“How many times have we heard it: ‘This time Donald Trump may have gone too far.’ It wasn’t too far when he called Mexicans rapists, nor when he said that blood was coming out of Megyn Kelly’s ‘whatever,’ not even when he said that John McCain was not a war hero, still not when he said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose a vote, neither when he mused out loud about whether it mightn’t be a bad idea for the United States to assassinate the leader of a sovereign nation. The train to ‘Too Far,’ it turns out, is a local that appears to have far more stops than the number seven train to Flushing.”
Last night came the finale for all those strap-hangers who clung fast as the relentlessly creepy, decrepit train carried on through its agonizingly long tunnel of darkness, knowing for certain, as sure as they knew their conductor, the train would finally arrive at “Too Far.”
Last night, Donald Trump pulled the train into its final destination. Donald Trump went too far.
The reality star was done in by little more than that very first incarnation of reality television. Back then it was called “Candid Camera.” In its day, the audience howled as a hidden camera captured people being themselves. Today, the candid cameras are everywhere, from security cams to cell phones to the body cams that cops wear to show what actually happened. In the sharpest twist of irony's knife, the camera that got Trump was for Access Hollywood. Live by the gods of entertainment, die by the gods of entertainment.
In the end, it was not his bloviation, not his racial taunts, not his religious bigotry, and not his galling self-aggrandizement that did him in. One could say that it was beauty that killed the beast, but that would be so unfair to King Kong.
What killed Donald Trump was a decade-old videotape, a hot mic of an unfiltered Donald Trump casually recounting the smoking guns of a sexual predator on the prowl.
We now see that the man who self-righteously kicked off his campaign with allegations of Mexicans as rapists was merely projecting his own tortured self-image as a manipulative sexual predator onto a nation he sought to demonize. When he wanted to articulate the most vile of epithets to fling at our neighbors to the south, he could only conjure himself.
It is the one disease no one had noticed in his stunning portfolio of mental instabilities: psychological projection. It is (thank you, Wikipedia) the theory that “humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others.”
Let’s be really clear that the issue is criminal. Here is the verbatim exchange:
But in this exchange, Trump’s words are clearly intended to convey the personal experience of using power and influence to facilitate sexually predatory acts. This is not phrased as a hypothetical. It is a report, his claim. For all intents and purposes, Trump said, "Hey, Billy Bush, let me tell you what I have done."
It is effectively an admission of prior action that, if prosecuted, would result in a guilty verdict on charges of sexual misconduct.
Donald Trump is now lying in a cesspool of his own creation, the product of an inverted digestive tract that starts with his being an ass and ends with the filthy waste that spews from his mouth.
His train has finally arrived at the destination toward which his destiny has always aimed. Finally, it has happened. He has gone too far, and he has flipped the tipping point. Republicans are sprinting for the exits.
I wish I could celebrate the good news in this: the increasingly certain sense that he cannot recover, and that our latest long national nightmare is over. We will dodge the bullet.
But there is the battle, and then there is the war.
On November 9 we will all have to face the fact that a man who promotes racism, discrimination based on religion, scientific ignorance, xenophobia, and who has now been caught on tape proudly boasting of criminal sexual behavior may still receive something on the magnitude of 50,000,000 votes to be the next President of the United States.
Then, we will all have to look in the mirror.
We will all have to ask whether the train Trump was riding ever really stopped. We will have to ask exactly what in our society continues to drive it.