Two Quotes that Sum Up the Final 10 Days of the 2016 Election
Both quotes appeared in today's New York Times.
The first is in an investigative piece from inside the Trump campaign—an astonishing document prematurely called “Donald Trump's Last Stand,” about the candidate's various meltdowns and flopsweats and chest-thumpings; about wresting away a Twitter account from the man we're supposed to entrust with the nuclear codes. It's sad and worrisome and frightening.
There's a section in that investigative piece called “An Injection of Hope.” The injector, of course, was FBI director James Comey, whose name will live in infamy for the way he belly-flopped into this campaign: tarnishing one candidate over an unknown that turned into a nothing; putting himself and his reputation above country; absolutely changing the narrative of the campaign and then offering a Sunday afternoon “Never mind” without so much as a mea culpa. Or resignation. But hopefully we'll get to that.
The astonishing thing is Trump didn't even know what it meant at first—Comey's letter on Friday, Oct. 28: “'What do you think this means?' he asked the small circle traveling with him...” And that's where we get the first quote:
To the assembled men sitting in white leather seats, the answer was simple: It could turn the election around.
I hope Comey reads that; I hope he understands what it means. I hope he's lost four times the amount of sleep that I've lost since he opened his piehole. And if Trump somehow wins this thing? Which he still might? It's a sign, one of many, that his election was illegitimate, propped up by Russia and Wikileaks and the FBI. It was, to coin a phrase, “rigged.”
The second quote is from Paul Krugman's column about that very subject. The column is called “How to Rig an Election” and in it Krugman says what I've been saying for weeks: that Trump's repeated claims of a rigged election are more GOP projection. It's he, and the GOP, that have attempted to rig this thing—from voter suppression campaigns to false equivalencies within the mainstream media. It's a great column. It's got everything that went wrong in a neat little package. And this is the beginning of the paragraph that—surprisingly, since it's hardly news—pissed me off the most. Krugman writes, “The election was rigged by partisan media, especially Fox News, which trumpeted falsehoods, then retracted them, if at all, so quietly that almost nobody heard. For days Fox blared the supposed news that the F.B.I. was preparing an indictment of the Clinton Foundation. When it finally admitted that the story was false, Donald Trump's campaign manager smugly remarked, ”The damage is done to Hillary Clinton.“
That's the second quote. It's from Kellyanne Conway:
”The damage is done to Hillary Clinton.“
Truth will out? One hopes. But Fox News, and people like Kellyanne Conway, keep hoping otherwise.
There are still ”plague on both your houses“ people out there who are either part of the GOP smear campaign or who bought into it; who didn't see the bullshit for bullshit; who think Trump and Hillary are ”both bad." Those people are lost to me; nothing we can do for them. The rest of us know the difference between a smart, tough civil servant with decades of experience who actually cares about people, and a stupid, thin-skinned, racist, xenophobic, groping megalomaniac, with poor impulse control, who has only ever cared about himself.
We also know this: It can happen here. It still might.