When the media went with the recording of Donald J. Trump’s dirty talk about women, the result was predictable. Some terrified Republicans abandoned ship. But the ship was not sinking. Trump used the personal attacks as fuel for a counter-offensive that had the media—and Hillary—reeling.
During the debate, Trump praised Hillary for having the will to fight. But it’s Trump who is anxious and willing to fight, especially when he is attacked on spurious grounds with words spoken 11 years ago. He effectively turned the tables—assembling female victims of the Clintons in a news conference before the debate—and then made reference to some of them during the debate. These were not words, he emphasized. These women were actual victims. And Hillary was one of the victimizers.
The Republicans who abandoned Trump were victims, in a sense, as well. They had gotten scared in the face of a carefully orchestrated attack using a major liberal media organ, The Washington Post. They figured that the only way out, in order to stay on the side of the media, was to dump Trump. But Trump’s aggressive performance in the debate means that the “self-righteous” Republicans who abandoned him are going to suffer even more. Trump supporters turned on Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan after he disinvited Trump from a Wisconsin GOP event. Rep. Joe Heck, a Republican running for an open Senate seat in Nevada, was booed at a rally when he announced he would no longer back Trump’s campaign.
Ryan may survive in his race, since he has a safe Republican seat, but other Republicans who turned their backs on Trump because of the 11-year-old videotape could experience the Trump Train leaving them behind on the way to victory in November.
Trump has figured out the way to victory. It is confronting media bias and rubbing salt in the wounds of the corrupt Democratic ticket. Republicans who don’t get the message and insist on playing patty-cake with their opponents are risking, or even inviting, defeat. They are alienating the voters they need to win.
Trump’s powerful attacks on Clinton corruption followed the disastrous performance by Democratic Senator Tim Kaine (VA) in the vice-presidential debate. Kaine was equipped only with bad manners. The viewers could see he had no substance behind the frequent interruptions.
Trump’s genius was in forcing the media to cover the facts of womanizing and actual behavior, rather than mere words, by producing and talking about the actual victims of the Clintons. In effect, he exposed Hillary as a fake feminist who uses women to gain political power, even when they are being abused by her own husband.
Let this be a lesson to timid and cowardly conservatives and Republicans. When a “scandal” breaks out that seems to threaten the Republican candidate, take a deep breath and think about why the story is being released at that time. Think about what impact the story is designed to have. In this case, the story was almost too good to be true, from Trump’s perspective. Sure he was being accused of talking dirty about women. But his Democratic opponent is a woman who actually abuses other women—women who jeopardize her hold on power. The spectacle of four of the women abused by the Clintons sitting in that debate arena was a masterstroke. Three of them were sexually abused by Bill Clinton. The other was 12-years-old when Hillary defended her accused rapist.
And what was Mrs. Clinton’s reaction to this during the debate when Trump brought it up? She said nothing. What could she say? Her strategy is that the media will go on the attack against Trump. That is all she has.
She was so flustered, as Trump pointed out, that she actually compared herself to Honest Abe Lincoln, when asked to comment on a secret speech declaring “private” and “public” positions on the issues She mumbled something about a Civil War film. It was a complete meltdown. No wonder she refused to release the speeches.
If we had a media with even a semblance of objectivity and balance, a comparison to Honest Abe would sink the Hillary candidacy and cause Democrats to flee from her. But the media are determined to do everything in their power to save her. So the post-debate discussion on CNN was about whether Trump was contrite enough over the sex talk.
The attacks from the media and his fellow Republicans have energized Trump, making him into a formidable force of social and political change. It’s Trump, not Clinton, who is the real fighter.
He took on the biased questions and follow-ups in the debate, commenting at one point that it was three against one, counting the two moderators on the side of Hillary. It didn’t matter. Trump still won.
The path to victory for Trump consists of turning the tables on the media backers of Hillary Clinton. Such a strategy paid dividends on Sunday night. As the saying goes, he killed two birds with one stone. Trump towered over Hillary on the debate stage, as she tried to gather strength sitting on the stool, and he towered over his media accusers.
Another timid Republican, New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, who is also in a tight race, backed away from her comment that Trump is a role model for youth and says she can no longer support Trump for president. But in taking on liberal media bias and political double standards, Trump is a giant among men. This is confrontational public relations at its best.
Going forward, Trump will have to add to his list of adversaries the cowardly Republicans who would rather please the media than expose corruption in the political process. The evidence indicates that he is prepared to run over them as well. Win or lose, Trump will emerge as the leader of a new Republican Party that no longer brown-noses the liberal media elites.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected].