I’ve been looking for a word. A word to describe Donald Trump. No word encapsulates the Republican GOP nominee perfectly, but this one about sums it up: he’s a lout. Not since Joe McCarthy have we seen a personage on the national scene that so aptly fills, even overflows, that little four-letter word.*
Trump stands alone. From insulting Megan Kelly (and bringing her to heel), Trump took all the wrong lessons. In the month since he cleared the field, Trump has managed to double down, or even triple down, on his efforts to alienate huge voter blocs. It is a commonplace that GOP candidates cannot afford to lose the women’s vote by more than 10 percentage points. In 2000 George W. Bush eked out a win because, although he was 11 points behind Gore among women, the results were exactly reversed among men–and the Electoral College overcame his losing the national vote. In 2004 Bush narrowed the gap significantly (48% to 51% for Gore with women voters) and won handily. Barack Obama crushed McCain and Romney by 13 and 11 percentage points, respectively, in that demographic and cruised to victories. It’s pretty obvious that women, who are over half the voting public, are a critical group. So what has Trump done to entice, or at least hold some of them in a race where his opponent almost certainly will be the first female presidential nominee of a major party? Uh, nothing. He keeps calling Hillary Clinton “shrill” – just the kind of borderline sexist comment guaranteed to grate like fingernails on the chalkboard for independent voters—male and female alike. Why do that? If it’s calculated, he is a lout. If it comes naturally to him, he’s still a lout. Earlier Trump claimed that Hillary Clinton didn’t have the stamina or strength to serve – which has enough unpleasant overtones anyway (not to mention being demonstrably untrue). But “shrill”? There are plenty of substantive issues where Hillary Clinton is vulnerable, not to mention character issues. But this?
And now, despite the staring-you-in-the-face facts that Republicans must make inroads in the Hispanic vote for a GOP nominee to have a chance of overcoming the electoral math, Trump continues to assert that a judge with a Hispanic surname is a biased “Mexican”. And he piles on by claiming that any Muslim is also disqualified from presiding over his many lawsuits.
In Trump’s world, being questioned about his business ethics is sacrilege, and anyone doing so (or merely presiding evenhandedly over one of his lawsuits) must be a sleaze, or a Mexican, or a Muslim, or maybe all three.
Even if we give The Lout a pass on the recent rally where he referred to a member of the audience as “my African American,” Wow again.
Who in the GOP will step up and not merely condemn Trump’s statements, but also affirmatively refuse to endorse this man? Well, Lindsey Graham, for one. After Trump’s riff on Judge Curiel’s presumed ancestry-based bias, Senator Graham said, “This is the most un-American thing from a politician since Joe McCarthy.” And “If anybody was looking for an off-ramp, this is probably it.” And, “There’ll come a time when the love of country will trump hatred of Hillary.”
Paul Ryan, are you listening?