In Trump's odious campaign there is a civics lesson

Witcover: In Trump's odious campaign there is a civics lesson.

As Donald Trump presses on with his scorched-earth politics, the mayhem he has created may well be striking a welcome chord of reflection and patriotism among many Americans. In the end, he may remind them of what has already made America great, and why they must reject his self-destructive, essentially un-American course.

In a major irony, Mr. Trump's crass denigration of women may prove to be the catalyst for the repudiation on Nov. 8 of the man and his egomaniacal campaign to take over a nation founded on principles of equality of opportunity and personal respect for fellow citizens.

Women again are expected to constitute the majority of voters next week, rendering Mr. Trump's crude and endless assault on the female gender a politically mindless campaign strategy. Even worse, he couples it with his blatant rejection of America's proudest symbol as a beacon to the world's oppressed.

In his pledge to build a wall across our southern border, he promises to slam the door on more immigrants whose journey to our shores created a truly heterogenous society — foreigners of all races, religions, ethnicities and even political views.

Hillary Clinton at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York enlisted the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor to needle Mr. Trump about his now-infamous rating of women by their physical attributes, or lack thereof.

Embracing the spirit of the dinner, at which speakers gently jibe their foes, she observed that Mr. Trump "looks at the Statue of Liberty and sees a 'four,' maybe a 'five' if she loses the torch and tablet and changes her hair." The audience of New York elites laughed at her reference to the iconic lady whose pedestal bears the poet Emma Lazarus' lines welcoming the world's "huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

Mr. Trump remained remarkably obtuse concerning his sexist remarks and behavior that have dominated the narrative of this year's presidential campaign. He said, "Nobody has more respect for women than I do," evoking loud guffaws from the Waldorf Astoria crowd.

Subsequently, as additional women came forward with more accusations of Mr. Trump's sexual groping and assaults, he declared his intention to sue them for slander, although at this writing he has not put his actions where his mouth is.

More revealing of the celebrity real-estate tycoon's low regard for the American political process was his refusal in his final debate with Ms. Clinton to say he would accept the outcome of the election on Nov. 8.

That comment dominated the post-debate television commentary even on the Trump-friendly Fox News, in response to the probing of Fox anchor Chris Wallace no less, and Mr. Trump contemptuously doubled down. He would honor the result, he said, "if I win."

As he proceeded in subsequent speeches and remarks, he provided even more evidence of his cavalier attitude toward the political process he attempts to seize to assuage his outsized self-esteem.

Perhaps to recharge his personal battery, he detoured on Wednesday to preside over the opening of his latest mega-hotel, the redesigned Old Post Office on Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, a few blocks from the White House.

Not surprisingly, he declared it one of the world's greatest and took reporters on a tour, perhaps for free advertising or to remind himself of his greatness as a businessman, a notion itself under increasing press scrutiny.

With a week to go before the voters pass their own judgment on Mr. Trump's self-appraisal and decide where he'll be living the next four years, they also have his own testimony of his faith in the process he says is "rigged" against him.

Such observations alone warrant a resounding rejection by the American electorate of this transparent charlatan. He professes to love his fellow citizens but strives endlessly to feed on their anger and disappointment, and the bigotry of many of them, to satiate his bottomless desires.

Jules Witcover is a syndicated columnist and former long-time writer for The Baltimore Sun. His latest book is "The American Vice Presidency: From Irrelevance to Power" (Smithsonian Books). His email is juleswitcover@comcast.net.

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
79°