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Posted by on Jan 27, 2016 in 2016 Elections, 2016 Presidential Election, Featured, Politics | 9 comments

Has America Jumped the Shark? – And Other Questions from the Age of Trump

imageLately I have been wondering what it must have felt like to people in past eras as they lived through the early stages of unbelievable and often horrific political upheaval. Did they imagine that, as the famous title of the 1935 book by Sinclair Lewis put it, “It Can’t Happen Here”?

Did they hang on to the belief that no matter how incomprehensible the news of the day seemed, things would quickly right themselves? Everything would come back to some notion of normal? And then believing that to be likely until they had to admit the old normal was gone forever.

Yes, I’ve been thinking about Donald Trump and wondering, is this how it happens? Is this how America jumps the shark?

Okay, colour me hyperbolic, but this man is not only obnoxious, not only a fool, but he holds so many ideas dangerous beyond belief that I am gobsmacked. Yes, truly gobsmacked.

I’ve noticed as well that he says so many silly things it has become common to preface reports of his statements with a note that they are in fact things he had actually said and not simply things attributed to him to damage his image, as if that were possible.

One such comment making the rounds over the past few days is a Trump Tweet from May of 2013, an actual Tweet, in which he draws attention to the great number of sexual assaults in the military by writing, “What did these geniuses expect when they put men and women together?”

And as if that were not bad enough, Trump then tried to distance himself from his own comment by writing this:

For all the morons who have been complaining about my comment on sexual assault and rape in the military, don’t you see that it was asked as a question, with a question mark at the end of the sentence! In other words, it wasn’t made as a statement. But rather as a question. I want your views. Many of the generals and military officials were not in favour of the male/female mix. What do you think of that?

Yes, that’s what he meant.

But the best part of the whole thing is a follow-up Tweet by Trump in which he says this: “Wow, I love stimulating debate and driving certain people crazy – the Generals were forced to do something they didn’t want to do (not me).”

I’m not even going to comment on the notion that men and women working or living together in close quarters must necessarily result in sexual assault. Not going to waste my time.

The point is that Trump says things, so many things, that are inappropriate and offensive by any standard, says that he was either misquoted or misunderstood, and then, somehow, gets away with it. Comments made about Megyn Kelly, Carly Fiorina, women in general, John McCain, Hispanics, Muslims, the disabled community, etc., etc., come to mind.

The reason so many pundits and political watchers have long thought his campaign must fade and die is because no candidate for president has ever articulated so many noxious positions, made so many awful statements, insulted so many individuals and groups, and survived.

And, to be clear, we are no longer talking about an aberration. We are talking about the likely nominee for president of the Republican Party.

For now we may comfort ourselves with the thought that his negatives are so high he couldn’t possibly win the general elecion. And perhaps that is true, but I still wonder if Donald J. Trump will represent, as we look back, the moment something very wrong happened to American politics, when things changed forever.

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Copyright 2016 The Moderate Voice
  • Markus1

    The sun continues to shine on America. The USA is the preeminent power militarily, economically, and culturally without any challengers in sight. In science and medicine huge strides are being made every day. Certainly Americans are not endowed with any special powers, and there are lots of great people all over the world. Take a look at the submission from the Auschwitz survivor on this site; my family is also composed of the oppressed and hated of this world who came to America and flourished. Yes, we have our fair share of villains and buffoons, and we do trip over our own shoelaces at times. Relax, the journey isn’t over; there’s lots of great scenery ahead, and if one of our tires gets flat we can fix it. I know that “The World Will End Tomorrow ” is a great headline, but it just ain’t so.

    • KP

      < < The sun continues to shine on America. >>

      < < The USA is the preeminent power militarily, economically, and culturally without any challengers in sight. >>

      < < In science and medicine huge strides are being made every day. >>

      < < Certainly Americans are not endowed with any special powers, and there are lots of great people all over the world. >>

      Agree with all of the above.

      We must have a bad-ass system because we are not endowed with specials powers.

    • We are the wretched refuse!

      • KP

        I love Old Yeller!

    • I agree.

      Whenever I think we have hit a new low, I consider conditions in a number of other countries (e.g. the recent TMV post about democracy in Europe). The road has some bumps but our system seems as stout as any and more so than most.

  • dduck

    Still one of the greatest countries in the world.

  • The Ohioan

    I’ve never been sure what that term means so I looked it up.

    “Something is said to have “jumped the shark” when it has reached its peak and begun a downhill slide to mediocrity or oblivion.”

    I would say that rather than reaching a peak, we’ve hit the depths and can only go upward from here. Of course it’s possible we haven’t finished the downward slide, yet…

    I think we must keep in mind that all those polls, when examined, only mean 9% – 20% of the total voting population favors Trump. He might have been a problem had he started closer to the first primaries, but his fans will be on to a different bright shiny object before he can get a good foothold.

    Not that there aren’t a lot of disturbing events occurring in our current society; the theocratic poisoning of our military’s higher echelons and most of the candidates of one national party being one of the most pernicious. But we’ve weathered all of these before and come through, if not unscathed, at least more informed about how to act when they occur.

    Theocratic, megalomaniac, and xenophobic messengers have risen and fallen in the past and our system of checks and balances have protected us from irreversible harm. George Wallace, General McArthur, and Father Coughlin have waxed and waned and though it is not comfortable to watch their machinations (and dangerous for some), the American people have always rejected extremes. I have little doubt they will do so again.

    • dduck


  • JSpencer

    “Has America jumped the shark?”

    Yes. Let’s hope it’s just a phase.

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