I got interested in politics and political campaigns in 1960, when a bunch of us cut some high school classes and went down to Herald Square to see a big rally thrown by the various garment workers unions for JFK. And for the subsequent sixty-three years from then until now, I can honestly say that I have paid close attention to what is said by all the candidates in every Presidential campaign.
In that regard, Donald Trump was recently interviewed on an alt-right digital network, Real America’s Voice, and when he was asked how he felt about Joe, this is what he said: "He's a stone cold crook. He's a common thief. He's a lowlife and he's a very stupid person. Beyond anything else, I mean, he's a stupid person."
I would probably be making an underestimation, but over the last 60-odd years, I have probably read or heard what one Presidential candidate had to say about another candidate perhaps 50,000 times. Take 60 campaigns, multiply that number of 5 which represents the average number of candidates who seriously compete in the primaries on both sides. Then take that number and multiply it by 300, which is the number of days that I pay attention to the campaigns.
This gives you 90,000 times that I probably could have been conscious of what one political contender said about an opponent during a Presidential campaign. And in all of those episodes, I do not recall ever hearing or reading anything as vulgar and as disgusting as what Trump said about Joe.
You just don’t use a word like ‘stupid’ when describing someone whom you are running against in a political campaign. You don’t refer to another public figure as a ‘lowlife’ or a ‘crook.’ And the reason that Trump gets away with such demonstrably repulsive behavior is because none of the other GOP candidates are willing to tell it like it is and take him on, and to Joe’s credit, he would never stoop so low as to respond to Trump in kind.
More than anything else, what Trump has managed to do since he became a public candidate for the first time in 2015, is to inject a rhetorical style into the political environment which demeans and diminishes public life.
This is not by accident. It’s not just Trump trying to show us that he can be best appreciated as the guy who has the guts to say what everyone else is too polite to say. I recall that after Trump made his comment about those ‘shithole countries’ at a meeting of his Cabinet, that a guy who was an ardent Trump supporter told me that “at least there’s one politician out there who’s honest enough to say out loud what the rest of us are thinking but are afraid to say.”
Remember during the 2016 campaign when Trump stopped off at a gathering of supporters in California and said, “Look at my African American over here.” Frankly, I was amazed that Trump didn’t say what I know he wanted to say, which was to draw the crowd’s attention to the nig*er over here.
I believe that Trump will stay in the 2024 race even if he’s indicted a third time in the next couple of days. I also believe that another indictment won’t hurt Trump in the polls, if only because the other GOP Presidential wannabes are such a bunch of dip shits that I don’t see how Trump can lose.
Except if Trump does head the GOP ticket in 2024, he won’t be running against a windbag like Chris Christie or a bumbler like Ron DeSantis or a sycophantic do-gooder like Mike Pence.
He’ll be running against a guy who kicked his ass in 2020 and will kick his ass even worse the next time out.
And maybe after this losing effort the GOP will finally understand that a majority of Americans just don’t accept the idea that public discourse can be carried out with such a lack of decency and good taste.