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Thursday, March 21 , 2019, 9:34 pm | Partly Cloudy 54º


Susan Estrich: Is This What It Takes?

Does it really take the most vulgar, rude, offensive, racist, bombastic, insensitive, unqualified, disrespectful boor ever to be nominated by a major party in our lifetimes to finally get a highly qualified woman into the White House?

Seems so — assuming we're lucky, of course, and we don't make complete fools of ourselves, merging the White House with the Trump Network and calling it the Trump House (where the Lincoln Bedroom will now be available to any billionaires, not just the ones who contribute).

This is awful. It is beyond bad. There is nothing to enjoy. It is horrible to watch. I've been watching the debates with my students, but I'd rather we were watching any debate from any other campaign ever.

I would like them to see decent candidates, ones who cared enough to try their hardest and do their best — not foul-mouthed boors who talk "locker room talk" every minute of the day.

Did you see Donald Trump repeatedly duck the question of whether he still talks this way? Tell me: Did he wake up one day and see the light? This is who he is. He makes no bones about it. He is the most authentic candidate I have ever seen.

And that's the other scary part of it.

This is exactly who he is. He is a racist. He hates women. He objectifies women. He "(grabs) them by the p----." He was not in a college locker room when he said that. He was 59, for goodness' sake.

And his supporters, if the pictures, blogs and reports are to be believed, are just eating it up. They love it when he attacks women as sexual objects and Mexicans as criminals and Muslims as terrorists. They're raising a glass.

They are actually telling people on the phone that they are for this man. They aren't embarrassed. There may be more of them.

Who are these people?

We keep hearing about the angry white man. Yes, they've felt downtrodden as of late. It's tough. But can I point out the obvious? Most of these white men have white wives, daughters or sisters, women who feel as demeaned and put down by Trump's disrespectful oath as women of color.

Are women not telling their husbands or brothers what it feels like to have a man who would be president of the United States talk about women as if we are pieces of meat? Nobody stuck a microphone in his shower while he was muttering to himself. This is clearly the way he talks to others; it's who he is.

I don't know whether Trump is a curse of an older generation that will be gone soon or rather a continuous virus that infects young and insecure men with a false and dangerous sense of security, one gained by demeaning others and degrading women — a virus that stays with them for the rest of their lives.

We who are mothers would like to think we have raised our sons better. In all events, no such man is qualified to be president, but it shouldn't take one for a qualified woman to win.

Susan Estrich is a best-selling author, the Robert Kingsley Professor of Law and Political Science at the USC Law Center and was campaign manager for 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis. Click here to contact her or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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