The wild ride that has been the 2016 election is almost over, but October has proven to be full of surprises. A flurry of leaked tapes and emails from both presidential candidates have caused more of a storm than Hurricane Matthew. Shady dealings and insulting remarks about women have have checkered the history of Donald Trump (and his opponent as well), but should we care? I’ll borrow a quote from Mrs. Clinton, and inquire: “At this point, what difference does it make?”
The now-famous tapes of Donald Trump and Billy Bush, released just two days before the debate, in a Washington Post article by David Fahrenthold, gave the American people a look into the Republican candidate’s background — and no one was surprised. Trump’s past comments about women have been well publicized, but for some reason, these 11-year old tapes have enthralled just about everyone who has been following the drama of this campaign. My only comment to those who jumped ship in the aftermath of the scandal is this: be principled. The true reason people liked Trump from the beginning is how unorthodox, and potentially catalytic he is, not how nice.
Mike Bauerlein’s October 12 editorial for Vox makes this exact case, calling Donald Trump’s vulgarity and lack of a social filter a “core aspect of his appeal.” He also makes the case that Trump is merely the manifestation of America’s deepest concerns and troubles, and that the voters that support him won’t simply vanish overnight if he loses. This is why two weak debate showings and a snowball of scandals and gaffes haven’t completely depleted him of followers.
It is also how he was also able to take the offensive when backed into a corner at the second debate, charging both Hillary and Bill Clinton with far greater transgressions in the realm of sex (and assault, particularly). If Donald Trump is such a horrible candidate, and person, how in the world does he still receive applause when he pokes at Hillary Clinton’s public and private life? It’s because we already know who he is, and voters simply don’t care.