need to harbor strong feelings about him to relish the damage he’s dealing to the psychic fabric of the establishment.
I thought it a cowardly turn when a lot of people who once took a similar pleasure in Trump’s assault against both his own party and the Dems began to shudder and shake at the possibility that their wishes to burning this whole motherfucker to the ground might actually come true. When they…the disaffected flyover staters, the twitchy anarchists, the party rebels, the jaded media wonks hungry for chaos…when they all began to see it unfold, only then did they understand what they truly wanted: Nothing. Stagnant comfort in these few last bought years of an empire in decline. America just can’t succumb to the kind of spastic nationalist rhetoric, they said. It can’t…happen…to us…
Alas, if it doesn’t happen now, it eventually will. Pandora’s box got opened like a ragged laceration. Unquenchable fire burns as we speak. One need only look at the French Revolution, the twilight years of the Weimar Republic, or the so-called Arab Spring revolts to understand populist movements not only accelerate fast but betray their purposes just as fast, petrifying into authoritarian systems designed for, as Stalin put it, “perpetual revolution.” This is how history tends to cycle. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s what I see right now.
Could Clinton short circuit such a future? In my estimation, probably not. Another reason I don’t have any particular hate for Trump is that he might have catalyzed all this madness, but he isn’t the source. Taking him outta the equation now would only leave you with a deep, strong resentment that’d only intensify under a Clinton presidency. And given the inherent unlikability of Clinton, the loss of a target to which she could deflect her troubles would only mean an intensification of the same rage consolidated and stoked by Trump. So if you thought you could just secure a win for Hillary, continue to gild the pneumoniac lily, and live in relative peace, consider what you’re asking for.
When Clinton made her “deplorables” comment, I guessed right then that she’d lose the election and that I’d best steel myself for a Trump Administration. It wasn’t a moral call. It was the simple, common-sense idea that you can’t go about insulting vast swaths of the electorate and expect their affection. I’d expect Clinton to be icy and unnatural. Nurse Ratchet with a rapist husband and flesh so pickled with Botox that she’ll probably achieved a Lenin-like level of mummification well before she ever kicks it. I suppose that’s a medical milestone, but it doesn’t help her likability. Doubly so when she calls other people ugly.
Bitch, you got more skeletons in your closet than Jeffrey Dahmer. Best not jack your glass house up with them stones of yours.
Hence, in the context of the most recent debate, Trump’s likability alone wasn’t meant to be on display. One need only watch Clinton, who was so unnatural that she needed coaching to smile, to know you could be a complete incompetent with your own reputation and still rip her something fierce. It ain’t hard with someone that uncharismatic and vulnerable to attack. Trump’s supporters will naturally excuse him for even the nastiest comments. He has built in defenses. Ground could only be gained on the attack.
That principle became painfully apparent even when he was embroiled in bipartisan scorn. If you didn’t watch his public apology for the “grab ’em by the pussy” comments or his subsequent mention of it during the debate, check ’em both out. Trump isn’t what I’d call “mature,” but he can use his swagger to the fullest of his capabilities, ducking and dodging and minimizing so that even direct hits won’t hit too hard. From the perspective of a strategist, his restraint wasn’t necessary. If he’s his natural self, shots simply glance off his skin.
And besides, a defensive play ain’t what most people tuned in for. It’s not what I tuned in for. Everyone wanted a bloodbath. They wanted to watch that elemental force devour Clinton and spit the splinters of her bones from his powerfully-pursed amphibian lips. So when he relaxed and presumably stopped taking advice from his new friends at Breitbart, that’s exactly what we got.
I won’t go into the details of the debate or most of the policy points because I consider them irrelevant. They’re promises made by two proven liars an the salience of those promises will come to pass when their makers take action. So who gives a shit right now? I will say this, however: Trump commanded. He stabbed with rape accusations against Bill Clinton, the weakest of weak spots, and publicly demolished the most powerful woman in politics in the process. In front of her daughter and husband. On a national stage, while Bill’s accusers watched on with what I hope was the highest schadenfreude to which one might be subject. With his daughter sitting at his side and hopefully questioning every hug he ever gave her that went on just a second too long. Then Trump hammered again. On Benghazi. On arms sold to errant rebels. On her emails. He went down a laundry list of wrongs that her calm, neutered Washington decorum couldn’t effectively explain. When she made an attempt, she’d fall flat. When she tried to counter, she was threatened with prison. Her expression, normally composed in icy calm, sunk into a dusky seethe just short of an open scowl. Bill’s expression, hovering somewhere between fury and helpless terror, was priceless.
You don’t see shit like that in Washington. Ever. The way Trump commanded, going for the jugular like a starving catamount, was an expert play no casual politician would dare. Only somebody with genuine contempt for Clinton and for the diseased system she represents could inflict such deep wounds.
As I mentioned before, Trump is more a figurehead for a broader anger than a force unto himself. But he’s the tip of the spear sunk deep into Clinton’s cadaverous flesh. What he did was channel decades of resentment into a single concentrated attack against a near defenseless opponent, somebody who’d been conditioned for years to handle adversaries in the context of official decorum, legal negotiation, whispered backroom schemes, and the stuffiest of public displays. She presumed there were rules, some for her and others for the public, but found too late that her enemies, not merely the enemies of the Democrats but of the decaying system itself, know she won’t give them a fair fight. And now they don’t give a fuck about rules anymore.
I think we witnessed something historic Sunday night. It was an intrusion of ugly, septic truths into the once sanitary realm of D.C. politics. Trump wasn’t making new points. He wasn’t issuing novel threats. They’ve been cast countless times outside the barricaded halls of power. The only difference is that now the collective outrage over establishment apathy, media spin, and polite partisan games has forced them like an untreated infection to the fore of Americans’ minds. Hillary was too set in her ways to understand that anger, much less counter its elemental force.
Now she’s gonna pay the price, and I can’t say she didn’t get what was owed.