That's Politico, putting in rather bland terms something that ought to be powerfully alarming to those who cannot abide even the risk that Trump could win the presidency. Why isn't he losing by a lot more? What explains his pesky resiliency?
Nearly 70 percent say they believe that Trump has “made unwanted sexual advances toward women,” a stunning number that comes after the publication of lewd comments the now-Republican nominee made on a hot mic in 2005, and amid allegations by several women who say he touched them inappropriately. (Trump has said his comments were just "locker room talk" and denies the groping accusations.)And yet, she's only got 4 points on him. She must be truly loathed. I know she wants to win, but imagine winning like that, knowing you are not wanted.
And a majority of registered voters -- 55 percent -- say that Trump's treatment of women is a legitimate issue, version 42 percent who say it wasn't. Similarly, most voters aren't buying Trump's apology for the 2005 video -- 57 percent of registered voters say it was insincere, and only 40 percent agree it sounded like "typical locker room talk by men."
Just 30 percent of registered voters say Trump has a “strong moral character,” versus 45 percent for Clinton. Only 34 percent view Trump as honest and trustworthy, down from 42 percent in last month’s survey. And just 34 percent say Trump has the right temperament to be president, while 59 percent say Clinton does.
As for Trump, the battering he's taking is epic, but he still survives.
Oh, sorry. That's just something I channel-surfed into on TV yesterday. It flashed back on me somehow.
Godzilla is a monster, causing endless destruction, but when he goes down losing, you get this crazy empathy for him. Am I saying Trump is a monster? Trump is like a monster, tromping through the built-up structures of American politics. How can he be stopped? Nothing seems to work. He keeps going. Yes, but in the end, he'll go down. Afterwards, you'll remember and think oddly fondly of him, and the characters who defeated him won't have your heart. Unlike a dead movie monster, Trump will still be a live human being, doing... whatever. The movie monster, even though killed in the movie, manages — if we've loved him — to get brought back to life for the sequels and remakes. But Trump will be around, and we'll want to see him again. His relentless, unstoppable rampage was so perversely rousing and even, for some, endearing.
Writing this makes me remember that Scott Adams has been talking about Trump's campaign as a movie. Adams saw Trump as the protagonist in a non-monster movie:
He explains that in the first act of a movie, "something unexpected [happens] that changes somebody's life trajectory" -- like deciding to run for president. In the second act, "you would see your protagonist overcoming a number of smaller hurdles," ending with the discovery of a seemingly unsolvable problem. In the third act, the protagonist grows or changes in order to solve the unsolvable problem.With that template, Adams predicts Trump will win the election. The protagonist solves his problem in the movie, and that could happen in real live because
He... wrote [last October]: "Once we recognize the movie form, we root for the hero, automatically. We have been trained by Hollywood to do that. You can’t turn it off in your mind. You can’t ignore it. If a candidate can wrap his or her personal story into a three-act form, that is the highest level of persuasion."So this is the idea that movies have trained our minds to identify the hero and root for him, especially as his problems become insurmountable. Within that template, everything bad that happens to Trump is good, because it sets up the profoundly satisfying emotional reward. The audience/voters could make him win, because deeply, psychically we want the hero to win. But it's one thing to watch and feel satisfaction when the hero overcomes all the obstacles. It's another to get up off the couch and translate your deep desires into the real-world action of voting.
"The idea of the third-act problem usually involves a character flaw of your hero," he explained [in mid-August]. "It is a problem that they specifically can't solve because of a character defect. They're afraid of something, they can't forgive, they've been a liar all their life until now... That's what makes it a good movie, we like to see people change in some positive way. That's what makes us feel good. Because in the real world we don't see it happen, hardly ever."
And what's missing from Adams's movie analysis is the monster hero. We want his rampaged stopped, we expect the closure that comes with killing him, and our deep psychic connection to the monster comes not as he wins but as he dies. Look how profound and exalted it is when Godzilla dies: