These numbers would make me think Trump has a decent chance to ride out what I thought was his death knell (because he was confessing to and gloating about sexual assault).
There's also a question: "Have you heard the recent news about allegations that Donald Trump made unwanted advances on different women over the years...?" And then: "Do you think these allegations are definitely true, probably true, probably not true, or definitely not true?" A full 22% say "Definitely true," and 40% more say "Probably true." Only 26% say "Probably not true" or "Definitely not true." But what I'm seeing there is the weakness of the wording of the question: "unwanted advances." What counts as an "unwanted advance"? That sounds like it would include even the slightest touch or spoken invitation, even before the woman indicated that she wasn't interested. I don't know what to make of these numbers.
Trump's own recorded remarks have had a much more powerful effect on me than the statements of the women who have come forward in these last weeks of the campaign to make allegations. It seems unfair to drop this material into the campaign now. And I don't know the details of what they said Trump did. If I had been surveyed, however, I would have said I'd heard the news, and I wouldn't have known how to answer the follow-up about whether I thought it was true. I might have said "Probably true" simply because of the weakness of the expression "unwanted advances."
Trump's own remarks have been especially important in my thinking about him because they fit a template that I have observed: I think he does not see law. He has a blindness toward the structures of law. I discussed this with respect to what he said about libel law last March:
He brought up law, but he's not prepared or even interested in talking about law....And again in April:
It's so inappropriately emotional. Free speech law is serious and important, and here's a man whose only way to talk about it is to plead with us to care about his feelings.... You need to get some objectivity and some respect for the law and for what government is.
I'm recalling what Trump said when he talked to The Washington Post about how he wanted to "open up" the libel law. I wrote a very detailed examination of the text of the absurdly digressive conversation... because I wanted to see how he relates to the law and what he thinks could or should be done to the freedom of the press. At one point the interviewer said "how would you change the law?" and Trump answered "I would just loosen them up." Somebody said what I would have said: "What does that mean?" And Trump's answer displays exactly the problem I'm talking about this morning:ADDED: I don't see how you can be President without having an internal sense of the reality of the rule of law.
"I’d have to get my lawyers in to tell you, but I would loosen them up. I would loosen them up."
He assumes he has people, good people who know what's needed and how to get it and they will attend to the details. He'll float above it — setting goals, doing face time, being interestingly expressive — and the real work will get done, don't worry about it, he has people for that.
Now, the Clintons have a different law problem: They know what it is and they use their lawyerly understanding to avoid it and weasel around it.