Presidential Debate Round 2

After two not good, very bad weeks for Donald Trump, it would appear as if the inevitable is finally happening: his presidential campaign is seemingly imploding underneath the weight of his crass, deplorable words and actions. This follows two major leaks of confidential information that were revealed to the public within the past two weeks. The first of the leaks came last week after the New York Times published three pages from Donald Trump’s 1995 income tax records which show that the self-proclaimed billionaire and extremely successful business magnate claimed nearly $1 billion in losses that year. Tax experts theorize that Trump could have used the massive loses to potentially avoid paying federal income taxes for nearly two decades, something the Trump campaign did not deny. In fact, Trump used these leaked documents to bolster his business prowess, saying that he is a genius for exploiting these loopholes to avoid paying taxes.

The second of these leaks occurred just this Friday after audio from a 2005 conversation between Trump and then-Access Hollywood host Billy Bush was posted by the Washington Post. A hot microphone recorded Trump bragging about an occasion where he tried to grope, kiss, and trying to have sex with a married woman in a lewd and degrading manner, saying, in part, that “when you’re a star, they let you do it”. These shocking revelations come on the heels of the second presidential town hall-style debate which is scheduled to take place tonight at Washington University in St. Louis Missouri at 9 pm eastern and will be moderated by CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC’s Martha Raddatz.

Trump’s remarks in full: (Warning: Explicit Language)

Donald Trump’s response to these bombshell remarks as well as the remarks themselves are indicative of the type of person that he is. Rather than provide an explanation or try to empathize with the American people over these controversies, Trump decided to reluctantly issue a half-assed apology and quickly pivot to attack Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill over his alleged sexual abuses. Yes, we most hold these two men to the same standard, but we must also judge them separately instead of using the lewd behavior of one to justify the actions of the other. Furthermore, Trump seems oblivious to the disrespect his comments carry and the damages they have caused to his campaign as he attempted to qualify his apology by saying “I apologize if anyone was offended”.

In his apology, Trump claimed that “anyone who knows me knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am”. But these remarks are not isolated incidents. These are simply the latest in a laundry list of demeaning, absurd, and hateful comments that Trump has made not only on women, but also on Latinos & Mexicans, immigrantscombat veterans, Gold Star families, the Pope, journalists, African Americans, and basically just about anyone under the sun that does not subscribe to the vile rhetoric spewing from his mouth on a daily basis. This latest batch of comments and behaviors by Trump further solidifies not only how out-of-touch he is with the majority of Americans, but also how worryingly unprepared he is to run the world’s largest economy, largest military power, and greatest nation.

Just about every major elected Republican politician in the country has condemned Trump’s degrading words. Statements denouncing their candidate’s comments have been released by Mitt Romney, John McCain, RNC chair Reince Priebus, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Speaker Paul Ryan, who planned to have Trump on stage at a Wisconsin rally on Saturday but dropped him in light of these comments, as well as former GOP presidential hopefuls Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Ted Cruz, who just recently threw his weight behind Trump after pledging to not do so during and after the GOP primary. Some have even pulled their endorsements and have gone as far as calling on Trump to drop out of the race. This list of GOP Senators, Governors, Congresspeople, and other prominent members who have called on Trump to step aside currently stands a stunning fifty four different people as of this writing and will likely continue to grow following Trump’s performance at the debate. Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, himself said that he “do not condone his remarks and cannot defend them”. Major Republican donors are gauging their options to replace Trump and “are now looking to fund an effort to back someone else as the Republican nominee,” according to top Republican strategist Spencer Zwick. The Republican National Committee has also halted parts of its “Victory” program geared to ensuring Trump wins the election. Trump, however, remains steadfast and refuses to bow to the pressure and took to Twitter yesterday to reassure his supporters.

These leaks have sent the Trump campaign in a tailspin it is unlike to recover from. Those passengers aboard that have the foresight to see where this is going have already evacuated the burning Trump Plane or are nervously eyeing the emergency exits, either in an effort to save their own skin or to put their country before their party. Trump, true to his form, is unlikely to listen to any instructions to stabilize the plane being fed to him by the Air Traffic Controller (GOP leaders) and thus ensure the demise of his unorthodox campaign. The question is whether or not the remaining passengers will mutiny and replace the pilot (Trump) with the copilot (Pence) and if so, will it be enough to avert complete disaster? With little over a month left before Election Day, it is doubtful that any last-ditch attempts by the GOP to win the presidency will work. (Sidenote: seeing as how Trump Airlines was a spectacular failure, we found it fitting to use an airplane analogy for this segment).

Trump’s comments and actions these past two weeks have overshadowed the recent batch of leaked campaign emails from Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta released by whistleblower organization WikiLeaks. Though the majority of the emails are composed of newsletters and articles shared between staffers, some of them offered a glimpse into Clinton’s elusive and secretive paid speeches to Wall Street firms. The excerpts seem to show that Clinton’s message to these financial and banking institutions was different from the message she gave to voters on the campaign trail during the Democratic primary. In a 2013 speech to Morgan Stanley, Clinton seemed to praise the austerity measures proposed by former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and Morgan Stanley director Erskine Bowles in the wake of the 2008 recession which delayed Social Security benefits and slashed funding for other federal programs while also slashing taxes for the rich. In another speech given that year to the Brazilian bank Banco Itau, Clinton claimed that “My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, sometime in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere”.

Hillary’s support for austerity measures that would cut social programs and free trade policies that would further unfetter multinational corporations seem at odds with her supposed newly found progressive values that place an emphasis on helping struggling workers rather than companies. Podesta neither confirmed nor denied the legitimacy of this leak and instead, turned his attention to the source of the leak, a group of hackers allegedly working for the Russian government. This leak could have potentially been used to Donald Trump’s advantage, but in light of his own recent scandals, it is unlikely to be scrutinized by either the media or his own campaign.

Technically speaking, Trump can use tonight’s debate as a platform to give an actual apology to the American people– in particular, women– and try to win them back. But seeing as how he failed to properly prepare for the first debate and how he has been forced to focus on walking back these comments (a near-impossible task) rather than focusing on debate prep, it is unlikely that Trump will properly utilize the debate stage to prop up his struggling campaign. Trump will likely falter once again and spend the majority of the time on the defense trying to explain his words and actions to the millions of American voters who will be tuned in tonight. Trump might even sink even lower if he decides to pursue Bill Clinton’s alleged instances of sexual misconduct tonight like he promised he would rather than focusing on the issues like he probably should. All signs indicate he will, as he held a meeting just an hour before the debate with Juanita Broadrick, Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones. All three women have accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct. He has also invited the three women to the debate in an attempt to try to “rattle” Hillary Clinton, as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal.) put it on CNN.

Some of Trump’s surrogates have attempted to brush off these comments by using the good ol’ boys will be boys defense and claiming that all men talk about women in this manner. This is simply not true. We do not brag about not being to control ourselves enough to not throw ourselves on women to kiss and grope them. We don’t use our status as an excuse to grab at a woman’s genitalia. Trump’s words are deplorable and inexcusable as a man and more importantly, as a presidential candidate.

The former supporters that have rebuked their support for Trump have said that this is the final straw that broke the camel’s back. Mitt Romney, who never supported Trump, vilified his words as “vile degradations” that “demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America’s face to the world.” Others have also qualified their denunciations of Trump by claiming that as husbands and fathers of women, they find his remarks offensive.  However, women are so much more than just out mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters. They are also our caretakers, best friends, and lovers–  but above all, women are deserving of respect and dignity because they are human beings. That in itself should be enough to validate a woman’s rights and autonomy, not their relationship to men.

We urge any of our readers that have not yet disavowed their support for Trump to truly question whether he has the temperament, judgment, and experience needed to fulfill the presidency of the United States. There are various challenges that our country faces and will face in the upcoming years, thus we want everyone to question whether or not we want an undignified megalomaniac like Donald Trump to represent what our country stands for and whether or not we trust someone like him to steer our country in such trying, uncertain times. On top of that, we urge our readers to denounce the hate-filled, derogatory language that Mr. Trump has used for most of his adult life. This is simply no way to treat fellow human beings. As an organization whose main purpose is to inform the general public with the belief that a more educated world is a more prosperous one, we cannot idly stand by while this person threatens to tear the American fabric. We must take a stand now before it is too late. We hope our readers join us.

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