The news media’s run-up coverage to the third and final presidential debate last night was, in retrospect, hilarious. Dozens of talking heads speculated as to what Trump would do during the debate, and gigabytes of words on the same subject were published in every outlet from the New York Times all the way down to the smallest political blogs. Would Trump suddenly change tactics, start listening to his advisors, and appear presidential? Would he apologize to those he has so thoroughly offended? Would he repudiate his laughable whining that he is going to lose because of voter fraud? To listen to the pundits the suspense was dreadful. Would he be Donald Trump or wouldn’t he?
Well of course he was Donald Trump during the debate because that’s who he is. American media personalities, in their speculation and breath-holding leading up to last night’s debate, sounded like sportscasters covering an Alabama vs. Samford University football game, desperately trying to preserve the suspense (and therefore ratings) by talking about how if Samford does this or that or Alabama fails to do this or that then maybe, just maybe, Samford can win this football game. Stay tuned!
Donald J. Trump could no more control his child-like resentment, nano-second attention span, or faint grasp of the issues than Samford University could go out this Saturday and whoop the top-ranked Tide. We all knew it. The media just enjoyed wagging its collective jaw.
This morning’s headlines are aghast at Trump’s response to whether he would accept the result of the November 8 presidential election. He refused to answer, and said we’d all have to stay “in suspense.” As reported in the Washington Post:
Questioned directly as to whether he would accept the outcome should Democratic nominee Clinton prevail Nov. 8, Trump demurred. “I’ll keep you in suspense,” the Republican nominee said. Clinton called Trump’s answer “horrifying,” saying he was “talking down our democracy.”
After an entire week of talking about a “rigged election,” why is anyone surprised?
This is who Trump is.
Trump is losing the campaign and projections are that Clinton will win the election in a landslide. But Trump being Trump, he cannot possibly take the blame for that. It cannot be because of his well-documented history of misogyny and bragging about forcing himself on women, or his racism, his embrace of skinheads and other white supremacists, his labeling Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals, or his bright idea to ban all Muslims from the United States.
It has to be something else. Someone is to blame, and it is not Donald Trump. Oh no. Trump doesn’t take the blame for anything, because he is perfect and the only way he could possibly lose is for “them” to rig the election and take it away from him.
Because that is who Trump is. He’s that co-worker everyone hates who rises through the ranks by covering his own ass and throwing anyone and everyone under the bus to avoid being blamed for anything bad that happens.
For those who thought Trump would take this final opportunity to woo Hispanic voters who he has alienated by his talk of Mexican criminals and rapists and drugs pouring across the border and building his mythical wall, guess again.
A hypothetical candidate might do that, might reach out and make some effort to appeal to the important Hispanic vote, but that hypothetical candidate would not be Donald Trump, who is who he is. Trump said during the debate that there were “some bad hombres” among undocumented Mexicans living in the United States, an asinine slur that lit up Twitter like New Year’s Eve fireworks.
That is vintage Trump.
Hillary Clinton, deliberately trying to provoke Trump, succeeded beyond her expectations when she was discussing taxes and, in an aside, said “if Donald doesn’t figure out a way to avoid paying that tax too.”
Trump leaned forward and mumbled into the microphone (which he will probably claim was malfunctioning) “Such a nasty woman.” Never has our national discourse included a major party candidate for president expressing so directly the angry sexist id of the uneducated white men who hated electing a black president and can’t tolerate the thought of electing a female one.
Such a nasty woman.
Because that is who, and what, Donald Trump is. He is the angry white male id personified.
And he’s as petulant as a spoiled boy denied his favorite treat. When Clinton pointed out Trump’s frequent expressions of admiration for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and Trump’s encouragement of Russian-backed hackers to leak information damaging to the Clinton campaign, she rhetorically asked if we wanted as president a Russian puppet. Trump interrupted “Not a puppet. Not a puppet. You’re the puppet.”
How mature. I’m surprised he didn’t follow it up with “your mama.” Confronted with a real issue, this man could only come up with “nuh uh, you are.”
Because that’s who he is. He does not understand foreign policy in any respect and so does not understand what is wrong with his public courtship of the Russian dictator. He doesn’t get it and refuses to learn about it. Learning is for chumps. He can fake his way through it like he’s faked his way through his entire tawdry life and con-artist career.
Because that is who Trump is.
The very first question that moderator Chris Wallace asked the candidates was about filling Supreme Court vacancies. Clinton went first and covered all the bases, including Roe v. Wade, Citizens United, LGBT equality, employment issues, and the like. Trump began his response by complaining that sitting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg insulted him one time and then apologized for it. It is true that Ginsburg did that but what candidate answering a question about filling Supreme Court vacancies would seize on the question to make it all about him and how a sitting justice insulted him one time?
Donald Trump, that’s who. Because that’s who he is.
So to all the talking heads and typers of media words, please stop acting shocked because Donald Trump is acting like Donald Trump. There is no secret Donald that is suddenly going to emerge with Solomonic wisdom or Lincolnesque strength of will. What you’ve seen since he fanned the birther conspiracy theory in 2008 all the way through the primary season and through the first three debates is all there is to this man: an ignorant, self-obsessed man-baby with a dirty mouth and a bigoted brain. There is no more to him than that.
What you see is what you get.