“The Trump-Ailes axis of abuse”:
Predators in Arms, by Paul Krugman, NY Times: As many people are pointing out, Republicans now trying to distance themselves from Donald Trump need to explain why The Tape was a breaking point, when so many previous incidents weren’t. …
Meanwhile, the Trump-Ailes axis of abuse raises another question: Is sexual predation by senior political figures — which Mr. Ailes certainly was, even if he pretended to be in the journalism business — a partisan phenomenon?
Just to be clear, I’m not talking about bad behavior in general… Yes, Bill Clinton had affairs; but there’s a world of difference between consensual sex, however inappropriate, and abuse of power to force those less powerful to accept your urges. …
Take, for example, what … was happening politically in 2006…, it looked as if Republicans might retain control of Congress despite public revulsion at the Bush administration. But then came the Foley scandal: …Representative Mark Foley, had been sending sexually explicit messages to pages, and his party had failed to take any action despite warnings…, the scandal seems to have … led to a Democratic wave.
But think about how much bigger that wave might have been if voters had known … that Dennis Hastert, who had been speaker of the House since 1999, himself had a long history of molesting teenage boys.
Why do all these stories involve Republicans? One answer may be structural. The G.O.P. is, or was until this election, a monolithic, hierarchical institution, in which powerful men could cover up their sins much better than they could in the far looser Democratic coalition.
There is also, I’d suggest, an underlying cynicism… We’re talking about a party that has long exploited white backlash to mobilize working-class voters, while enacting policies that actually hurt those voters but benefit the wealthy. Anyone participating in that scam … has to have the sense that politics is a sphere in which you can get away with a lot if you have the right connections. …
Assuming that Mr. Trump loses, many Republicans will try to pretend that he was a complete outlier, unrepresentative of the party. But he isn’t. He won the nomination fair and square, chosen by voters who had a pretty good idea of who he was. He had solid establishment support until very late in the game. And his vices are, dare we say, very much in line with his party’s recent tradition.
Mr. Trump, in other words, isn’t so much an anomaly as he is a pure distillation of his party’s modern essence.