Archive for the ‘Collins’ Category

Blow, Kristof, and Collins

December 8, 2016

In “Trump: Madman of the Year” Mr. Blow says the president-elect is running two post-campaign campaigns: one high and one low, one of frivolity and one of enormous consequence.  Mr. Kristof, in “Identity Politics and a Dad’s Loss,” says four children in the Rev. Joey Crutcher’s life are dead. Policing, health and crime were causes. But their race may also have played a part.  But, Nick, as we know nothing is ever About Race…  In “Donald Trump Warms Up” Ms. Collins commiserates with poor Al Gore, thinking the president-elect had paid attention to what he said about climate change.  Here’s Mr. Blow:

So, Time magazine, ever in search of buzz, this week named Donald Trump Person of the Year. But they did so with a headline that read, “President of the Divided States of America.”

The demi-fascist of Fifth Avenue wasn’t flattered by that wording.

In an interview with the “Today” show, Trump huffed, “When you say divided states of America, I didn’t divide them. They’re divided now.” He added later, “I think putting divided is snarky, but again, it’s divided. I’m not president yet. So I didn’t do anything to divide.”

Donald, thy name is division. You and your campaign of toxicity and intolerance have not only divided this country but also ripped it to tatters.

This comports with an extremely disturbing tendency of Trump’s: Denying responsibility for things of which he is fully culpable, while claiming full praise for things in which he was only partly involved.

As my mother used to say: Don’t try to throw a rock and hide your hand. Own your odiousness.

But Trump delivered the lie with an ease and innocuousness that bespoke a childish innocence and naïveté. In fact, his words disguised cold calculation.

That is the thing about demagogy: It can be charming, even dazzling, and that is what makes it all the more dangerous.

Demagogues can flatter and whisper and chuckle. They can remind us of the good in the world because they have an acute awareness of the ways of the world. They can also love and be loved. They can reflect our own humanity because they are human, but their ambitions do not bend toward the good.

Their ultimate end is distraction, which allows domination, which leads to destruction.

Trump is running two post-campaign campaigns: one high and one low, one of frivolity and one of enormous consequence.

One is a campaign of bread and circuses — tweets, rallies, bombast about random issues of the moment, all meant to distract and excite — and the other is the constant assemblage of a cabinet full of fat cats and “mad dog” generals, a virtual aviary of vultures and hawks.

On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that Trump had “settled on Gen. John F. Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general whose son was killed in combat in Afghanistan, as his choice for secretary of Homeland Security.”

They also pointed out that Kelly had “dismissed one argument cited by those who advocate closing the military prison at Guantánamo, saying it had not proved to be an inspiration for militants.” The prison fell under his command.

Make no mistake: the prison at Guantánamo is one of the most glaring and enduring moral blights remaining from our humanitarianism-be-damned reaction to the attacks of 9/11.

Trump said of the prison last month:

“This morning, I watched President Obama talking about Gitmo, right, Guantánamo Bay, which by the way, which by the way, we are keeping open. Which we are keeping open … and we’re gonna load it up with some bad dudes, believe me, we’re gonna load it up.”

The Times also said that Kelly “questioned the Obama administration’s plans to open all combat jobs to women, saying the military would have to lower its physical standards to bring women into some roles.”

This is disturbing, but Kelly isn’t the only one of Trump’s military picks who has a disturbing attitude toward women.

Last month, The Daily Beast reported that the office of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s pick for national security adviser, “told women to wear makeup, heels, and skirts.” These directives to women were presented in a “January 2013 presentation, entitled ‘Dress for Success,’” which was obtained by a Freedom of Information request by MuckRock. The presentation reportedly made sweeping patriarchal declarations — “makeup helps women look more attractive” — and gave granular detail — “Wear just enough to accentuate your features.” According to the presentation, “Do not advocate the ‘Plain Jane’ look.”

So, in other words, while G.I. Joe is in camouflage, G.I. Jane should be in concealer. Got it. Indeed, on Wednesday, my colleague Susan Chira pondered in these pages: “Is Donald Trump’s Cabinet Anti-Woman?” She went through a litany of anti-woman positions taken and policies advanced by Trump appointees, leaving this reader with the clear conclusion that yes, it is. She closed with this: “One of the few bright spots that women’s advocates see in a Trump administration are proposals championed by Ivanka Trump to require paid maternity leave and offer expanded tax credits for child care.” But, as she notes, there is legitimate criticism that even that is patriarchal because it doesn’t cover paternal leave.

The question hanging in the air, the issue that we must vigilantly monitor, is whether the emerging shoots of egalitarianism in this country will be stomped out by the jackboot of revitalized authoritarianism.

I feel like America is being flashed by a giant neuralyzer, à la “Men In Black.” We are in danger of forgetting what has happened and losing sight, in the fog of confusion and concealment, of the profundity of the menace taking shape right before us.

That is our challenge: To see clearly what this deceiver wants to obscure; to be resolute about that to which he wants us to be resigned; to understand that Time’s man of the year is, by words and deeds, more of a madman of the year.

Well, they’ve also named Hitler and Osama bin Laden men of the year, so…  Next up we have Mr. Kristof:

This fall I sat down in Tulsa, Okla., with a black pastor whose unarmed son, Terence Crutcher, had been shot dead on the street by a white police officer.

The Rev. Joey Crutcher told me that Terence’s killing was just the latest loss his family had suffered. He had also lost a child to crib death years ago, and another to cancer. In addition, his grandson had been shot dead while driving home from church in a gang hit that was a case of mistaken identity.

Such heartbreak: Three children and a grandchild dead, each for a different reason. I’ve been thinking of the Crutchers because of the debate raging in the Democratic Party about its future. One faction argues that the left became too focused on “identity politics,” fighting for the rights of Muslims, gays, blacks and Latinos but neglecting themes of economic justice that would appeal to everyone, working-class whites in particular.

Mark Lilla of Columbia University helped spark the civil war with a provocative essay in The Times warning that “American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force.”

Speaking in Boston, Senator Bernie Sanders partly endorsed Lilla’s principle: “One of the struggles that you’re going to be seeing in the Democratic Party is whether we go beyond identity politics. I think it’s a step forward in America if you have an African-American C.E.O. of some major corporation. But you know what, if that guy is going to be shipping jobs out of this country, and exploiting his workers, it doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot whether he’s black or white or Latino.”

Lilla and Sanders have a legitimate point, and it’s clear in retrospect that the Democrats should have talked more about jobs and fairness for all. But Lilla and Sanders’s argument also collides with the basic truth that it’s not possible to have a serious conversation about justice, jobs and opportunity in America without talking frankly about race, gender and ethnicity.

Consider the Crutcher family: Each of the children’s deaths wasn’t exactly about race, yet each was linked to it. Young black men are disproportionately likely to be stopped by police officers, and shot dead by them. Crib death and cancer both are more lethal among African-Americans, because of disparities in incomes and health care. And crime in America disproportionately involves blacks, as both victims and arrested perpetrators.

So, sure, Democrats sometimes go overboard with identity and can do a far better job appealing to ALL who have been left behind — but identity still matters profoundly. The Crutchers have lost four young people, each in a way that statistically suggests a racial element.

How can we discuss a way forward without acknowledging that race is an issue here?

The blunt truth is that America’s most egregious failures have often involved identity, from slavery to anti-Catholic riots, from the Chinese Exclusion Act to the internment of Japanese-Americans, from unequal pay to acquiescence in domestic violence and sex trafficking. Ditto for the threats by President-Elect Donald Trump to deport 11 million immigrants or to register Muslims.

Yet Lilla and Sanders are right that identity sometimes has distracted from the distress in working-class white America. Life expectancy for blacks, Latinos and other groups has been increasing; for middle-aged whites, it has been dropping. Likewise, the race gap in education used to be greater than the “class gap”; now the class gap is greater.

It’s also true that broad efforts to create opportunity would help not only working-class whites, but also working-class blacks, Latinos and others.

I once asked Bryan Stevenson, the civil rights lawyer, how to think of the class gap versus the race gap, and he joked that for the many people caught in the criminal justice system who are both poor and black, “it’s like having two kinds of cancer at the same time.”

So do we really need to choose between identity and justice? Can’t we treat both cancers?

In moving beyond that dichotomy, maybe we can find some inspiration from Reverend Crutcher, who is truly something of a saint: He told me that he forgives the white officer who shot his son and prays for her.

“Every night, my wife and I cry because we see our son with his hands up,” he said. But he added, speaking of the officer who shot him: “She’s got people around her who are hurting, too. My heart goes out to her.”

Crutcher is modeling the broadest possible inclusiveness. Yes, there’s a tension between focusing on bigotry and highlighting jobs. Yes, Democrats should more clearly emphasize economic justice for all, including struggling whites. But I hope that Democrats won’t needlessly squabble over whether to prioritize identity or justice.

Like Reverend Crutcher, we can reach for both.

And last but not least we have Ms. Collins:

What do you think the theme for Donald Trump’s appointments has been so far? Generals, generals, generals? Climate change deniers, climate change deniers?

Those seem to be the leading contenders, although there’s always the ever-popular Give Chris Christie a job. While still cooling his heels as governor of New Jersey, Christie made history when a recent Quinnipiac poll showed him with a 77 percent job disapproval rating. None of his predecessors had managed such a feat. We knew he had it in him.

When I want to be cheered up, I always think about Christie, who’s currently lobbying for head of the Republican National Committee. (Next week, the Surface Transportation Board.)

On the downside, we had the heartbreaking saga of Al Gore, who happily emerged from a meeting with Trump this week, telling reporters about the “lengthy and very productive session” he’d had with the president-elect on climate change. It was, Gore added hopefully, a conversation that was likely “to be continued.”

Then Trump turned around and named Scott Pruitt, the attorney general of Oklahoma, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency. From Gore’s perspective, this would be like the judge in a divorce case naming the aggrieved husband as marriage counselor.

Pruitt is best pals with the oil and gas industry, and he knows the E.P.A. mainly as an entity to be sued. Under his watchful eye, his state has allowed so much natural gas fracking that Oklahoma now has way more earthquakes than sunrises.

Why do you think Trump went to so much trouble to set Gore up for heartbreak? The most likely answer is that he was only pretending to listen to what Gore was saying about climate change, while he waited for the chance to break in and talk about how tremendous, enormous, historic and stupendous his election victory was. This seems to happen a lot.

Also, it’s perfectly possible that by the time Trump sat down with Gore, he no longer remembered who he was appointing to the E.P.A. Perhaps he didn’t remember that Gore cared about the environment. The key to this man’s success, you understand, is failure to recall anything that happened before his most recent meal.

The selection of a Trump administration has been sort of mesmerizing in its own awful way. Ben Carson will be running Housing and Urban Development — Ben Carson, whose associate recently said he wouldn’t be taking any cabinet job because “he’s never run a federal agency. The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency.”

And our new national security adviser is going to be Michael Flynn, a very creepy retired general whose son/former chief of staff has been promoting stupendously false stories about Hillary Clinton’s involvement in a child sex ring at a pizza restaurant.

Trump says he’s discussed his talent hunt with President Obama, who thinks “very highly” of some of the people on his list. Who do you think they are? Probably not the general with the son who tweets about Democratic child abuse. Maybe retired Gen. James Mattis, who Trump wants to make secretary of defense? Mattis is a pretty popular choice, possibly because his nickname is “Mad Dog.”

Do you think if Governor Christie had a nickname, it would help his chances? What about “Growling Gerbil”?

And then there’s secretary of state. Trump seems to be looking at nine million possibilities. By next week you may be in the mix. Think about it. You’re far better qualified than Rudy “Rabid Rabbit” Giuliani. And unlike David Petraeus, I’ll bet you are not currently serving out probation after pleading guilty to sharing highly classified government information with a lover.

Lately, it appears Trump has gone back into the field to drag in a whole new bunch of State contenders. My favorite is Representative Dana Rohrabacher of California, a person you have probably never heard of even though he’s been in Congress since the 1980s and is currently head of the prestigious Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats.

Rohrabacher is also a surfer and former folk singer who once claimed global warming might be connected to “dinosaur flatulence.” He’s told transition officials that if he gets the nod, he’ll make the terrifying John Bolton his deputy, so the nation can get a crazy warmonger plus a guy who knows how to play old Kingston Trio music.

Also in the running: Rex Tillerson, the C.E.O. of ExxonMobil. Unlike Representative Rohrabacher, Tillerson seems to believe that human beings have had an impact on the climate; he just doesn’t care. (“What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?”)

Another name being bandied around is Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who first ran for the Senate with a famous ad in which he shot a hole in federal environmental legislation.

Do you see a pattern here? Apparently the next secretary of state will be somebody who likes smog. Perhaps this is an opening for Chris Christie. New Jersey has had a lot of environmental problems. Maybe he could invite Trump to a football game for some bonding. They could talk foreign affairs, and then pollute something on the way home.

Blow, Kristof, and Collins

December 1, 2016

In “Donald Trump’s ‘Monster’s Ball'” Mr. Blow says he assembles a team of billionaires and bigots.  Mr. Kristof suggests some “Gifts That Make a Difference,” and says we can give a present with more impact than a tie.  Ms. Collins says they should “Count Those Votes! Again!” and that nothing will change, but we’ll be reminded that Donald Trump is one of the least successful successful presidential candidates ever.  Here’s Mr. Blow:

If you’ve been in a funk over the results of this election: Buck up. It’s over. Dry the tears, push back against the malaise, burn away the fog and stiffen the spine.

There is work to do. Your country needs you, now more than ever. The loyal opposition needs your energy and your moral imagination.

You may be out of power, but you aren’t powerless. Righteousness is a self-propagating energy source. Indeed, there is most likely something to be gained in the midst of your loss. Sometimes, it is while wandering in the wilderness that purpose is perfected and voice is clarified. New champions will rise from these ashes, ones who may not now be apparent, and a new path forward will appear. Such is the way of the world; such is the precedent of history.

Donald Trump was elected on a wave of fake news, fake minority outreach and an 11th-hour email head fake by James Comey.

During the campaign, Trump lied with the ease of breathing and made promises he knew well that he could never keep. He positioned himself as a champion of the disaffected, all the while imagining himself a dictator.

Furthermore, Russia may in a way have won a new phase of the Cold War by dabbling in our hot mess of an election. And through it all, Trump nurtured an unhealthy bromance with Vladimir Putin.

Since winning the election, Trump has taken aim at some fundamentals of our constitutional democracy by not only attacking the media, but individual reporters, while also threatening to revoke American citizenship for the constitutionally protected act of flag burning.

Perhaps even more important and more ominous, he is assiduously assembling a team of advisers made up of billionaires and bigots, homophobes and Islamaphobes, climate change deniers and white supremacy believers.

Last month, David Axelrod called the budding cabinet assemblage a “Monster’s Ball,” and that may be too mild a phrasing.

During one of the debates, Trump boasted, while referring to Hillary Clinton: “I will do more for African-Americans and Latinos than she can ever do in 10 lifetimes. All she’s done is talk to the African-Americans and to the Latinos.”

And yet Trump has named as his chief strategist Steve Bannon, who helped to rebrand Nazis with a new name, alt-right, which sounds more like a computer command than a batch of fanatical racists clinging desperately to poisoned ideas. Trump also named as his nominee for attorney general Jeff Sessions, a man once denied a federal judgeship over charges of racism, who fought for public school funding inequity in his home state of Alabama and who has been a stalwart foe of immigrants.

On the campaign trail, Trump claimed that he was going to be a “real friend” of the L.G.B.T. community, and once even unfurled a rainbow flag — albeit upside down — with the words “L.G.B.T.s for Trump” scrawled on it. But the British gay news service Pink News claimed Tuesday that “every single Trump cabinet member so far opposes L.G.B.T. rights.” That was before further appointments were announced, but the point is well taken, as they methodically documented the individual appointees’ personal positions on equal rights.

On the campaign trail, the self-professed genital-grabber Trump said that he would be the “the best for women.” This week, Trump named anti-contraception, pro-fetal personhood Tom Price to be secretary of Health and Human Services.

On the campaign trail, Trump claimed that he wanted to drain the swamp in Washington. But his cabinet choices suggest that his plan is simply to replace the murky water it contains and the smarmy ecosystem that it conceals with one more to his liking.

The same Trump who blasted Clinton for being “owned by Wall Street” assembled a cabinet that is a roster of the superwealthy, including at least two billionaires, and is considering other top-crusters including the miserable Mitt Romney, who is debasing himself by groveling for the secretary of state job before a man whom he once called a fraud. The Washington Post’s Wonkblog published a piece on Wednesday under this headline: “Trump said hedge funders were ‘getting away with murder.’ Now he wants one to help run the economy.”

Donald Trump is a fraud, and a dangerous one. This country is depending on morally principled patriots to never let that fact be shifted from center stage.

Trump rode to victory on a cloud of vapors and vapid promises, and now he is assembling a counsel of acolytes and opportunists. Now each of us must demonstrate our fortitude in vocal, steadfast resistance.

Trump must be made to know, in no uncertain terms, that he was elected president and not anointed emperor.

Not every battle can be won, but every battle must be waged. This is the proving ground. Are you prepared to stand your ground?

Next up we have Mr. Kristof:

Sure, you can buy your uncle a necktie that he won’t wear, or your niece an Amazon certificate that she’ll forget to use. Or you can help remove shrapnel from an injured child in Syria, or assist students at risk of genocide in South Sudan.

The major aid organizations have special catalogs this time of year: You can buy an alpaca for a family for $150 at Heifer International, help educate a girl for $75 at Save the Children or help extend a much-admired microsavings program for $25 at Care. But this year my annual holiday gift list is special. I’ve tied some items to the election of Donald Trump, and I’ve looked for organizations that you may not have heard of:

■ One battle over the coming four years will involve family planning, because of G.O.P. efforts to defund Title X family planning programs and repeal Obamacare, which provides free birth control. So consider a donation to one of the most effective counterforces: the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, thenationalcampaign.org.

The campaign takes no position on abortion (except to note that family planning reduces abortions), and it has bipartisan leadership, so it is more likely to get a hearing in a G.O.P.-controlled Washington.

■ As Syria and Russia commit war crimes in Aleppo, heroic physicians from America and other countries are traveling secretly to rebel-held areas of Syria to treat the wounded in underground hospitals and call attention to the carnage. They work through the Syrian American Medical Society, SAMS, sams-usa.net, which supports more than 100 medical facilities in Syria.

■ Human rights and press freedoms seem likely to get much less attention from the next administration, which makes this a good time to support the Committee to Protect Journalists, cpj.org. The C.P.J. speaks up for imprisoned journalists worldwide and tries to end impunity for those who murder journalists (at least 40 journalists have been killed worldwide so far in 2016 for their work).

In the same vein, consider buying a gift subscription to a reliable news organization for yourself or a friend — as an investment in a robust civil society.

■ The recent hurricane in Haiti was devastating, and one of the most effective aid organizations in Haiti is Fonkoze, fonkoze.org, which has adopted a “graduation model” that has been particularly successful at combating global poverty.

Founded by a local Catholic priest, Fonkoze works with the most impoverished women in Haiti over 18 months to get them earning regular incomes through raising livestock or selling merchandise. It’s about teaching people how to fish, not handing out fish. I’ve seen it in action. It’s terrific.

■ Congo is home to probably the most lethal conflict since World War II, and it is sometimes called the rape capital of the world. One of the heroes there is Dr. Denis Mukwege, who founded the Panzi hospital to treat injured women and risks his life to stand up to warlords. He has survived an assassination attempt and some day will get the Nobel Peace Prize — but in the meantime, you can support his hospital at panzifoundation.org.

■ Criminal justice may suffer setbacks in the coming years, which makes this an excellent time to support groups like Equal Justice Initiative, EJI.org, founded by a legendary lawyer named Bryan Stevenson. If attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions has an opposite, it is Stevenson.

E.J.I. fights for indigent defendants and has won the release of inmates who were falsely arrested. It battles mass incarceration and is a voice for racial justice. And Stevenson’s memoir, “Just Mercy,” also makes a great gift.

■ I’ve reported on crimes against humanity unfolding in South Sudan, one of the world’s poorest countries, and now the United Nations is warning of the risk of full-blown genocide. In this impossible situation, a South Sudan-born American named Valentino Deng is running a high school, one of few still functioning. It needs support so students can get an education and build their country.

You may remember Valentino: He’s the “lost boy” at the center of Dave Eggers’s best-selling book “What Is the What.” What he has done since, in founding this school, is even more impressive.

It’s time to announce my annual win-a-trip contest, in which I choose a university student to accompany me on a reporting trip looking at global poverty and justice issues. I’m thinking about a 2017 trip to Liberia and Sierra Leone, or perhaps to Bangladesh. Information about how to apply is on my blog, nytimes.com/ontheground, and thanks in advance to the Center for Global Development in Washington for helping me pick a winner.

The win-a-trip journey is exhausting and may involve bed bugs, rats and the worst food you’ve ever eaten. But it is a chance to help shine a light on important and neglected topics, so if you know students perfect for the trip, encourage them to apply.

I’ll also make a pitch for Kiva, where for as little as $25 you can help someone start or expand a small business in some of the neediest places in the world.  I’ve been a Kiva lender for years.  Now here’s Ms. Collins:

Presidential recount underway. What’s your take on it?

— This is a plot to distract the country from the stupendous Election-Day fraud in which millions of dead people cast their votes for Hillary Clinton.

— Is it going to get rid of Donald Trump? If it isn’t, I don’t care. I don’t care about anything. Excuse me, I’m going back to bed.

Wow, happy holidays.

Yes, it’s true the postelection nation is still divided, this time between the folks who don’t want to believe Trump is going to be president and the ones who don’t want to hear that more people actually voted for Hillary.

But about the recount: The star of this show is Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee for president. On Wednesday Stein’s lawyers filed paperwork to force Michigan to recheck its vote tallies. She’s also getting a recount in Wisconsin and she’s working on Pennsylvania.

Since Stein got only 51,463 votes in Michigan to Trump’s 2,279,543, this would seem like an exercise in … um, futility? Deeply cynical minds think the real goal might just be to increase her donor database — her recount campaign has drawn more than $6 million. But Stein says she wants to demonstrate the need to reform the nation’s extremely messy voting system.

“It’s a healing and positive thing to examine the vote,” she said in a phone interview.

Hillary Clinton lost Michigan by 10,704 under the current count. Virtually no one — certainly not the Clinton lawyers — thinks she’s going to make that up in a recount. However, it’s definitely possible Clinton could have gotten 10,705 votes more if Stein had stayed off the ballot in the first place. “Jill Stein is the friend who ruins your wedding but really shows up for you during the divorce,” twittered comedian Morgan Murphy.

Stein claims most of her supporters wouldn’t have voted for anybody if the Green Party hadn’t been an option. But even if she did make a difference, she doesn’t care. “I don’t regard one candidate as preferable to the other,” she said.

We had heard something similar from Ralph Nader, whose presence on the ballot in 2000 probably cost Al Gore Florida, and the presidency. On many of Nader’s issues, Gore was not great. But the point of the American system of democracy is that in the end, you often have to take the responsibility for choosing the better of two unlovely options. And if Gore had been elected, we wouldn’t have invaded Iraq. Case closed.

Knowing what we know now, do you think the best thing the Greens could have done to battle global warming would have been running around trying to get attention for Jill Stein, or working like maniacs to support Clinton and keep Donald Trump out of the White House?

“In my view they’re both lethal to the environment,” said Stein.

In my view, the Green Party screwed up, big time. We will think of it from now on as the Chartreuse Party.

The one positive effect of the recount, besides reassuring people who worry the Russians might be capable of hacking a massive American vote tally, is the way it reminds the nation, every day, that Donald Trump is one of the least successful successful presidential candidates in American history.

He lost the popular vote to Clinton by more than two million votes. Due to our extremely strange Electoral College system, five men have gotten elected president even though more people voted for their opponent. But no one in modern history has come anywhere near Trump’s ginormous negative accomplishment.

The only presidential victor since the Civil War who did worse was Rutherford B. Hayes, a Republican who lost the popular vote to Samuel Tilden in 1876 and won the electoral tally only after Republicans challenged the results in four states, all of which were finally decided by a Republican-dominated electoral commission on party-line votes. Everybody accused everybody else of fraud.

It was an election dominated by economic fear and racism. However, Hayes never claimed that “millions of people” in the contested states voted illegally, like another candidate we can think of. Perhaps Hayes decided winners don’t whine. Perhaps it was because there were not yet millions of voters.

It’s important for our mental health to accept that the current recount isn’t going to change the election results, although it’s theoretically conceivable that additional legal challenges could make it impossible for anybody to win the necessary 270 votes when the Electoral College meets on Dec. 19. That would throw the decision over to the Republican-controlled Congress, and an obscure procedure that happened once before, when John Quincy Adams defeated Andrew Jackson.

I’m bringing that up just so I can note that John Quincy Adams is the only person besides Rutherford B. Hayes who won the presidency with a worse negative percentage of the popular vote than Donald Trump. Big loser! Sad!

O.K., done ranting. For today.

Blow and Collins

November 24, 2016

In “No, Trump, We Can’t Just Get Along” Mr. Blow says he doesn’t get a pat on the back for ratcheting down from rabid.  Ms. Collins, in “Carving Donald Trump,” says pass the stuffing and wave the olive branch.  Here’s Mr. Blow:

Donald Trump schlepped across town on Tuesday to meet with the publisher of The New York Times and some editors, columnists and reporters at the paper.

As The Times reported, Trump actually seemed to soften some of his positions:

He seemed to indicate that he wouldn’t seek to prosecute Hillary Clinton. But he should never have said that he was going to do that in the first place.

He seemed to indicate that he wouldn’t encourage the military to use torture. But he should never have said that he would do that in the first place.

He said that he would have an “open mind” on climate change. But that should always have been his position.

You don’t get a pat on the back for ratcheting down from rabid after exploiting that very radicalism to your advantage. Unrepentant opportunism belies a staggering lack of character and caring that can’t simply be vanquished from memory. You did real harm to this country and many of its citizens, and I will never — never — forget that.

As I read the transcript and then listened to the audio, the slime factor was overwhelming.

After a campaign of bashing The Times relentlessly, in the face of the actual journalists, he tempered his whining with flattery.

At one point he said:

“I just appreciate the meeting and I have great respect for The New York Times. Tremendous respect. It’s very special. Always has been very special.”

He ended the meeting by saying:

“I will say, The Times is, it’s a great, great American jewel. A world jewel. And I hope we can all get along well.”

I will say proudly and happily that I was not present at this meeting. The very idea of sitting across the table from a demagogue who preyed on racial, ethnic and religious hostilities and treating him with decorum and social grace fills me with disgust, to the point of overflowing. Let me tell you here where I stand on your “I hope we can all get along” plea: Never.

You are an aberration and abomination who is willing to do and say anything — no matter whom it aligns you with and whom it hurts — to satisfy your ambitions.

I don’t believe you care much at all about this country or your party or the American people. I believe that the only thing you care about is self-aggrandizement and self-enrichment. Your strongest allegiance is to your own cupidity.

I also believe that much of your campaign was an act of psychological projection, as we are now learning that many of the things you slammed Clinton for are things of which you may actually be guilty.

You slammed Clinton for destroying emails, then Newsweek reported last month that your companies “destroyed emails in defiance of court orders.” You slammed Clinton and the Clinton Foundation for paid speeches and conflicts of interest, then it turned out that, as BuzzFeed reported, the Trump Foundation received a $150,000 donation in exchange for your giving a 2015 speech made by video to a conference in Ukraine. You slammed Clinton about conflicts of interest while she was secretary of state, and now your possible conflicts of interest are popping up like mushroomsin a marsh.

You are a fraud and a charlatan. Yes, you will be president, but you will not get any breaks just because one branch of your forked tongue is silver.

I am not easily duped by dopes.

I have not only an ethical and professional duty to call out how obscene your very existence is at the top of American government; I have a moral obligation to do so.

I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything, but rather to speak up for truth and honor and inclusion. This isn’t just about you, but also about the moral compass of those who see you for who and what you are, and know the darkness you herald is only held at bay by the lights of truth.

It’s not that I don’t believe that people can change and grow. They can. But real growth comes from the accepting of responsibility and repenting of culpability. Expedient reversal isn’t growth; it’s gross.

So let me say this on Thanksgiving: I’m thankful to have this platform because as long as there are ink and pixels, you will be the focus of my withering gaze.

I’m thankful that I have the endurance and can assume a posture that will never allow what you represent to ever be seen as everyday and ordinary.

No, Mr. Trump, we will not all just get along. For as long as a threat to the state is the head of state, all citizens of good faith and national fidelity — and certainly this columnist — have an absolute obligation to meet you and your agenda with resistance at every turn.

I know this in my bones, and for that I am thankful.

Amen, and thank you Mr. Blow.  Now here’s Ms. Collins:

On Thanksgiving, Americans sat down to dinner, looked at the big turkey and thought about Donald Trump.

O.K., that was totally the wrong attitude. We’re supposed to be having a reset. The president-elect has been going out of his way to build bridges. He came to The Times this week for a long conversation, during which he was extremely amiable. He blasted the alt-right twits who celebrated his victory with Nazi salutes. (“Of course I condemn. I disavow and condemn.”) He had nothing but praise for Barack Obama (“I really liked him a lot.”) He has no desire to see Hillary Clinton prosecuted. (“She went through a lot. And suffered greatly in many different ways.”)

Policywise, he was still the guy who’s not all that into position papers. In discussing climate change alone, Trump use the phrase “open mind” seven times. This is one thing you can count on. We haven’t had a mind so open in the White House since Warren Harding.

Trump certainly hasn’t been giving many hints about what he’s actually going to do. But the real, and very important, message from his outreach was to remind the nation that he’s not crazy.

Trump not crazy! The word spread throughout the land. The stock market soared. While it’s true that the country has generally expected a little more from an incoming president, this election year has always been the story of a very low bar.

Look at his appointments. In another year, people might question whether Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina would be the right choice for United Nations ambassador, since she has virtually no experience whatsoever in foreign affairs. However, given the fact that last week Haley appeared to be a finalist for secretary of state, the U.N. seems like an eminently sensible assignment. Plus, once again we are relieved it’s not Rudy Giuliani.

Ironically, Trump, who ran as the big-change guy, is spending his first days as president-elect trying to assure people the changes won’t be too large. The Mexican wall is going to be a mixture of wall and fences — think of it as the Great Wence. The war on illegal immigrants is going to be all about deporting criminals, which is exactly what the Obama administration has been doing for years.

The most astonishing moment in Trump’s visit to The Times came when the president-elect announced that waterboarding suspected terrorists was “not going to make the kind of a difference that maybe a lot of people think.” Those people would include all the folks who went to Trump rallies and cheered when the candidate said things like: “Would I approve waterboarding? You bet your ass I would. … It works.”

“If it’s so important to the American people, I would go for it,” said the man who spent much of the last year trying to make it important. But, he said, he’d talked to Gen. James Mattis — the odds-on bet for secretary of defense — and found that Mattis thought waterboarding was pretty useless and much less effective than trying to win over a prisoner with cigarettes and beer.

Now, you can look at this two ways. One is that we have a president-elect who never bothered to talk with any experts about one of his major campaign themes. The other is that he’s growing into the job.

Let’s take the second. Sure, we’ll probably be disappointed by Valentine’s Day, but it could get us through the holidays.

I’ve been trying to think of a way to set an example — to come up with an olive branch that doesn’t go overboard. Some little thing to smooth the edges before we start fighting about the Supreme Court and health care.

Over the past couple of years I have noted on several occasions that Donald Trump once sent me a letter saying I had the face of a dog. This was when he took exception to my description of him as a “thousandaire.”

I’ve decided I will refrain from mentioning the incident again until he does something really, really terrible as president. In the name of accuracy, however, I have to correct the record. I dug out Trump’s missive the other day and discovered he did not actually say I looked like a dog. He said I was “a dog and a liar” with the face of a pig.

Hard to believe I got that wrong. The moral is that you should always consult the primary source.

So off we go. Fiscal conservatives are terrified that Trump will spend a ton of money on construction projects and refuse to cut entitlements. Murmurs of the dread term “Rockefeller Republican” are probably wafting at Paul Ryan’s holiday table. Perhaps liberals can take comfort in the fact that the other side is just as freaked out as they are.

Next year at this time, we’ll be watching President Trump pardon the Thanksgiving turkeys. Unless he reverts and winds up ordering the turkeys tortured.

I wonder if he can get his hands on that machine that was behind Sarah Palin a few years ago…

Collins, solo

November 19, 2016

In “Oh, No! Donald Trump’s Calling” Ms. Collins says for an inside track on the new administration, ask a golfer.  Here she is:

Today, Donald Trump as diplomat. We’re not talking about the big stuff, like his ominous national security appointments — I know you’ve had a hard week. Let’s take it easy and just look at his phone calls with heads of state.

Most of them have been taking place in Trump Tower, although this weekend he decamped to Trump National, his resort in New Jersey. Excellent move! Trump National has two golf courses more than all of Manhattan, and as far as we know, there are no immediate neighbors trying to chisel the word “Trump” off their apartment buildings. Plus, if the president-elect gets bored, he can always arrange to have Chris Christie crawl over and keep him company.

It’s tough enough for New Yorkers to deal with the concept of a Trump administration without having it headquartered here. Traffic is jammed: Fifth Avenue businesses are blocked off and in shell shock. Never before has it been possible to feel such sympathy for the problems of Gucci and Tiffany.

In theory, this should end with the inauguration, but it’s hard to imagine the first family ever actually moving into the White House. Dad isn’t the kind of guy who would enjoy living in harmony with historic preservationists.

But about those head-of-state calls. Normally the State Department would work out a schedule, according to all sorts of diplomatic priorities, but Trump seems to just be picking up the phone. One of his first conversations was with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who got Trump’s number from golfer Greg Norman.

The British were stunned when Trump talked with the Irish prime minister before he spoke to any of the other European leaders. It’s not clear that he wanted to show favoritism. The Irish-first decision was allegedly at the request of Rudy Giuliani, and the way things have been going for Giuliani, it may have been the most significant thing he gets out of the transition.

Pop Quiz. When Donald Trump finally took a call from British Prime Minister Theresa May, he:

A) Asked her if she’d ever played at the Trump International Golf Links in Scotland.

B) Told her: “If you travel to the U.S., you should let me know.”

C) Asked her if she’d ever been to New Jersey.

D) Appeared to believe “crumpets” were a breed of small, fuzzy dogs.

The answer is B. Britain may have a special relationship with the United States, but so far Trump barely appears to understand we’ve been dating. The 10 minutes devoted to May was less than he spent accepting the good wishes of former “Celebrity Apprentice” winner Piers Morgan.

The bottom line is that there does not appear to be a plan. “There’s security issues about doing this while sitting in your gilt-encrusted living room with your socks up on the ottoman talking on your cellphone,” growled Norman Eisen, the former ambassador to the Czech Republic. And wouldn’t you feel better if you thought that Trump’s first talk with, say, the president of Turkey, had been preceded by a briefing?

Pop Quiz II. When Donald Trump spoke to the president of Turkey, he talked about:

A) Turkey’s rapid and disturbing slide from democracy to dictatorship.

B) The war on terror.

C) Trump Towers Istanbul.

D) Golf.

The answer was probably B, although you can bet Trump Towers Istanbul was in the back of his mind. “I have a little conflict of interest ’cause I have a major, major building in Istanbul,” Trump said during the campaign. “It’s a tremendously successful job. It’s called Trump Towers — two towers, instead of one, not the usual one, it’s two.”

Two towers, got it. Trump actually made those comments during an interview with Stephen Bannon, who was then the awful head of a right-wing, misogynist, racist website, not the appointee to a powerful position in the incoming White House. This is why we’re talking about courtesy phone calls today, people. It’s the most cheerful thing we’ve got.

Trump has also had a lot of visitors, ranging from the owner of the New England Patriots to Nigel Farage, who led the Brexit campaign in Britain. (Once again we are noting that the prime minister is coming in behind everybody. Really, if May ever does come to visit, she’ll probably have to see the White House with a tour group.)

Trump gave an hour to Bill de Blasio, the very liberal mayor of New York City, which was certainly gracious given the harsh words the two men have exchanged over the last year. De Blasio said he explained to Trump how fearful New Yorkers were of his ideas. The mayor also said the meeting went great. This is good news. Maybe Trump does have an untapped potential for diplomacy.

Tell it to the British. Meanwhile, I am sorry to report that de Blasio didn’t suggest Trump move to New Jersey.

You know, this shit would be funny if only…

Kristof and Collins

November 17, 2016

Mr. Kristof has a question.  He also has “A 12-Step Program for Responding to President Elect Trump.”  Are you traumatized by the election of Donald Trump? He has the program for you.  Ms. Collins found “A Trumpian Silver Lining:”  There’s someone who feels worse than you do about what’s happening in Washington.  Here’s Mr. Kristof:

Traumatized by the election results, many Americans are asking: What now? Here are steps that any of us can take that can make a difference at the margins. Onward!

1. I WILL accept that my side lost, but I won’t acquiesce in injustice and I will gird for battle on issues I care about. I will call or write my member of Congress and express my opposition to mass deportation, to cutting 22 million people off health insurance, to nominations of people who are unqualified or bigoted, to reduced access to contraception and cancer screenings. Better yet, I’ll attend my representative’s town meeting and put him or her on the spot.

2. I WILL try to do small things in my own life, recognizing that they are inadequate but at least a start: I will sign up on the Council on American-Islamic Relations website, volunteering to fight Islamophobia. I’ll call a local mosque to offer support, or join an interfaith event. I will sign up for an “accompany my neighbor” list if one exists for my area, to be an escort for anyone who is now in fear.

3. I WILL avoid demonizing people who don’t agree with me about this election, recognizing that it’s as wrong to stereotype Trump supporters as anybody else. I will avoid Hitler metaphors, recognizing that they stop conversations and rarely persuade. I’ll remind myself that no side has a monopoly on truth and that many Trump supporters are good people who want the best for the country. The left already has gotten into trouble for condescending to working-class people, and insulting all Trump supporters as racists simply magnifies that problem.

4. I’LL DO my part to support the society I’d like to see. I’ll eat Chobaniyogurt because its owner has been subjected to racist attacks for his willingness to hire and promote refugees. Likewise, I will give blood and register for organ donation — for at least they’ll make me feel better. As will a tub of Chobani.

5. I WILL support groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center that fight hate groups, and back the center’s petition calling on Donald Trump to disavow bigotry. Depending on my interests, I’ll support an immigration rights group, the A.C.L.U. or Planned Parenthood. And I’ll subscribe to a newspaper as one way of resisting efforts to squelch the news media or preside over a post-fact landscape — and also to encourage journalists to be watchdogs, not lap dogs.

6. I WILL support refugees, one of the most demonized groups in the world. The International Rescue Committee’s work for refugees can for the first time be supported through donations to The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund. In many cities in America and abroad, volunteer can help refugees through this I.R.C. portal. More refugee resettlement agencies are here.

7. I WON’T let it slide if a friend makes degrading comments about a minority or women. Even if it’s over Thanksgiving dinner, I’ll push back and say something like: “Come on! You really think that?!” Similarly, I may not be able to prevent a sexual predator from reaching the White House, but at events I attend, I may be able to prevent a sexual predator from assaulting a drunken partygoer.

8. I WILL resist dwelling in an echo chamber. I will follow smart people on Twitter or Facebook with whom I disagree. I will also try to enlarge my social circle to include people with different views, recognizing that diversity is a wonderful thing — and that if I know only Clinton supporters, then I don’t have a clue about America.

9. I WILL do what I can in my own life to make sure that the needy aren’t forgotten in the next four years amid paroxysms of tax cuts for the wealthy. I can support Reach Out and Read, an outstanding program that helps at-risk kids learn to read: A $20 donation covers one child for a year, or one can serve as a reader. Or I can be a Big Brother or Big Sister or help through iMentor.

10. I WILL understand that progress may unfold at the state or local level, and I will engage there. It’s encouraging that voters in four states passed minimum wage measures, and in three states approved gun safety measures, while other states and localities are wrestling with climate change. And, of course, a starting point is to get my friends to vote.

11. I WILL take on sexism and misogyny, which in forms like domestic violence, sexual assault and sex trafficking affect women and girls across the country. Even today, Republicans and Democrats should be able to work together to get funding for women’s shelters or to prosecute pimps.

12. I WILL not lose hope. I will keep reminding myself that politics zigs and zags, and that I can do more than shout in the wind. I can fight for my values even between elections, and even at the micro level I can mitigate the damage to my neighbors and attempt to heal a social fabric that has been rent.

Now here’s Ms. Collins:

One of Donald Trump’s big advantages now is that he has so many awful associates. No matter what appointees he foists on us, there’s always another pal who’d have been worse. If he names some federal land-grabbing oilman as secretary of the interior, people are going to sigh with relief and say, “At least it isn’t Sarah Palin.”

And Reince Priebus — until a few days ago Priebus was just the head of the Republican National Committee, a seriously unexciting guy with a hard-to-pronounce name. Then he got picked to be White House chief of staff at the same time Steve Bannon, the loathsome alt-right cheerleader, was named chief strategy adviser. Everyone fell madly in love with Priebus, who was … way less bad.

The whole world is watching the Trump transition — nine weeks and 3,998 appointments to go! If you want to look on the bright side, remember that however horrific you feel about what’s happening in Washington, Chris Christie feels worse.

Farewell, Chris Christie, farewell. We’ve said goodbye to his political career so many times — Bridgegate, the ever-plummeting New Jersey credit rating, the time he chased a heckler down the boardwalk waving an ice cream cone. The doomed presidential race. The humiliating stint standing behind Trump at press conferences, looking as if he’d been hit on the head with a mallet. Then he was exiled to the Trump transition when nobody actually imagined there was going to be one.

Now it’s here, and he’s toast. It appears that Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner did not actually forgive and forget that Christie sent his father to jail for tax evasion. Being a prosecutor was one of the more righteous periods in Christie’s life, but it turned out to be more damaging, careerwise, than his habit of screaming at schoolteachers at public meetings.

Tweets aside, we have heard from Donald Trump only once this week — not counting the time he went to eat at the 21 Club in Manhattan and promised one of the other well-heeled diners a tax break. He was more expansive in a “60 Minutes” interview, clarifying his promise to “drain the swamp” if he was elected. Many people thought he was talking about lobbyists. But apparently it was just a passing reference to easing the regulations on inland wetlands.

“That’s the only people you have down there,” he told Lesley Stahl, explaining why his transition team was stuffed with the wealthy insiders he’d run his campaign against. The new transition is trying to sweep them under the rug. But let’s hope all the working-class voters in the Rust Belt understood that the first step to making America great again is the repeal of banking regulations.

Meanwhile, somebody is promoting Ted Cruz’s name for attorney general. Could it be … Ted Cruz? This is one potential nomination that would have no trouble getting confirmed, since the idea of getting Cruz out of the Senate would probably corral a massive vote.

The only person we know for sure is not going to be in the Trump cabinet is Ben Carson, who was briefly rumored as a possible head of the Department of Health and Human Services. But Armstrong Williams, Carson’s business manager, told The Hill that the politician-neurosurgeon had ruled that out. “Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience, he’s never run a federal agency,” Armstrong explained.

The world stops briefly, and mulls that this man did feel equipped to run for president. Then the world moves on.

But the biggest appointments gossip centered on Rudy Giuliani’s rather manic campaign for secretary of state. Everybody expected Giuliani to be in the running for attorney general, but it turned out he was keen on being appointed to a post for which he had no earthly qualifications whatsoever.

Pop Quiz: If Rudy Giuliani is nominated to a high post in the Trump administration, would you rather have the debate over his confirmation center on:

A) His millions and millions of dollars in speaking fees and work on behalf of everyone from Qatar to the maker of OxyContin.

B) The time he told reporters he was ditching his wife before he told his wife.

C) The fact that on 9/11 New York City had no emergency command center because Giuliani had insisted, over police objections, on putting it in the World Trade Center.

D) His increasing resemblance to a 100-year-old rabbit.

Admit it, you want to talk about D. At 72, Giuliani is the same age as John Kerry, who recently broke the secretary of state record with 1.3 million miles traveled on the job. But some people age badly, and Giuliani has been off his game for decades — he peaked around 1995 and it’s been a deep slide ever since.

Among the other potential candidates for secretary of state are John Bolton, the former United Nations ambassador who is famous for hating the United Nations. Bolton actually makes Giuliani seem … less awful. And there’s always Sarah Palin.

Gail, sweetie, nothing on God’s good green earth could make John Bolton less awful.  Just sayin’.

Solo Collins

November 12, 2016

In “The Glass Ceiling Holds” Ms. Collins says women are still marching on the long road toward the White House.  Here she is:

It took Hillary Clinton a while to talk about the first-woman-president idea. She didn’t stress it early in her 2008 campaign. But people kept coming up to her with pictures of their grandmothers who got to vote for the first time in 1920. Others begged her to get the job done so they could see a woman in the White House before they died.

The dream sank in.

“Now, I — I know — I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling,” Clinton told her grieving supporters. It was already late Wednesday morning by the time she gave her concession speech, winner of the popular vote but loser all the same. She told all the little girls who were watching — and there probably still were little girls watching, since the excitement had been so grand — “never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”

And so it ended. But when we look back on the Clinton campaign as part of history, we’ll see something different from the abrupt, shocking defeat her backers experienced last week. It was a big step in a journey that’s been both inspiring and really, really long.

When history teachers want to include women in the story of the American Revolution, they often have their students read the famous letter Abigail Adams wrote in 1776 to her husband, urging him to “remember the ladies” and write laws for the new country that would “put it out of the power of the vicious and the lawless to use us with cruelty.” The kids are not generally encouraged to move on to John Adams’s reply: “As to your extraordinary code of laws, I cannot but laugh.”

It was, to say the least, going to take awhile — more than a century before much of the country would even begin talking seriously about whether women should be allowed to vote. Nobody at the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls in 1848 seemed able to imagine a female president. When Rochester women organized a follow-up gathering, many of the Seneca leaders were taken aback that there was a female presiding officer. (At Seneca Falls, Lucretia Mott’s husband, James, ran the program.)

The suffrage movement, when it did get off the ground, was … effortful. “To get the word ‘male’ in effect out of the Constitution cost the women of the country 52 years of pauseless campaign,” said Carrie Chapman Catt, the movement leader, reeling off the kind of list that is made only by people who know their ultimate achievement may just be checking more things off the list. (“… 56 campaigns of referenda to male voters; 480 campaigns to urge legislatures to submit suffrage amendments to voters … 277 campaigns to persuade state party conventions to include woman suffrage planks…”)

Hillary Clinton was the perfect heir to that tradition. “It’ll be a long slog,” she said a year ago, and wow, was she right. After her razor-thin defeat, some analysts wondered if the whole problem hadn’t been how boring her campaign had been. Younger people had seen Barack Obama leap onto the public stage and knock the socks off the country with his compelling oratory, his cool persona and his vision — sort of vague but wonderful — of a new American politics in which everybody would work together for the common good. And then suddenly, there was a black man in the White House. It was an achievement so unexpected that many Americans wept in joy and astonishment.

Clinton didn’t leap — she trudged. The difference between her political career and Obama’s was, in a way, a perfect reflection of the difference between the civil rights movement and women’s fight for equal rights. Historically, black Americans had grown up as a separate group, victims of endless injustice and brutality. When they fought back, the white majority responded with rage and violence. Then, after years of sit-ins and protest marches and bloody freedom rides, the good guys won. Racial injustice, of course, continued. But we’ll never forget that epic drama.

Women had precious few rights themselves, but they weren’t a separate, enslaved group. They were living in the bedrooms and parlors of the male authority figures who were their husbands, fathers, brothers and sons. When they rebelled, they were laughed at. The women tried to win over men who were simultaneously their lovers and oppressors with an excruciatingly slow, patient drive to change their minds — remember all those petitions and referendums.

“Our movement is belated, and like all things too long postponed, now gets on everybody’s nerves,” Elizabeth Cady Stanton remarked shortly before her death in 1902.

One 1915 referendum in New York State involved 10,300 meetings, 7.5 million leaflets and a parade of 20,000 people. The women lost anyway. The opposition was urged on by, among others, The New York Times. Two years later, when the pressure for national suffrage picked up, the paper argued that the country was at war and that in a time of national peril, “strong men must make the decisions that control policies.” (The man overseeing the anti-suffrage campaign was Charles Miller, whose portrait used to hang in the Times editorial board conference room. When I was the editorial page editor, I used to enjoy walking up to him once in a while and whispering, “Got your job.”)

When the big victory finally came in 1920, suffragists expected a national transformation. The women’s vote was going to mean cleaner government, better education, safer housing and any number of other improvements in the lives of American families. In a quick preview of what was supposed to come, Congress passed the Sheppard-Towner Maternity and Infancy Protection Act in 1921 — a modest program to educate poor women about child care and establish clinics in impoverished rural areas.

In 1929, Congress repealed it. Women, it turned out, were voting much like their husbands — on the basis of their ethnicity, economic class and geographic location. It wasn’t until the 1980s that pollsters began to notice a gap — that women voters were more interested in domestic programs like education and the social safety net. They leaned Democratic, but they didn’t play gender favorites. This year, with the first female nominee pitted against a man who was practically defined by a tape recording about his girl-grabbing exploits, many people expected that the long-awaited “women’s vote” tidal wave would finally arrive. Still didn’t really happen.

The women’s movement, meanwhile, had transformed the country. Abigail Adams’s letter finally got the proper response — a flood of legislation guaranteed legal equality in everything from jobs to college sports. It was a whole new world, but with men at the top. In 1964, when Margaret Chase Smith ran for the Republican presidential nomination, much of the country found the idea bizarre. One Los Angeles Times columnist argued that presidential candidates should be 45 to 55 (Smith was 66) and noted that, unfortunately, women that age were going through certain unmentionable changes that made them unreliable.

Yet it made a difference. A young Hillary Rodham opened Life magazine and found Smith’s story. “I had no idea there was such a woman,” Clinton recalled.

Shirley Chisholm, the congresswoman from New York, tried next. If people assumed that black presidents or women presidents would wait until some vague point in the future, Chisholm decided “it was time in 1972 to make that someday come.” She was the first woman to run on the Democratic side, a fine symbol but not a serious contender.

And then there was Hillary Clinton. She was, in many ways, inevitable. If the first women elected to Congress were frequently taking the seats of dead or retired husbands, there she was, a former first lady. If the road to political power for women involved a century of slogging, she was the epitome of the dedicated slogger. She was the secretary of state who logged 956,733 miles and visited 112 countries in four years on the job. And while there had certainly been critical missions, a whole lot of those miles were dedicated to encouraging low-profile strivers. See Clinton chatting about chickens with a Kenyan woman farmer, and you’ve got a historical echo of Eleanor Roosevelt helping West Virginia homesteaders shop for their first refrigerators.

Millions of women who voted on Tuesday could remember a time when their credit cards had to come in their husbands’ or fathers’ names, when a female physician was so rare she would inevitably be referred to as “the woman doctor,” and when the presumption that women needed to be home during the day taking care of the house was so pervasive that a few states still used all-male juries. Many felt that the final, righteous ending of the story would be a woman in the White House.

Now some of them may be worried that they’ll die before a woman is ever elected president. Perhaps Hillary Clinton thinks that, too. But in this whole long, long amazing story, we celebrate the steps. Susan B. Anthony didn’t live to vote, but this year on Election Day, women stood in line to put flowers on her grave.

Sometime soon, there’ll be another woman presidential nominee. Maybe she’ll be in the Clinton tradition, the grand and glorious American worker bees. Maybe she’ll just leap out, like Barack Obama did, a fresh face with a new message. All we can know now is that when we talk about how she got there, we’ll be telling Hillary Clinton’s story.

Blow, Kristof, and Collins

November 10, 2016

In “America Elects a Bigot” Mr. Blow says he does not respect this president-elect, and to count him among the resistance.  Mr. Kristof, in “Gritting Our Teeth and Giving President Trump a Chance,” says we need to be watchdogs, not lap dogs.  Also, Nick, I’d suggest that we dispense with the “honeymoon” period.  Ms. Collins offers a “Ten-Step Program for Adjusting to President-Elect Trump,” with some practical considerations to help cope.  Here’s Mr. Blow:

Donald J. Trump is president-elect of the United States. Now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.

Against all odds and against all forms of the establishment, he prevailed. He won, legitimately, including in many states that were thought to be safely blue. The pundits and the polls were wrong. There was more pent-up hunger for change — and also racial, ethnic and economic angst — than many models considered.

Mr. Trump will become this country’s 45th president. For me, it is a truly shocking fact, a bitter pill to swallow. I remain convinced that this is one of the worst possible people who could be elected president. I remain convinced that Trump has a fundamentally flawed character and is literally dangerous for world stability and injurious to America’s standing in that world.

There is so much that I can’t fully comprehend.

It is hard to know specifically how to position yourself in a country that can elect a man with such staggering ineptitude and open animus. It makes you doubt whatever faith you had in the country itself.

Also, let me be clear: Businessman Donald Trump was a bigot. Candidate Donald Trump was a bigot. Republican nominee Donald Trump was a bigot. And I can only assume that President Donald Trump will be a bigot.

It is absolutely possible that America didn’t elect him in spite of that, but because of it. Consider that for a second. Think about what that means. This is America right now: throwing its lot in with a man who named an alt-right sympathizer as his campaign chief.

How can I make sense of the fact that the president appeared in pornos?

How can I make sense of the fact that the man who will appoint the next attorney general has himself boasted of assaulting women? What will this president’s vaunted “law and order” program for “inner cities” look like in an age where minority communities are already leery of police aggression?

How do I make sense of the fact that a man who attacked a federal judge for his “Mexican heritage” will be the man who will nominate the next Supreme Court justice and scores of federal judges?

I can’t make it make sense because it doesn’t. I must sit with the absurdity of it.

I must settle this in myself in this way: I respect the presidency; I do not respect this president-elect. I cannot. Count me among the resistance.

I hope that there are areas where people in Washington can agree to actually advance America’s interests, but I’m doubtful. Trump has made multiple campaign promises, promises he will be obliged to keep, that would specifically do harm.

My thoughts are now with the immigrant families he has threatened to deport and the Muslims he has threatened to bar and the women he has demeaned and those he is accused of assaulting and the disabled whom he apparently has no problem mocking.

My thoughts are with the poor people afflicted by ill health who were finally able to receive medical insurance coverage, sometimes lifesaving coverage, and the fear they must feel now that there is a president committed to repealing and replacing it (with what, I don’t know), and who has a pliable Congress at his disposal.

When I think of all these people and then think of all the people who voted to make this man president — and those who didn’t vote, thereby easing the way for his ascension — I cannot help but feel some measure of anger. I must deal with that anger. I don’t want to wrestle it to the ground; I want to harness it.

I have spent much of my life and definitely much of my time writing this column championing the causes of vulnerable populations. That work only becomes more important now. Trump represents a clear and very present danger, and it is in the face of that danger that courage and truth are made more necessary and more perfect.

I strongly support and defend the peaceful transfer of power in this country and applaud the current administration for doing what is right and normal in America, what every prior departing administration has done: to make sure the transfer of power is as smooth as possible.

We need a Trump presidency to succeed to some de gree — at least to have it do as little harm to the republic as possible — in order for America to remain safe, steady and strong during his tenure.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t believe Trump to be an abomination, but rather that I honor one of the hallmarks of our democracy and that I am an American interested in protecting America.

That said, it is impossible for me to fall in line behind an unrepentant bigot. It will be impossible for me to view this man participating in the pageantry and protocols of the presidency and not be reminded of how he is a demonstrated demagogue who is also a sexist, a racist, a xenophobe and a bully.

That is not a person worthy of applause. That is a person who must be placed under unrelenting pressure. Power must be challenged, constantly. That begins today.

We hope he’ll be watched like a hawk, but there’s no telling what the milquetoasts in Congress on the other side of the aisle will do.  Here’s Mr. Kristof:

Sure, if you’re in the approximately 52 percent majority of voters who supported someone other than Donald Trump, go ahead and mourn. When a former Ku Klux Klan leader like David Duke is giddily celebrating a political triumph for his values, how can we not ache for our own?

Yet, like it or not, we Americans have a new president-elect, and it’s time to buck up. I’ve seen past elections that were regarded as the end of the world — including, in many Democratic circles, the Reagan triumph of 1980 — and the republic survived. This time as well, our institutions are stronger than any one man. We are not Weimar Germany.

It was disgraceful that many Republicans eight years ago tried to make President Obama fail. That’s not the path to emulate. Today, having lost, we owe it to our nation to grit our teeth and give President-elect Trump a chance.

Having said that, Trump has talked about repealing Obamacare, deporting millions of our neighbors, instituting religious tests, overturning President Obama’s actions on climate change and moving the Supreme Court far to the right. How can progressives respond with anything but resistance — or emigration? As it became clear that Trump had been elected, Canada’s website for immigration crashed from too much traffic.

It’s complicated, but let me offer a few reasons to hold off on your visa application:

■ Trump is inexperienced and makes extreme statements, but he’s not ideological. He used to be pro-choice, then suggested that women should be punished for getting an abortion, but neither is a core view — because Trump doesn’t have a core. He is an opportunist. He blustered about building a wall and banning Muslims but won’t do either, because those ideas are unworkable. (The wall could cost $25 billion.)

The area where Trump would be most dangerous is foreign affairs, because there he can act largely at will, unconstrained by law. Yet it is perfectly possible that Trump will appoint as secretary of state an experienced Republican like Richard Haass, with Stephen Hadley as secretary of defense, thus signaling that adults are in charge of foreign policy.

The thought of Trump with the nuclear codes is terrifying, but if he was to give a crazy order, no one knows if aides would circumvent it. In 1974, when President Richard Nixon was drinking heavily during the Watergate crisis, his defense secretary, James Schlesinger, ordered the military not to obey any presidential instruction for a nuclear attack without checking further.

■ Democrats are too quick to caricature Trump supporters as deplorables. Sure, some are racists or misogynists, but many are good people who had voted for Obama in the past. My rural hometown, Yamhill, Ore., is pro-Trump, and I can tell you: The voters there are not all bigoted monsters, but well-meaning people upended by economic changes such as the disappearance of good manufacturing jobs. They feel betrayed by the Democratic and Republican establishments, and finally a candidate spoke to them.

Liberals condemn the stereotyping of Latinos or Muslims but have been quick to stereotype Trump voters.

Look, ordinary Americans have not somehow lurched into bigotry, even if they have backed a man I consider a bigot. A Bloomberg poll found that if Obama had been allowed to seek a third term, he would have defeated Trump in a landslide, 53 percent to 41 percent. And just four years ago, the presidential election was between the African-American son of a single mom and a Mormon.

■ Trump was absolutely right that the economic system is broken for ordinary Americans, especially working-class men. Since 1979, real hourly wages for men have essentially been unchanged for the bottom half of Americans by income.

Today, we’re a country divided not only by ideology but also by identity. Whites voted for Trump by a margin of 21 percentage points; blacks for Clinton by 80 percentage points. If it had been only women voting, Clinton would have won in a landslide. (Thank God for women and people of color!)

Unfortunately, Trump’s proposed policies would exacerbate the inequity that he campaigned on. And normal checks and balances will not apply, for he will be working with a Republican Senate, a Republican House and a majority-Republican Supreme Court.

One crucial check could be the news media — if we are up to it. I’ve been very critical this year of the role that we in the media, especially cable television, played in Trump’s rise. We need to be watchdogs, not lap dogs.

The time for ranting is over, and it’s time to accept the inevitable. Trump has surprised us in many ways this year, and let’s hope and pray that he will stun us once again by repairing the tears he made in our social fabric. Let’s give him a chance — for those are our democratic values.

And if he falls short, let’s hold him accountable — for the sake of those same values.

And now here’s Ms. Collins:

Well, wow. We’ve got a president-elect who a great many Americans regard as the spawn of Satan. A dimwitted, meanspirited spawn embodying the nation’s worst flaws, failings and nightmares.

But on the lighter side …

The question today is how to deal with the reality of Donald Trump, next president of the United States. Remember, we’re doing this for your mental health, not his.

The bottom line is to presume the best while preparing for the worst. “They killed us but they ain’t whooped us yet,” said Tim Kaine, channeling Faulkner in one of the losing team’s biggest applause lines.

Forget about moving abroad. Of course it sounds tempting, but you’d be surprised how many countries are unenthusiastic about acquiring new former-American citizens. The Canadians will just keep telling you about their terrific, sensible, well-adjusted young prime minister. Plus there’s that terrible housing bubble in New Zealand.

Let’s get more practical. Here goes:

A 10-Step Program for Adjusting to President-Elect Donald Trump

1) Start with a night of heavy drinking. Already done that? Good, you’re on your way.

2) Acknowledge that Donald Trump is not crazy. Obviously, he has been known to act crazy in public. But if you met him at a private social occasion you would probably find him to be a fairly pleasant person.

I say that as someone who once got a letter from Trump telling me I had the face of a dog. But the next time I saw him at a lunch meeting he was fine. Told interesting jokes about how much money he got for product placement on his TV show. Obviously, this isn’t the equivalent of “Theodore Roosevelt reincarnated.” But we’re trying to work with what we have here.

3) Trump has the attention span of a gnat, but if he appoints reasonable and intelligent people to his cabinet, the government could run O.K.

It will be easy to tell if this is not going to happen: Attorney General Rudy Giuliani.

4) Ditto with foreign affairs. Trump has seemed pretty hands-off when it comes to international involvement, so perhaps with the right advisers, he might take a moderate approach that would disappoint the Republican hawks.

Tip-off that this one’s a non-starter: Secretary of State Newt Gingrich.

5) If you’re worried about social issues, remember that until fairly recently, Trump was a rather liberal Manhattanite.

But just in case, you might want to write out a large check to Planned Parenthood.

6) When it comes to big domestic policy questions, to Trump they’re just applause lines or bargaining chips. Anything could go either way.

While that’s not necessarily calming, it’s better than assuming he actually believes all the stuff he says. What kind of program could he really, really get his heart and soul behind? The only thing I can imagine is a multitrillion-dollar Donald Trump Historic Biggest Ever Infrastructure and 50-State Golf Course Building Program.

7) About the election results: Don’t let people tell you that the vote proves half the American population is racist. There’s another reasonable explanation for Trump’s victory. In most presidential elections, people decide between change and continuity. Hillary Clinton was running to continue the Obama legacy. After a president serves two terms, Americans generally vote for change, and the other party’s nominee.

Yeah, I know — those people yelling the N-word or “Sieg heil!” at the rallies. But if you dwell on them, you’re not going to want to go out of the house anymore. Think of it as basically a change/no change election. Plus some deplorables rattling around the basket.

8) We ought to give anybody a second chance, even if it’s Donald Trump. “We now are all rooting for his success,” said President Obama. Really, you do not want to be one of those people like, um, Omarosa Manigault, Trump’s director of African-American outreach, who told a reporter on election night that when it came to enemies, “Mr. Trump has a long memory and we’re keeping a list.”

Now that’s the kind of attitude that might come in handy if you’re a repeat contestant on a cheesy reality show like “The Celebrity Apprentice.” But obviously that has nothing to do with being chief executive of the United States.

9) Try to think about some of the other election results on Tuesday that were more positive. Some states passed new gun control initiatives. Others raised the minimum wage, and several legalized recreational marijuana. Which will definitely come in handy over the next few years.

10) At Thanksgiving, if your family keeps trying to trade Trump insults, redirect the conversation to that great Chicago Cubs World Series win.

It may be a hard meal to get through, but remind yourself that a couple of days later, our president-elect is scheduled to take the witness stand in a Trump University fraud trial.

There’s always a silver lining.

Collins, solo

November 5, 2016

You say you have some last-minute questions?  In “Last Gasp Election Briefing” Ms. Collins has some answers for you.  Here she is:

O.K., guys. It’s election time. You probably have a few last-minute questions. Fire away.

I live in Florida and I am so, so, so tired of this! I can’t turn on the TV without looking at a stupid Trump or Clinton ad, and every five minutes there’s somebody at the door or on the phone asking me if I’ve voted. I’ve voted! Why can’t they leave me alone?

— Overwhelmed in Orlando

The rest of the nation appreciates what a burden this is for you swing state voters. Sort of reminds us of a high school cheerleader moaning about how traumatic it is to have to fend off a dozen invitations to the prom.

I live in Massachusetts and I might as well be in Croatia! Nobody ever bothers to run presidential ads here, or campaign here. Nobody writes. Nobody calls. I might as well just stay home and not vote.

— Alienated in Amherst

There are no excuses for not voting. Imagine what would happen if Hillary Clinton won the Electoral College and lost the popular vote. The Republicans in Congress would have to interrupt their impeachment hearings to hold investigations on how the election got stolen.

And really, Massachusetts, nobody likes a sulker.

I live in Ohio and I am so tired of both candidates. Is it O.K. if I write in Tom Hanks for president?

— Cynical in Cincinnati

No! First of all, your write-in wouldn’t even count in Ohio. Second, Tom Hanks is busy. Third, you’re just wasting your vote in an attempt to appear morally superior. Do you actually think it won’t make any difference if the country is run by Donald Trump or not? Give me a break.

I can’t stand to think about Trump-Clinton for another minute. Tell me a story about a fun Senate race.

— Bored in Butte

We’ve enjoyed the fight in Missouri, which has focused a lot on the fact that the incumbent, Roy Blunt, is married to a lobbyist and has three adult children, all of whom are lobbyists. On the plus side, Blunt’s 12-year-old son is not in the business.

In North Carolina, the incumbent senator, Republican Richard Burr, got caught “joking” that he was happy to see Hillary Clinton’s face on the cover of a firearms magazine, but surprised that “it didn’t have a bulls-eye on it.” Burr is an example of an eerie tendency of Republicans to suggest shooting people they don’t like. This week Eric Trump told a radio host that David Duke, the white supremacist, “does deserve a bullet.”

That is not a fun Senate race.

No, but it’s pretty interesting. People didn’t necessarily expect Burr to have trouble, and now he’s definitely flailing. Get out there and vote, North Carolina! You have an exciting nail-biter to decide.

Wait a minute, isn’t North Carolina one of the swing states that are going to decide the presidential election? How come they get to do everything?

— Cranky in Connecticut

We are not going down that road again. It doesn’t matter if you live in a safe state. You have to vote for president because the popular vote counts. It’s true, Connecticut, that your senator, Richard Blumenthal, appears to have a 99 percent chance of being re-elected. But you never can tell. And look, you’ll be in the booth anyway.

Is it only blue states that don’t have any competitive elections? I suspect a plot.

Don’t be ridiculous. You could be in Alabama. Voting there is on the upswing, even though everyone knows Alabama is safe for Trump, and the Senate race pits 30-year incumbent Richard Shelby against a guy who is generally described as “a marijuana legalization activist.”

I like marijuana legalization.

— Stoned in San Diego

And you can vote for it on Tuesday in California and several other states — including Massachusetts. Do you hear that, Massachusetts? No complaining about meaningless elections.

You’re right. I am so embarrassed.

— Activated in Amherst

Well, you should be. Also, Massachusetts has a proposition about charter schools that’s very important. There are a lot of states with big initiatives, on everything from gun control to the minimum wage to tobacco taxes.

Alabama has 14 different propositions to decide. Admittedly, some are pretty technical, but still, everybody gets a say. And if you live in San Francisco, there are 42. Which I admit is overdoing things.

If Donald Trump wins, the country is doomed. If Hillary Clinton wins, the Republicans won’t let her do anything, and the country will still be a mess. I’m moving to New Zealand.

— Suicidal in Seattle

Stop that. Go vote. Assume that your candidate will win and that after the election everybody will try to work together to get things done. We have plenty of time to be depressed after the holidays. Plus, New Zealand has a housing bubble.

Blow, Kristof, and Collins

November 3, 2016

Mr. Blow says “Trump Is an Existential Threat,” and that you can’t say yes to Trump and yes to common decency.  Mr. Kristof has come up with “5 Reasons to Vote for Trump,” saying that for one, he could show us how to use the oldest part of our brains.  Which is JUST what this country needs — more knuckle-walkers using their lizard brain…  Ms. Collins says “Republican Candidates, Admit It’s Hillary You’re Voting For.”  She’s given us our pre-election Senate primer.  Here’s Mr. Blow:

There are only a handful of days until Election Day and an end to this phase of a nation’s — and the world’s — ebb and flow of anxiety. The day after the votes are cast and counted that anxiety will either dissipate or become a fixed feature. Which of these it will be is very much in flux.

While Hillary Clinton still maintains a lead in the polls and a built-in advantage on the electoral map, recent polls suggest that Donald Trump is closing the gap. There are now plausible — however improbable — electoral map routes to victory for him.

I leave it to others to make predictions about how all this will play out, but I feel that I must say again, and until the last minute and with my last breath: America, are you (expletive) kidding?!

I simply cannot wrap my head around how others with level heads and sound minds can even consider Trump for president of this country and leader of the free world. The logic simply escapes me.

I try to view it through the lens of economic anxiety, diminished economic mobility and global pressure. It all seems understandable, but then I’m reminded of Donald Trump, a billionaire whose businesses have on more than one occasion gone bankrupt, who stiffed contractors, who outsources the making of many of his products and who brags about not paying federal income taxes. All of which brings me back to: Are you kidding me?

I try to view it through a purely ideological lens in which people simply tend to vote for the party nominee. It makes sense, but then I’m reminded of Donald Trump, a man who isn’t really an ideologue but a demagogue interested only in self-aggrandizement. And again I return to: You’re kidding, right?

I think of the family values voters on the right with whom I’ve become acquainted over the years. Although I might have vigorously disagreed with their positions and their inherent myopic anachronism, at least I could say that they were as principled in their adherence to their positions as I was in opposition to them. But then, again, I hit Donald Trump, who is dragging traditional conservative paternalism into the muck of perversion, who brags about sexually assaulting women, who makes fun of the disabled, who savors a lust for vengeance, who says he has never needed to seek forgiveness, even from God. Again, are you kidding?

I try to think of it from a strict constitutionalist’s perspective, to understand how strongly they want the vacancy on the Supreme Court to be filled by a constitutional purist. But then I think of Trump, whose Muslim ban would fly in the face of the Constitution, whose threats to the press strike me as constitutionally hostile, whose advancement of torture would seem to me constitutionally questionable (to say nothing of its legality in the face of international norms and treaties). Are you kidding, America?

I try to think of it in terms of weariness with Washington and with D.C. insiders, the Clintons in particular, and dynastic democracy in general. I try to think of the intense Clinton distrust and even hatred that exists in some quarters, sentiments only exacerbated by things like this never-ending email saga. But then I hit Donald Trump, a real estate scion who has been sued nearly 1,500 times and is currently being sued for Trump University deceptions and the rape of a 13-year-old girl. You have got to be kidding.

There is no way to make this make sense. Believe me, I’ve tried.

Donald Trump is a bigot.

Donald Trump is a demagogue.

Donald Trump is a sexist, misogynist, chauvinist pig.

Donald Trump is a bully.

Donald Trump is a cheat.

Donald Trump is a pathological liar.

Donald Trump is a nativist.

Donald Trump’s campaign has proved too attractive to anti-Semites, Nazis and white nationalists, and on some level the campaign seems to be tacitly courting that constituency.

Donald Trump — judging by his own words on that disgusting tape and if you believe the dozen-plus women who have come forward to accuse him of some form of sexual assault or unwanted sexual advance — is an unrepentant predator.

To put it more succinctly, Donald Trump is a lowlife degenerate with the temperament of a 10-year-old and the moral compass of a severely wayward teen.

There is no way to make a vote for him feel like an act of principle or responsibility. You can’t make it right. You can’t say yes to Trump and yes to common decency. Those two things do not together abide.

If you are voting for Trump, you are voting for coarseness, corruption and moral corrosion. Period. And if you are not actively voting against him, you are abetting his attempt to hijack American greatness and sink it with his egotism.

On Election Day, America faces a choice, and it’s not a tough one, but a stark one. It is the difference between tolerance and intolerance. It is the difference between respect and disrespect. It is the difference between a politician with some flaws and a flaw threatening our politics.

Donald Trump is America’s existential threat. On Tuesday, America has an opportunity to defend itself.

Next up we have Mr. Kristof:

1.) Who needs experience to be president? It’s true that Donald Trump would have less public service experience than any president in American history, but knowledge is lame. Maybe the Know-Nothing Party in the 19th century captured this spirit in its name — and Trump is the apotheosis of knowing-nothing. In my journalistic career, I’ve never met a national candidate as ill informed, evasive or puerile as Donald Trump.

Let’s try puerility for a change! What could go wrong?

Oh, nuclear weapons, you say? Well, other countries walk all over us because they trust us to be reasonable. In, say, a trade dispute with Canada, we’d get much better results if Canadians feared that Trump might incinerate Ottawa. And even if something went wrong, so what? There’s lots more of Canada.

Look, nobody messes with Kim Jong-un of North Korea, because he’s a crazy, inexperienced guy with nukes. With Trump, we’d have our own Kim Jong-un!

2.) We’ve accepted that leaders need not be saints, so why not embrace a paragon of fraud? With his experience allegedly cheating consumers at Trump University, maybe we could even fund government by cheating foreign tourists.

Sure, it’s a little awkward that Trump boasts about sexually assaulting women, and has been accused by at least 17 women of groping or other improper behavior — and I know three other women with similar complaints who haven’t dared come forward. At G-8 summit meetings, Trump would have to be seated well away from any female leaders. But he could break the ice with male leaders by dissing Angela Merkel’s behind.

Enough with sanctimony and moralism from the failing news media! Time to shake things up with a sexual predator!

3.) Trump might become the most entertaining president in history. If Clinton is elected, she’ll give earnest, wonkish speeches about the benefits of increasing the child tax credit or raising the minimum wage. Yawn. In contrast, Trump will insult world leaders, barge into Miss Teen U.S.A. changing rooms and castigate the menstrual cycles of female critics. It’ll be the most riveting reality TV ever.

And whatever you think of Trump’s policies, you have to admit, no president would have better hot mike scandals.

So in an age of cord-cutting, when HBO is inaccessible to millions, a Trump presidency would keep us all amused, aghast or at least entertained. Until the nuclear apocalypse, after which we may all be dead anyway.

4.) Diversity is important, and Trump is inclusive — of extremists.

Many Americans troubled by demographic change complain that they have been left disenfranchised. Trump speaks up for such oppressed groups — like white men.

Craven politicians usually stop with supporting the white working class, but Trump goes where others dare not: He has championed those previously left out of politics, like white supremacists. What other candidate would twice retweet a “white genocide” account with the photo of the founder of the American Nazi Party? Trump has boldly empowered even one of the most marginalized constituencies in America today: the Ku Klux Klan, which has a newspaper that this week gave him a warm embrace.

It can be cathartic to express rage, and Trump gives license to make America hate again. He lets Americans put aside Kumbaya political correctness, also known as “mutual respect” or “social fabric,” and instead embrace our inner storm trooper. Finally, a politician brave enough and inclusive enough to reach out to hate groups.

5.) Donald Trump understands that our modern brains hold us back.

Deep in our heads, resting on the spinal cord, is what scientists sometimes call our “reptilian brain.” In evolutionary terms, this is the oldest part of our brains and it governs primal instincts such as hunger, sex and fear; it helps trigger the fight or flight response.

This reptilian brain has been updated with a cerebral cortex and other modern brain structures that are the seat of reason — but Trump is bypassing them. Neuroscientists have noted that he preaches directly to the lizard in our heads.

“We do experience a primitive apprehension welling up from our ‘reptilian brain,’” Steven Pinker, the Harvard psychology professor, tells me, but we still interpret it in light of our belief system. The modern world has developed science, journalism, a judiciary and similar institutions to curb our primal impulses — but Trump blows these off.

Our reptilian brains evolved to be hyper-alert to dangers, which was lifesaving in an age of pterodactyls. Trump activates these vigilant instincts, Pinker says, and channels them into the most primitive interpretive circuits of our cortex, the ones rooted in tribalism. And so he wants us to join him in making scapegoats of Muslims, refugees, Mexican “rapists” and black “thugs.”

This historic election thus presents a choice: To decide how to cast our ballots, do we rely upon our reptilian brains or our human brains? To put it another way: Are we fearful, instinctive reptiles? Or nuanced, reasoning humans?

And last but not least we have Ms. Collins:

Look, you need a rest. Let’s talk about the Senate races.

If Hillary Clinton wins — and if she doesn’t, the Senate will be the least of our problems — Democrats need to pick up four seats to gain control. Otherwise, Clinton will have trouble getting anything through Congress, even her most basic appointees. She’ll be holding cabinet meetings with people from the temp staffing agency.

The single most interesting sidelight in the Senate fights is watching embattled swing state Republicans trying to avoid revealing who they support for president of the United States.

We’re seeing some weird dances. Truly, the mating peacock spider has nothing on some Republicans who are trying to balance their need to appease the base with their deep-down understanding that Donald Trump would be a disaster for the country.

“I don’t think my constituents care that much how one person is going to vote,” said Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania when he was asked the obvious question at a recent debate.

“On Nov. 8, I’ll have a decision,” said Representative Joe Heck of Nevada, who’s running in a tight race for an open Senate seat. Recently, he’s taken to pointing out that we have a secret ballot in this country. That’s certainly true, but our forefathers didn’t invent it to protect members of Congress from revealing what they think of the top of their very own ticket.

Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, another Republican in a difficult re-election fight, says she’s going to write in Mike Pence for president. You have to appreciate her predicament. During one debate, Ayotte made the mistake of saying, in a super-vague way, that Trump might be a good example for American children. (“I think that certainly there are many role models that we have, and I believe he can serve as president.”) She had to issue a retraction.

But this business of making up candidates to vote for is pathetic. Have you ever watched a big TV singing contest? How do you think viewers would react if it got down to a pitched battle between a crazy saxophonist who couldn’t follow the music and a disciplined but slightly boring guitarist — and the celebrity panel announced that the winner was Plácido Domingo?

Really, this is pretty much the same thing. Ohio Gov. John Kasich claims he’s already voted for John McCain. McCain, who has his own re-election race to deal with, said he may write in his old friend Senator Lindsey Graham. This is literally throwing away your vote since neither Arizona nor Ohio counts write-ins for people who haven’t registered as candidates.

Can you see how ridiculous this is? The write-in dodge might be appropriate for 20-year-olds who want to demonstrate their moral superiority to the system. But a career politician holding high office knows perfectly well that unless you vote for one of the two major party candidates, you’re not taking part in the most important decision the American public ever makes.

How could you trust a senator to make a principled stand on the budget if she can’t even bring herself to choose a president?

Thirty-four states have Senate races this year, but most of them involve incumbents so safe they could not be dislodged by a rocket launcher. (A prominent New York City Democrat told me he went to a meeting of party regulars the other night where a number of attendees were surprised to hear that Chuck Schumer was up for re-election.)

On the other hand, virtually everybody seems to agree that one current Republican senator, Mark Kirk of Illinois, is probably doomed, doomed, doomed. Kirk won Barack Obama’s old seat in the big anti-Democratic upheaval of 2010. Since then, he’s made news by referring to his unmarried colleague Lindsey Graham as “a bro with no ho.” Recently, in a debate with his Democratic opponent, Tammy Duckworth, Kirk took the interesting tack of making fun of Duckworth’s heritage.

“I’d forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington,” he sniped. Duckworth’s mother is Thai and her father comes from a family with a military history that goes back to the American Revolution. Have we mentioned she’s an Iraq war veteran who lost both legs in a helicopter crash?

Kirk has been running desperately away from Donald Trump, who he says is “too bigoted and racist.” You would think this is one case where a Republican with little to lose would figure that it’s time to take a stand and admit that although he disagrees with Hillary Clinton on tons of issues, she’s the only presidential candidate who has the capacity to protect the nation’s basic security and safety.

But no. At one point Kirk claimed he was going to vote for former C.I.A. director David Petraeus.

Swing state Republican voters, if you’ve got a hot Senate race involving two unsatisfactory candidates, consider just writing in Thomas Jefferson. He’s not alive, but nobody’s perfect.

Blow and Collins

October 27, 2016

In “Donald Trump’s Lack of Discipline and Discernment” Mr. Blow says according to his own words, he objectifies women, prioritizes fighting and fetishizes adoration.  Ms. Collins, in “The Dark Days of Donald Trump,” tells us how the half-minute candidate takes care of business.  Here’s Mr. Blow:

Yes, we’re still talking about sex. Sigh.

On Tuesday night, during a fiery — and quite frankly, bizarre —interview on Fox News, the Trump supporter, walking contradiction and inflated ego Newt Gingrich yelled at the host, Megyn Kelly, about Trump’s own statements about sexually assaulting women and multiple women’s accusations that he had assaulted them.

When Kelly began a question with the phrase, “If Trump is a sexual predator…,” Newt went nuts, said Trump “is not a sexual predator,” chastised her for “using language that’s inflammatory” and claimed she was “fascinated with sex.”

This was an obscene spectacle, and not only because Gingrich has confessed to cheating on his wife at the same time that he was leading impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice related to having an affair. It was also obscene because of the continued tone deafness and abject ignorance within the Trump campaign and among its allies about the canyon of difference between sex and assault.

Sex, in all its range of expressions, including kissing and intimate touching, is consensual. Any forcible touching of another person’s body is sexual assault.

One should always be wary of people who don’t intuitively recognize that difference.

But this would have been a blip, a curiosity, merely an act in the media circus, if it had simply remained a squabble between television personalities. But, of course, it didn’t. On Wednesday, Donald Trump couldn’t help weighing in, once again turning attention away from issues that could strengthen his struggling campaign and back to his monthslong quarrel with Kelly and his history of issues with women.

At the grand opening of his new Washington, D.C., hotel, Trump complimented Gingrich for his finger-waving tantrum, saying:

“By the way — congratulations, Newt, on last night. That was an amazing interview … we don’t play games, Newt, right? We don’t play games.”

With that statement, Trump elevated and endorsed Gingrich’s behavior and reignited the debate about Trump and his campaign’s dismissal of the very idea of sexual assault. With that statement, every woman and every parent of a daughter and sibling of a sister is forced to bring Trump’s braggadocio about kissing and groping women back to the fore. With that statement, everyone is forced to consider the vindictive side of the man who has — to put it mildly — a spotty track record with women.

Trump, according to his own words, objectifies women, prioritizes fighting and “winning,” and fetishizes adoration.

We’re putting aside for a moment weighty issues like his severely challenged grasp of foreign policy, his reckless comments about nuclear weapons, his blockheaded comments about abortion, his xenophobic comments about Muslims, his ethno-bigoted comments about Mexicans and his condescending comments about the plight of black people in the “inner city.”

Let’s instead focus for the purposes of this discussion on character, or the lack thereof. Let’s focus on what we know about this man from the words that have come out of his own mouth. Let’s focus on the clarity of his darkness, his illusory deceptions, his insatiable avarice and his colossal conceit.

When you view the man with clear eyes, he shrinks and withers.

What is left when the facade is removed is a shallow narcissist who is also a misogynist, bigot, nativist and xenophobe. That keeps coming up, but that’s the root of the thing. We can never tire of saying that because it is in fatigue that hatred and intolerance gain a foothold that can quickly morph into a stranglehold.

Vigilance is not optional; it’s obligatory.

Just this week, The New York Times reported on tapes of Trump recorded by the biographer Michael D’Antonio. To hear the accompanying podcast in which portions of the recordings are played, along with a discussion with D’Antonio, is to descend into the mind of an egomaniacal fame addict who is painfully un-self-aware even as he boasts of his own personal achievements.

In part one of the podcast, D’Antonio makes this startling assertion:

“I think he doesn’t want to be understood because that would make him vulnerable, but I also think that he doesn’t even know himself well enough to share what he considers to be genuine. His genuine reality is the most superficial one that you can imagine.”

But, in part two of the podcast, D’Antonio delivers a devastating assessment of the man he interviewed, recorded and captured in biography:

“Donald Trump is a bottomless pit of need, and the presidency was the only object big enough that he could imagine seizing to fill up that hole.”

Mr. D’Antonio continued: “It’s not going to be enough, were he to win.”

Yes, this is one man’s assessment, but it feels to me like an astute one, and a fundamentally frightening one.

And this brings us back to his inability to resist patting Gingrich on the back for his verbal tirade against Kelly. Trump lacks not only self-awareness, but also self-control. He could have let that television exchange pass without comment, and he should have, but he didn’t.

Everything in him is so caught up with the idea of who he’s fighting with that he doesn’t seem to have a principled grasp on what he is fighting for. That’s not someone who should be a great nation’s president; that’s someone who would benefit from being a great therapist’s patient.

And now here’s Ms. Collins:

Do you think Donald Trump has given up?

It was a little strange to see him campaigning Wednesday in that critical swing state of … Washington, D.C.

“He’s coming to open a hotel that’s under budget and ahead of schedule,” campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, insisting it was all a part of the presidential sales pitch.

Blitzer noted mildly that the hotel has actually been open for some time.

“This is the grand official opening,” Conway insisted.

Aren’t you beginning to feel a little sympathy for Kellyanne Conway? Until recently she was just that terrible Trump talking head, but now she seems like a woman laboring valiantly under an impossible burden.

“Saturday Night Live” recently did a parody of her day off, in which Kellyanne eagerly tried to do yoga or cook dinner, but kept getting dragged back to CNN to recalibrate some new awful tweet from her candidate. (“Of course Mr. Trump thinks that Mexicans can read, and actually what he wants them to read the most is Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 missing emails.”)

Conway herself once admitted that the campaign was behind, but then had to spend days trying to pedal back from the obvious. In — yes! — another CNN interview, she said that she had reprimanded Trump for sounding as if he thought they were going to lose. And that Trump responded: “O.K., honey, then we’ll win.” That was probably her best moment of the day, and it was an “O.K., honey.”

Trump is doing more last-lap rallies than Clinton. He definitely wins the stamina competition, as long as the task at hand does not involve having to listen to anyone else, or concentrate for more than about 30 seconds.

Still, his schedule does seem to have more and more to do with the businesses he’d have to resuscitate as a private citizen after Nov. 8. On Tuesday, he dragged reporters off to admire one of his golf courses in Florida and listen to the workers tell their boss how much they loved him.

“All of my employees are having a tremendous problem with Obamacare,” Trump ad-libbed.

Well, Obamacare was the issue of the day. Except the workers in question had employer-covered health plans. Whoops. Somebody must have violated the 30-second rule on the flight in.

It’s still possible to get a drooping candidate exercised, as long as you stick to the personal. Witness Joe Biden’s recent comment that he’d like to take Trump “behind the gym if I were in high school.”

“Did you see where Biden wants to take me to the back of the barn?” Trump demanded, starting off with his signature inability to get any fact right, including the proposed location of the fight. “Me! He wants it, I’d love that! I’d love that! Mr. Tough Guy. You know, he’s Mr. Tough Guy. You know when he’s Mr. Tough Guy? When he’s standing behind a microphone by himself!”

O.K., not the man you want negotiating an arms reduction treaty.

Do you think Clinton thinks she’s a shoo-in? Publicly, she’s not talking that way. And there’s no reason to get overconfident. Florida seems to be tightening. There’s no telling what might happen, given the fact that we live in a country where Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for president.

But you’d definitely rather be the campaign with Barack and Michelle Obama rallying the troops than the one that has to rely on Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich. The men who give a whole new frightening image of the Three Amigos.

Of the trio, Newt is clearly the winner. Having come into the campaign as political wreckage, he’s the only one who doesn’t cause people to shake their heads and say, “My God, what happened to him?

This week Newt was in the news once again when he got into a vigorous tussle with Megyn Kelly on Fox, about whether the media was devoting too much time to the Trump groping issue. Gingrich accused Kelly of being “fascinated with sex, and you don’t care about public policy.”

At the end Kelly suggested Gingrich “take your anger issues and spend some time working on them.” And the whole world cheered.

However, Newt did have a point. Speaking on behalf of the nation as a whole, I would say that yes, we are sort of fascinated with sex. Normally at this point in a presidential campaign we would also be spending a lot of time on policy. However, when one of the candidates has that 30-second problem, it’s hard to figure out what his side of the argument is.

The only issue we can really grapple with is whether a President Donald Trump might get peeved one day and drop a nuke on one of our trading partners.

If you have to ask the question, you’ve already got the answer.

On Wednesday, Trump congratulated Gingrich on his “amazing” performance. This was during the new, official ribbon-cutting at his D.C. hotel. Which he was doing not to prop up his flagging brand, but just to remind people that he will run the country like his businesses. With lots of tax deductions and Chinese steel.