A curious story circulated late last week involving an audio tape of Donald Trump talking to a People magazine reporter. Trump, going by the name “John Miller”, bragged about himself, his sex life, his business, and more. Here is where it gets interesting.
Years ago Trump admitted it was him. As my friend Ben Domenech noted in his always excellent Transom, “Donald Trump admitted it happened, both in a court of law and in the press, in 1990 and in 1991. It is not and was not in dispute prior to the past week.” But on Friday morning, Trump denied it was him after years of admitting it was him. Suddenly, the Branch Trumpidians swung into action going on television and radio to deny it was him.
On the weekend shows, Trump loyal comrade Paul Manafort, the Kremlin’s favorite Republican, explicitly denied that Trump was Trump. It was a lie. It is always a lie with the Branch Trumpidians. They will crucify the truth at noon on a Friday if they thought it would resurrect Donald Trump’s career on a Sunday.
It serves the greater good, you see. Because Trump is not Hillary Clinton.
Time and time again, Trump’s supporters in and out of his cult ultimately conclude that any sin committed by Donald Trump is okay because he is not Hillary Clinton. It cannot be that they are both unfit for office. Trump, in every case, is more fit for office because Trump is not Clinton. Never mind the bankruptcies, never mind the endorsement of war crimes, never mind the advocacy of torture, never mind the swindling, never mind the affairs and women and corruption and mob ties and nepotism and repeated failures and the list goes on and on. Trump is not Clinton.
Then there are the issues. Both Trump and Clinton support a government run, Canadian style universal healthcare system. Both Trump and Clinton support increases in the minimum wage. Both Trump and Clinton support transgender bathrooms. Both Trump and Clinton have advocated increasing taxes on the wealthy. Both Trump and Clinton believe Planned Parenthood does wonderful things. Both Trump and Clinton have denounced free trade and demanded “fair trade.” Both Trump and Clinton believe Washington needs to be stronger. Both Trump and Clinton believe deals must be cut. On issue after issue, Trump and Clinton have aligned at present or in the past with Trump even praising Clinton’s work as Secretary of State and supporting her for the Presidency in 2008 on the same platform for which she is again championing.
But Trump is not Clinton so Republicans will embrace Clinton’s policies under Trump’s banner because, again, Trump is not Clinton.
In Nebraska over the weekend, Republicans voted down a resolution that simply stated, “the Nebraska Republican Party strongly opposes all degrading remarks toward women, minorities, and other individuals by Republican elected office holders or party officials, including candidates for President of the United States,” because to oppose degrading remarks was opposing Donald Trump for President.
A week ago, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts stood on stage to endorse Trump after Trump had threatened Ricketts’ parents for their opposition to him. After Ricketts’ endorsement, Trump then proceeded to call out Ricketts’ brother Todd for opposing Trump while Pete Ricketts just stood there.
Former Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal and went on television to tell America how absolutely unfit for office Trump is, but that everyone should support Trump because he is not Hillary Clinton.
Just four years ago, Reince Preibus rallied Republicans to surrender the Missouri Senate seat to the Democrats because of Republican Todd Akin’s muddled answer on abortions from rape. Now he demands we unite behind Donald Trump because Donald Trump is not Hillary Clinton.
A month ago, the ostensively pro-life Baptist pastor Robert Jeffries was defending Planned Parenthood because Donald Trump said Planned Parenthood does “wonderful things.”
On any given day, some Republican defends Donald Trump’s absurdity because Donald Trump is not Hillary Clinton. That is the ultimate defense of Trump. If you don’t vote for Trump, you are supporting Hillary Clinton. We must stop Hillary Clinton. Any criticism of Trump benefits Clinton, therefore we must not criticize the precious Donald Trump.
More and more Republicans on a daily basis surrender their credibility and integrity to justify their support of Donald Trump. The morning of the Indiana Republican Party every other Republican Presidential candidate save Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum had gone on record declaring Donald Trump unfit for the office of President. He lacked the character, the integrity, the fitness, the mental competence, the wisdom, the judgment, etc. to be Commander in Chief and President of the United States. But by the next morning suddenly these same men declared Trump fit for the office solely because he was not Hillary Clinton, even though they stood by their former remarks. The only exceptions were Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, and Carly Fiorina.
Hitler is not Hillary Clinton either. The neo-nazis and white supremacists backing Donald Trump fetishize Hitler too. Trump dog whistles to them and the Republican Establishment joins them in howls of delight. One need not stretch beyond Godwin’s law to conclude that the current Republican Party would support Hitler too because Hitler, thanks be to the reich, is not Hillary Clinton.
Too few Republicans will come out of this with their integrity intact and too many Republicans, thinking they can change Donald Trump, will instead one day find that Trump has changed them instead. But hey, at least he is no Hillary Clinton.
Hail victory, Republicans. Hail victory.