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Flatiron Hot! News | August 18, 2017

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Flatiron Hot! Pundit: What Role does Character Play in this Election?

Flatiron Hot! Pundit: What Role does Character Play in this Election?
Flatironhot Contributor

By Max Shapiro; edited by the Flatiron Hot! News Editorial Staff

By Max Shapiro
Well folks, the day is almost here. The election that makes a dumpster full of used diapers look like a bouquet of roses is finally coming to a close soon. And to quote Bill Maher, “Yes, this is really happening.”

So unless you’re literally allergic to screens, you’ve heard about that wonderful little tape that was released, of Donald Trump’s “locker room banter” with Billy Bush back in 2005, with Trump making extremely vulgar comments about how he feels he can treat women. For days every media outlet shoved it in your face over and over again and it’s been satirized everywhere from Saturday Night Live to South Park to Family Guy. But as much as we like to make fun about it or rant about it, is this tape relevant at all to Trump’s campaign? In general, should we care so much about something from over a decade ago, and should we take character and private behavior into account when choosing a president?

A lot of people will argue “no,” saying that things like these distract us from the “real issues.” The response many Trump supporters have made when questioned about this tape is “let’s focus on the issues.” They say they aren’t backing him because of his lovely personality—they know he’s a bad hombre, but they’re behind him because they think he’ll get the job done as commander in chief. And this argument does hold some water. We can’t let elections become too much of a popularity contest. We can’t pick our leaders solely based on how good their smile is or how smoothly they talk.

However, this tape proves two things. The first is that when Trump’s supporters say Trump is “being himself,” they aren’t wrong. Before, I wasn’t sure if Trump truly meant all the outrageous remarks that made his crowds go wild. I thought to myself, maybe he’s just putting on a show. It doesn’t excuse him from saying any of those offensive things, but maybe at the very least he’s just pandering to the—dare I say it?—deplorables that actually have these racist and sexist beliefs. But nope. Whether in public or private, the Donald Trump you see is the only one there is. And the second thing this proves is that Trump never changed. If it had been said that this tape was from 2015 instead of 2005, no one would’ve questioned it. Trump isn’t like this because the election has gone to his head, it’s just who he’s always been. If a tape like this of Obama had been released, it would still be bad for his reputation, but it wouldn’t define his entire image because there would be no other instances of sexist behavior. But with Trump, this is just another drop in his enormous bucket of offensive rhetoric.

So in short, yes, this tape is important despite being a decade old. But even so, should we not care about a candidate’s personality and focus only on “the issues?.” The thing is that a person’s actions are reflected by their core attributes. And how has Trump demonstrated his core attributes? Labelling all Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug dealers, mocking a disabled reporter, claiming football concussions aren’t that big of a deal, saying he’d be dating Ivanka if she wasn’t his daughter, demanding SNL be shut down because they had the audacity to make fun of him, supporting the baseless claim of Obama not being born in the US until very recently, discrediting John McCain’s military accomplishments, ranting about a pageant winner on Twitter at 3 AM, telling his supporters to believe the election is rigged unless he wins, the list goes on and on. What this all paints a picture of is a delusional, narcissistic man-child who’s unfit to run a hot dog cart let alone a country. So if this is how he is now, what make you think his attitude would change if he’s elected?