"But it seems obvious to me that it is Trump’s enemies, far more than Trump, who have gone into the gutter and, to a degree that may be unprecedented, coarsened our political life," writes John Hinderaker at Power Line, on the occasion of that naked Donald Trump statues that stood in 5 American cities yesterday. "When it comes to crude, beyond the pale attacks, Donald Trump is far more often the victim than the aggressor," Hinderaker concludes.
I agree that there is more crudeness in the attacks on Trump than coming from Trump himself. However:
1. Parallelism seems to demand that we compare what Trump himself says to what the another candidate says. If we want to look at what people other than candidates are saying about Trump, we should compare it not just to what Trump says, but to what his supporters say and to what everyone who hates Hillary says — including speech in the form of sculpture and drawings and paintings. There's some pretty crude stuff out there.
2. And shouldn't there be crude attacks on political candidates, in words and in graphic depictions? This is a grand tradition! I celebrate it. I'm thinking of Daumier's Gargantua...
Daumier went to prison for that. And I'm thinking of David Levine's Henry Kissinger:
3. The brutality is already there in politics, so we should have the words and pictures to express it. Here's Frank Zappa saying that on "Crossfire" in 1986:
"[Brutality] is already in politics. I think if you use the so-called strong words, you get your point across faster and you can save a lot of beating around the bush. Why are people afraid of words?" (And note that Donald Trump just yesterday was defending his style of speech as a way to save time: The important thing is to get to the truth and being too careful and polite "takes far too much time.")