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State of the Race: Trump can’t help himself, takes Hillary’s bait

Image: Twitter
Image: Twitter

Welcome fellow Men’s Traiters to yet another installment of  State of the Race! With only five weeks and some change left until this miserable election year is behind us – and four miserable years are then ahead of us – we have entered into the final stages of the 2016 presidential election.

The beginning of the end officially kicked off last week with the first presidential debate, and both would-be presidents have been feeling the after-effects ever since. Clinton has been doubling down, doing some solid campaigning, and largely staying on message while fighting off a new wave of controversy that has come to light – so pretty much what she has done the whole campaign.

Trump on the other hand, after his more low-key, stick-to-the-teleprompters attitude for the last month that led to him taking a lead over Clinton in the polls, has returned to his good old self with plenty of Twitter wars, baseless accusations, and doing everything he can to hide his tax history. So, again, pretty much what he has been doing the whole campaign.

The stage is set, first blood has been drawn, let’s dig into everything you’ve missed in this week’s *booming echoing voice* State of the Race!

Clinton

Bad news Trumpettes, Clinton is on the rise following what can only be described as some of the roughest 90 minutes that Trump has ever had on stage. On the debate stage, Clinton may have come off as robotic, unemotional, and not-so-subtly scripted (even down to her “impromptu” zingers which had all the zest and spontaneity of stock footage), but compared to Trump’s easily provoked ramblings, off-kilter tangents, and bad-tempered avoidance of the questions he was being asked, Clinton’s experience as both a politician and master-debater (get it?) shone.

There has even been a noticeable effect in the polls, something which the debates have historically done little to really affect. Yet in this ridiculous – see definition: worthy of ridicule – election year, even the traditional not-so-significant effect of the debates is being overturned, and maybe that should come as no surprise since over 80 million Americans tuned in to watch, making it the most-watched presidential debate in history.

Clinton has been climbing in the polls across the board following Trump’s performance last Monday night. Immediately following the debate Clinton had a four-point lead over Trump, and as of the latest polls has increased that to a six-point lead nationally.

However, it hasn’t been only springtime and roses for Clinton this week. Hillary has been facing down a new controversy thrown at her when of her campaign aides had their email hacked. Amongst its contents was an audio clip of Clinton speaking at a private event back in February when she was still battling with Bernie Sanders to secure the Democratic nomination. In the audio clip, Clinton refers to Sanders’ support base of millennial voters as “Basement Dwellers”.

Conservative sites were quick to attack Clinton over her apparent condescension and elitism, touting her comment as proof that she is out of touch with young Americans. Trump tweeted about her comment,

Predictably #BasementDwellers was trending on Twitter within hours of the audio clip’s release.

Unfortunately for Trump and his supporters, Clinton never called anyone “basement dwellers”, and she certainly never insulted Sanders’ supporters or millennials in general. You can hear the full audio clip here, but what Clinton actually said was,

“Some are new to politics completely. They’re children of the Great Recession. And they are living in their parents’ basement. They feel they got their education and the jobs that are available to them are not at all what they envisioned for themselves. And they don’t see much of a future . . . So that is a mindset that is really affecting their politics. And so if you’re feeling like you’re consigned to, you know, being a barista, or you know, some other job that doesn’t pay a lot, and doesn’t have some other ladder of opportunity attached to it, then the idea that maybe, just maybe, you could be part of a political revolution is pretty appealing. So I think we should all be really understanding of that and should try to do the best we can not to be, you know, a wet blanket on idealism. We want people to be idealistic.”

Rather than an attack on those who were “feeling the Bern”, it is in fact that exact opposite. Clinton was encouraging people to empathize with and understand where millennials are coming from. Yes she refers to them living in their parents’ basement, but it is meant as an example of how devastating an impact the recession of the late 2000’s had on many of them and the challenges that generation is facing.

Clinton’s statement is actually a remarkably sympathetic and compassionate examination of why so many voters supported Sanders campaign, and it was in no way an attack or insult on the millennial generation. Sanders himself has leapt to the defense of Clinton and said that he agrees with that statements she made in the audio clip.

We’ve expressed many times at Men’s Trait that we downright loathe both candidates, but that loathing has always been based on fact and truth. If you want to hate Hillary Clinton, here are some excellent reasons to do so. However, hating her because she called millennials “basement dwellers” is quite frankly ignorant. And that is our brief lesson in the powers of “context” folks.

Trump

Oh good Lord, Donald, you’ve done it again.

How many times can one person receive the label “Worst Week in Political History”? It’s just . . . baffling at this point. Where do we even? How do we even?

*Sigh*

Let’s just get started.

Following the events of the first presidential debate after which Democrats and Republicans alike criticized his performance, Trump kept himself busy most of the week continuing the fight that was he was so easily provoked into by Clinton on-stage. Near to the end of debate, Clinton commented on Trump’s history of sexism and cited former Miss Universe Alicia Machado as an example. Back when Trump owned the beauty pageant he apparently had many problems with Machado gaining weight after winning the contest and referred to her as “Miss Piggy”.

Not content to let even a single insult slide off him, Trump demonstrated once again how thin his skin is by beginning a Twitter war with Machado that culminated in a tirade of tweets in the early A.M. hours of Friday morning.

Though the Trump camp initially denied that Trump had ever made any such comments about Machado, when evidence came to light that proved otherwise, Trump switched tactics. He doubled down on his previous statements and began  defending his fat-shaming of Machado. Trump has since ignored advisors suggestions to let the matter rest as Machado is seen to represent  all the groups that he is most struggling to gain voters in – women, Latinos, and immigrants.

Trump has also begun dropping hints that he plans to attack Hillary during their next debate over her husband’s , former President Bill Clinton, infidelities. He first brought up the issue immediately following their first debate saying,

“I was going to say something…extremely rough to Hillary, to her family. And I said to myself, ‘I can’t do it. I just can’t do it. It’s inappropriate. It’s not nice.”

Well, apparently it is officially on the table now. Trump said during a recent interview,

“Hillary Clinton was married to the single greatest abuser of women in the history of politics. Hillary was an enabler, and she attacked the women who Bill Clinton mistreated afterward. I think it’s a serious problem for them, and it’s something that I’m considering talking about more in the near future.”

Trump, has even gone on to insinuate that Hillary has been unfaithful to Bill, saying,

“I don’t even think she’s loyal to Bill, if you want to know the truth. And really, folks, really, why should she be? Right? Why should she be?”

When Trump, who’s own extramarital affairs have been well publicised, was asked about his own infidelities, he responded,

“I don’t talk about it. I wasn’t president of the United States. I don’t talk about it.”

BUT WAIT, FOLKS! There’s more! On top of all of that, the thing that Trump has been fighting against since the very beginning of his campaign has finally happened.

His taxes were revealed.

Or more precisely three pages of a 1995 income tax return were leaked, but oh, what those three pages showed. The biggest takeaway from the documents is that Trump took a $916 million loss that year which could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for 18 years.

Trump’s critics immediately pounced on him and cited the tax return as proof of the long stated claims that he is not as good of a businessman as he claims to be. More importantly, they claim it shows that he only cares for himself and not his civic duty.

The Trump campaign has responded to the leak by deploying spokespersons to various new sources to defend his actions. While none of them will confirm or deny that Trump used tax law to avoid paying any taxes for years on end, they have all stated that if he did use tax laws in such a way it only shows what an excellent businessman really Trump is.

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani  said of Trump possible tax evasion,

“He’s a genius — absolute genius. This was a perfectly legal application of the tax code, and he would’ve been a fool not to take advantage of it.”

The Clinton campaign was also quick to attack Trump over his taxes, something they have been doing for months now and mentioned rather prominently in the first debate, by releasing a new campaign ad that puts Trump’s taxes in the spotlight and features Bernie Sanders criticising his actions.

But out of all of that the incident that best summarizes just how rough of a week Trump has been having was probably his speech at a rally in Pennsylvania Saturday evening.  Trump was slated to deliver a nine sentence statement regarding the Clinton’s “basement dwellers” comments. After arriving an hour and a half late to the event due to weather, Trump took an exhausting 25 minutes to deliver his small statement.

Trump went from tangent to tangent as spoke, growing more and more heated the entire time. He talked of Clinton not being loyal to her husband, mocked and imitated her near-collapse due to pneumonia last month, called her crazy, and said should be in prison. Trump complained repeatedly about how he had been given a “bum mic” during the debate and spoke about how he could have been doing another season of “The Apprentice” rather participate in the elections.

Overall Trump seemed shaken up, on the defensive, lashing out at anyone he perceived to have wronged him – basically the state he has been in all week long.

State of the Race

It has been a rough week for Trump following the first debate, while Clinton has resurged back to her place on top of the polls. All eyes are now looking forward to Tuesday night’s Vice Presidential debate featuring Trump’s Mike Pence versus Clinton’s Tim Kaine.

Both of the two are “safe” candidates who have a long history of political experience. If you’re expecting the spectacle that was the Clinton and Trump’s debate, you are likely to be disappointed as the two maybe-VPs are likely to only repeat the same arguments that their running mates have already been leveling at each other.

On the other hand, Trump and Clinton’s second debate is slated for next Sunday. Many voters are curious to see if Hillary is going to take Trump to the cleaners again, or if Donald might actually even remotely prepare for the debate this time around.

With all the powers of our incredibly subjective levels of judgement, we here at Men’s Trait are once again prepared to declare our pick for the future El Presidente!

*drumroll*

Hillary Clinton

Honestly at this point in the race, what else did you expect? Trump is scrambling, Clinton is on the rise, and there is a second debate coming up that all the evidence points towards being another Trump defeat. Trump either needs to shut up and calm down, which is what gave him a slight lead last month, or else find a new pile of mud to sling Clinton’s way. If he can’t cause a shift, and soon, then Clinton’s path to the White House is all but assured.

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