So Trump is (a very flawed) human - big deal. I'd rather be grabbed by the p**** than governed by one
If you're a Trump supporter or, more recently perhaps, an ex-Trump supporter, it's been a rough few weeks.
From having his fingertips on the keys to the White House, Trump has been forced to retreat to Trump Towers after pussy-gate, being deserted by powerful Republicans, rejected by women, and re-energising the Clinton campaign in the process.
All because of a leaked tape of a conversation he had in private in 2005 telling a giggling TV host he can grab women's genitalia without permission because he is a star.
It doesn't read well. It is not an easy listen, either.
It's been a rough few weeks if you're a Trump supporter. The 2005 leaked tape sent him retreating - and it doesn't read well
But it has very little to do with the mass hysteria that has broken out in subsequent days as individuals looking to self-promote or self-protect have rushed to condemn him.
You may argue his words were offensive. Many have said that to condone Trump is to condone sexual assault, that to suggest you have forced yourself on a woman is to have crossed a line.
If it had happened, if a woman were saying it was true, then of course all of this outrage would be justified.
But so far as we know so far it didn't happen. It was bragging, bravado, the Ginger One trying to be a big man, the Alpha male of the media pack.
And media men are a peculiar species: afflicted with all seven deadly sins and a few more besides; vain beyond mirrors; slothful outside of contracted commitments; envious of the success of others.
The tape was a disaster for Trump - and an opportunity for a whole lot of other people - including the virtuous media and fellow Republicans
And wherever there is personal disaster for one, opportunity knocks for another.
Trump’s lewd talk offers 'virtuous' men the perfect platform to parade their feminist credentials.
John Oliver from Last Week Tonight slammed both Trump’s vulgar comments and the GOP's lame reaction to them, calling Trump 'one giant, salivating, dick-size-referencing, pussy-grabbing warthog in a red power tie'.
Sportsmen are falling over themselves to say their locker-room talk is nothing of the sort. That they never talk about women in this way.
I am reminded of an Athena poster from my teenage years of a muscly man cuddling a baby in the crook of his bulging bicep, all soft and tender on the inside. The 80s’ ideal of a powerful man as protector.
These days men have to be more emasculated than Sporus to be deemed acceptable in the company of liberal elites.
Republicans are jumping ship. Paul Ryan said 'women should be championed or revered, not objectified'. But I am not a charitable cause. Being championed makes me sound incapable
Fearful for their own political future, deserting Republican politicians have spoken of not being able to look their daughter in the eye and still back Trump, despite having made him the party's nominee.
Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House, said 'women should be championed or revered, not objectified'.
For the record, I never want to be either of those two things. I am not a charitable cause. Being championed makes me sound incapable. And I certainly don't want to be revered — that's one step away from being embalmed in holy oil.
John McCain has jumped ship, too. Trying to swim away from the candidate nominated by his party, who has been entirely consistent in his campaign in saying things more sensitive souls find hard to hear.
Predictably the founder of Everyday Sexism was wheeled out from her feminist lair to reinforce Trump as a monster, applauded wildly by young women who need a trigger warning before they read Watership Down.
But for all the outrage and desertion I cannot say I am offended.
What he said was crude. But no worse than I heard on a train to work this morning, when two male managers were discussing their working trip to Vegas and their shared motto, 'Never screw the payroll', salivating over their memories of a woman who had indulged both of them, one laughing that 'she was young enough to have been his daughter', mentioning his child by name.
No worse than young women happily swiping right on Tinder, prostituting themselves for shared pleasure to a face on a screen — just bodies pleasing themselves, with only a side-swipe for permission.
Is what Trump said worse than the light relief Bill got from Monica in the Oval Office? And certainly no worse than the Hillary-voting, smug rape-culture rappers who like to hang out at the Obama White House while peddling vile lyrics to kids
Or politicians indulging themselves with rent boys, permission through payment; or Bill Clinton getting light relief from Monica in the Oval Office, permission through power.
Or the 74% of American men who would have an affair if they wouldn't get caught, permission through secrecy.
Or the 1 in 5 Brits who say they have had an affair. Or those who go dogging in public toilets or are admitted to ER with an umbrella up their backside.
And certainly no worse than the Hillary-voting, smug rape-culture rappers who like to hang out at the Obama White House while peddling vile lyrics to kids that would make Trump blush.
And I am not concerned by any of this. If anything, I hope they all had a jolly good time.
These are people's personal preferences. What any of us chooses to do in private is entirely our own affair. As I readily acknowledge, I have indulged in a few ‘preferences’ of my own.
But how can we harbor our own sticky secrets and sling mud at another?
How can we act shocked at a conversation about grabbing a woman without permission, when the very modern form of permission is money, power or a casual swipe right?
So confident are we about our own bodies, a sexual consent lecture was boycotted by students at Clare College Cambridge for being patronising.
How casual we have become.
Donald wasn't running for President in 2005. He was a businessman and reality TV show host. The idea of standing for election wasn't even a twinkle in his roving eye
And before you tell me, 'Yes, but I am not running for President' — neither was Donald. He was a businessman and reality TV show host when he had that private conversation in 2005.
The idea of standing for election wasn't even a twinkle in his roving eye.
But he became a man so sick of the system and its failure to get things done that he decided to stand up for the little man. To use his own money to fund his campaign. To try to give voice to those fed up with the Establishment telling them what to do, lining its own pockets all the while.
Donald Trump made it as the Republican candidate for President against all the odds. Because the average American shared his fatigue with politicians saying one thing and doing quite another, and was afraid of another four years of liberal politics losing control of immigration, the Supreme Court and the Second Amendment.
It will be a cruel irony if the very thing that sees Trump lose this election is that he has human flaws just like the rest of us.
If he fails, it will be he failed to be be duplicitous enough to be part of the Establishment regular Americans simply cannot stand.
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