Let us not beat around the bush
. It is over, but for the formalities of waiting till November 8 to call it official. Trump will lose, has lost, has become the biggest loser.
There is a certain rhythm to political contests, a rolling out of 'damaging' information timed to dominate the conversation. All sides do it, but there's artistry to the mastery of it, and a devastating fall to being caught too deeply on the wrong end of it.
And let us be clear about one other subtle fact. The kill shot which has destroyed any chance of Donald Trump
ever being elected President of the United States
was not even engineered by his Democrat
opponent; it was, the clues most compellingly draw the line, the joint work of the Bush family, and Mitt Romney
and the Mormon Church
Now, before we get ahead of ourselves, let us not gloss over the obvious underlying fact: Trump is a colossal ass. The reason his comments to Billy Bush are so damaging is that they show just how colossal an ass he's capable of being. Indeed, the comments encompass a damn near perfect storm of assery, demonstrating that:
1. Trump is an elitist, who believes that his wealth and fame give him permission him to get away with anything, however repugnant or criminal. This punctures his everyman-versus-the-elites theme.
2. Trump has no regard for the sanctitude of the institution of marriage, since much of his bragging was about how he aggressively tried to have sex with a woman he knew to be married to another man, and since he in the same conversation bragged that he was about to try to do the same with a woman he was to meet soon, despite himself being newly married at the time.
3. Trump essentially confessed to -- even bragged about -- an inability to control his own behavior, claiming that this was his 'automatic' response to beautiful women.
4. Trump displayed incredible situational carelessness, making comments like these in front of a bunch of strangers with video cameras and recording equipment.
5. Trump played right into tropes of unpleasant men feeling entitled to physically take advantage of women, and gave credibility to previously denied accounts of sexual aggression which happen to line up with the acts he bragged of. A prime example is designer Jill Harth, who claimed that Trump made exactly the kind of assault on her which Trump bragged of in the tape. At the time, Trump denied Harth's claim as simply being something he'd never do.
But all of that assitude aside, there is still the question of how this came out, and how it happened to come out just now. This, you see, is the perfect moment for an absolute assassination of Trump's chances in the campaign. The late Friday afternoon of the last three-day-weekend before the critical middle debate.
To be fair, the other side tried to drop its own bombshell the same day, with Wikileaks
documents claimed to show Hillary, in those Wall Street
speeches, confessing that she'd become wealthy, that she'd welcomed free trade
and open borders
, and that she thought Wall Street was best placed to recommend the means for its own regulation. Bad stuff, indeed. But compared to the Trump revelations? Just words
, whereas Trump's scandal had video
which could be played over and over on all the networks, and worse yet (oh, much, much worse) Trump's story had sex
!! And no the boring humdrum kind of sex occurring between consenting committed adults; this was blithely identified efforts at adultery
, this was the mix of sex and violence
And, getting back to the question of how this came about, there are unmistakable signs pointing to the responsible parties. It may be remembered that "Access Hollywood" co-host Billy Bush
is himself part of the Bush clan, the political family which has produced two Presidents, Senators and Congressmen, a former Governor who'd likely have been President but for Trump's quixotic campaign. One can't doubt that Billy remembered this conversation (who could forget such a thing?) and held onto it for this moment. One can easily imagine Jeb intending to use it during the primary campaign,not wanting to draw the backlash of being the one to go down that path, and simply not believing that Trump really had any chance of winning the thing.
Now, for the Mormon Church end of things. An interesting phenomenon followed this revelation. Mitt Romney almost instantly came out with a blistering attack based on it. Then lawmakers who had previously expressed support for Trump began peeling off, condemning the man, and withdrawing their support. But the first ones to do this, before the story even had time to fully be vetted and spread into the collective consciousness, were Mormon politicians -- Governors, Senators, Congressman, other officials connected by this faith
. Their statements seemed too carefully couched, too thorough in effect, to be short-spun expressions of spontaneity. And they came out in a steady drumbeat, not clumped together, but something like one every hour, just at the time to catch the new cycle. This drumbeat, which inevitably pushed the larger narrative of GOP people disowning Trump, is frankly best explained by advance knowledge of the scandal being set up to break.
And of all the classifications of politicians who came out against Trump, who've broken the bottom of his barrel through which his support now falls, the abandonment by Mormons has been the most absolute. This is no coincidence
, naturally. They were the group most suspicious of Trump in the primaries, and came around to him only grudgingly and suspiciously later on. This is actually quite unsurprising -- Mormons, though tending to be amongst the most conservative in their politics, tend as well to be the most serious in the tenets of their faith. Other evangelicals, with their carnival barker ministers, were much more readily prepared to go along with Trump's charade
of fealty to Christianity
, but Mormon suspicion never ebbed; and this event shows that it has now turned sharply against Trump.
The political consequences of this cannot be understated. The possibility of Trump losing Utah
resurges, more strongly than ever before. Arizona
, with its own substantial Mormon population will almost certainly go against Trump as well. Nevada
are absolutely lost causes for Trump at this point. Mormons, as a whole, it must be remembered are not nearly the anti-Establishment rebels likely to be found in the former Confederate States. Once they have turned on Trump, there is no returning from that.
And even as to states without heavy Mormon presences, those which were close, Florida
, North Carolina
, will go over by several points. States which flirted with swinging before have come back into play -- Georgia
, there is now even talk of Texas
, South Carolina
, and Alaska
becoming toss-ups. The Mormon-led surge opened the door for all stripes of Republicans, leading literally dozens of top figures to condemn Trump and deem him unfit for the presidency. Vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence is openly flirting with leaving the ticket, and has already withdrawn from campaigning for the time being.
Oblivious Trump supporters doubtless hang onto the hope that, the lead having swung back and forth in the past, the same sorts of swings may occur in the future. But this is where the difference of the point in the campaign comes in. Polls swing as more and more people make up their minds, but now folks are more dialed in than not; right now is the sweet spot wherein most minds are being made up for good. And this is the sort of hit which compels people to indeed make up their minds. And, it must be added, there are many states where voting is going on already. By the time "election day" arrives, it is quite possible that the fates of a few of those big, close states--especially Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio--may already be decided. With the degree of outrage
the Access Hollywood
tape has generated, the fates of the votes of the first two of these three states may be decided within the next two weeks, even.
The other thing to understand about the rhythm of campaigns is that the shocking revelations are not over. Each campaign is holding something in abeyance in hopes of swaying voters through the funnel of ideology towards the end. Expect there to be more reports coming out next Friday, and the Friday after that, and the Friday after that, each one worse than the last. In Clinton's case, it is quite difficult to come up with a "worse" thing simply because she's spent decades as a public figure, and generally produces little more than pedestrian gaffes. But Trump has been in a sort of cocoon of private celebrity life, where he has been able to get away with outrages due to his wealth, even as these outrages have been carried out in front of strangers with video cameras
. Simply put, even though it's hardly even necessary at this point, there is worse stuff coming for Trump. But what's out there already, there's no coming back from. Effectively, the election was decided on October 7, 2016.