Admittedly the inversion of which party belongs to the holier-than-thou elites has come abruptly, but you'd think that with the billions of dollars that the Clinton campaign is spending on expert analysis, they'd be better at reading the direction of the country. Then again, maybe it's their sclerotic bureaucracy that keeps them from adapting in real time.
Whatever the reason, they have convinced themselves that "going nuclear" means bringing up past instances of Trump engaging in guy talk about women. And not in a neutral tone of "the evidence speaks for itself," but the most fiery finger-wagging moralizing that we've seen this side of "Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics".
So Trump issues a brief video apologizing for guy talk, then pivoting to attacking Bill's record of sexual assaults and Hillary's intimidation of the victims afterward, to keep them from ruining their ambitions. BFD.
Hillary surely remembers sitting on the couch with Bill for an hour-long interview about his 12 year-long affair with Gennifer Flowers. That was 60 Minutes, right after the Super Bowl. Far more flagrant of an offense, far more groveling of an apology, and far more intense of a spotlight on them before the entire nation.
And yet Bill went on to win the nomination and then the election. In the voting booth, nobody cared about his problematic past with women -- and they didn't even know about his many sexual assaults either.
Beyond not caring, a large share of voters had become downright disgusted by the hypocritical grandstanding about family values from the Religious Right, after so many televangelist scandals (affairs, prostitutes, etc.).
Now the shoe is on the other foot. Everyone except for Millennials knows about Bill's womanizing past, and Hillary's role in at least enabling him. Soon they will learn about his assaults and her intimidation of the victims. Even without knowing about the really gruesome stuff, though, middle America instinctively distrusts the grandstanding about the proper treatment of women, when it's coming from the Clintons.
Can you imagine if in 1992, the lead prosecutor of Bill's character flaws had been Jimmy "I have sinned" Swaggart? Talk about tone-deaf and clueless.
And they're sick of being lectured about women's issues and family values, when the economy continues to provide lower-paying jobs with less security, and when we're wide open to all sorts of foreign threats that the elites tell us not to worry our little heads about.
A generation later, it's still the economy, stupid. It's not that voters liked Slick Willy for having had affairs -- they were rejecting the incumbent party that had degraded into an out-of-touch elitist group that was more worried over decorum than the American people's fundamental well-being. And it's not that most voters like Teflon Don for having joked around about skirt-chasing. They're sick of the incumbent party being more concerned with how we act in our private lives than with protecting us and providing for us.
The difference this time is that the President-to-be is not a phony politician just trying to get elected in order to enrich themselves, while doing nothing to help the voters who got him there. Trump is rich enough already, not a career politician, and has been sticking his neck out for the major causes like being against NAFTA for decades. Real change is coming this time, and people know it -- making them even less likely to give a shit about what he said about chasing tail in the past.
If the Clinton campaign has proven to be this clueless and hell-bent on driving over the cliff, what does that portend about the future of the party? The Bernie fans are planning on an immediate overhauling in their direction, and away from the colossal failure of the Clintons. But I wouldn't bet on that.
Look at how long it took the Republican party to re-orient after becoming less and less electable from 1992 onward. The re-alignment process seems to be subject to hysteresis.
What we're looking at is a near-term rise of the Republicans in their Progressive Era re-incarnation, replacing the corrupt urban immigrant party that the Democrats were around that time (Tammany Hall). After the Democrats carry out their own purge toward populism over the upcoming decades, it will be their day in the sun, a la the New Deal that followed after the Progressive Era.