In the conclusion to our three-part survey about a possible Donald Trump presidency, we asked how you and your family would react should Don and Mel replace Barry and Michelle in the White House come January.
But then that debate happened last Monday night, making it seem a whole lot less likely that Donald Trump or anyone from his entourage will find themselves in the White House on anything but a visitor's pass—or so you would think.
By all rational accounts, Trump delivered the very worst presidential debate performance in recorded history. Mansplaining, snorting, interrupting, outright lying, running out of gas, grimacing, gulping water, wafting huge clouds of baffling word salads, bizarrely mentioning Rosie O'Donnell—by itself, never mind anything else he has done as a candidate, Trump's performance should simply disqualify him from even running for president, much less still having a 41.8% chance of winning the contest, according to Nate Silver's latest alchemy at FiveThirtyEight.
Much less has cost others their chance at the gold ring:
- In raging against attacks by right-win Manchester Union-Leader publisher William Loeb, Maine Senator Edmund Muskie reportedly had tears streaming down his cheeks. Although reporters present later acknowledged that the tears could have been melting snow, Muskie's 1972 presidential run was essentially over right there.
- Then, in his 1988 challenge to Ronald Reagan, Michael Dukakis was pictured riding in an M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank that so dwarfed the diminutive Massachusetts governor that his campaign effectively gave way to derisive laughter.
- And there's the infamous “Dean Scream,” the shriek captured on video of Howard Dean screeching at supporters after a surprising Iowa caucus defeat that made the social media rounds and sunk the Vermont governor's 2004 presidential run.
Trump has done much worse than any of these everytime he delivers a speech, calls up a talk show, or breaks out his Twitter machine—spreading bizarre, counterfactual hogwash at every turn.
But Trump has done much worse than any of these everytime he delivers a speech, calls up a talk show, or breaks out his Twitter machine—spreading bizarre, counterfactual hogwash at every turn.
And yet, there he stands, even after Monday's debacle, ahead in some polls, close in others.
“I could shoot someone in the middle of Times Square and they would still vote for me,” he famously said. He knows something about his fellow Americans, at least the benighted cohort that backs him come hell or high water, that many of wish weren’t true.
Don and Mel: Potus and Flotus
So let's take another look at The Donald's chances.
As you recall, in the first part of our three-part survey, we found that a great many of you thought the Democratic Party would waste precious little time learning from its mistakes and building a stronger, more effective party for future battles. Instead, it would busy itself blaming third candidates—and especially Bernie Sanders and his supporters—for that.
In the second part, a majority of you said racial tensions would rise to a boiling point with Trump as president, as he has made his bones stoking America’s smoldering racist coals into a glowing fire that can only spread. The Donald’s cockamamie economic schemes–he’ll be the negotiator in chief, remember–will likely throw the country into another deep recession, you thought.
In this final part, the great majority of you said you'd take the adult approach, working to rebuild the Democratic Party (25%), building another political party (25%), or joining an existing (23%).
Sharon (not the Sharon of Dick & Sharon) advocated strong action along these lines:
“But if Trump gets elected, I strongly suggest that we all stage a shutdown. Massive protest marches. Refuse to pay federal taxes in all forms, find ways to organize and to barter with our local neighbors. Rely on and become active in local government.”
Sharon and I have a running joke that we'll move to Antigua should Trump somehow win—part of her ancestry (the part that’s not Irish) comes Antigua, Dominica, and Saint Croix in the West Indies. For us, it's a joke. We’re not going anywhere, but 20% of you said you would skedaddle.
Said Dick Chase:
“Trump is the lesser of two evil sociopaths. A Trump Presidency would create a massive Progressive backlash that would finally bring about change. A Clinton Presidency would lock in eight more years of status quo.
But even that New Hampshire bastion of Republicanism, The Manchester Union Leader, has endorsed the Libertarian ticket. The only real hope is for Clinton to self-destruct—or die—within the next six weeks.
Me? I’m voting for Sanders. And then I’m selling my Farm and leaving for New Zealand.”
Similarly, another 16% of said you'd take a Trump victory in stride: “The best way to put it, would be, Grin and Gear It. Turn inward, except for pressing local and state issues,” said Stephen Fox.
A common thread was disgust with this whole presidential election. Said Dusty:
“The real problem is that both candidates support the existing racist, sexist …. capitalist structure and do not want to back away from it. Both are part of the .001 percent or so as are their friends and colleagues. The very rich feel that they own this country, and the Supreme Court empowered them even more with Citizens United, and their candidates are expected to carry out policies that DO NOT CHALLENGE THE RULE OF THE OWNERSHIP CLASS. Until we “Americans” get over ourselves and decide to take this country away from the rich we will be toyed with like the mouse pursued by the cat.”
Brett was equally distressed:
“If Herr Drumpf gets elected were doomed. The fascists will have won. The Bill of Rights or what’s left of them, will be destroyed. Opposition will be silenced or sent to re-education camps. Get ready for the Fascist USA.”
Clearly, if there were any thoughts that Donald Trump would be a reasonable alternative to Hillary Clinton's coronation, Monday's ridiculous debate dashed them.
Whether Clinton would make a reasonable president is fodder for a different discussion.
Dick Price & Sharon Kyle