“Schlonged.” That is what Donald Trump said early last week, referring to President Obama’s victory over Hillary Clinton, the former senator and secretary of state, in the long battle for the 2008 presidential nomination. Appearing at a rally in Michigan, Donald Trump rallied his crowd by saying this: “She was favored to win, and she got schlonged.”
For those whose family newspapers don’t carry these words, or those who have, for good reason, never heard them before, the translation is exactly what you think it is. For family audiences, this means that she was the object of a sexual act by a man.
Being a man who is more comfortable with toilet talk than diplomacy, Trump also indulged in bathroom humor at the expense of the woman who is likely to be the next president of the United States. Referring to the time it took her to go to the ladies’ room and back during a televised debate, Donald Trump said this: “Wasn’t that a weird deal?” The ladies’ room was farther away. It takes longer for a woman to go to the bathroom. This is news to a man who is pushing 70 and on his third wife? Apparently so.
“I know where she went. It’s disgusting, I don’t want to talk about it.”
Call me a prude, or a traditionalist, or — hold on — conservative, but this man has no respect for the office he is seeking; the people he is running against; and at least half the population.
To be clear: This was not a “hot mic” situation where a tired candidate’s private words were captured. Trump meant to say these things in front of an audience. This is who he is.
I understand that people are sick and tired of “political speak” — of the nonstop repetition of talking points that have been so vetted as to not only lose their edge but also, in many cases, lose any semblance of meaning. When he jumped in the race, Donald Trump provided many Americans with a voice that was unafraid to say it like it is.
But there is a difference between saying it like it is and descending to the level of prepubescent boys. This is not a grammar school election. The winner will be in charge of more than school dances and refreshments.
And sadly, Donald Trump is a serious candidate for that office.
I say this all with gravity, even though I roared with laughter as the two Hillarys on “Saturday Night Live” (the 2008 Hillary and the 2016 version) embraced when the present-day Hillary told the 2008 one that she was running against Donald Trump. “We’re going to be president!” the 2008 Hillary said.
And she probably is. If the “grown-ups” can’t convince the ground troops to reject Trump (and so far, they haven’t made a bit of progress) and Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz both stay in the race long enough, then Trump could, with his commanding near 40 percent, roll to an impressive string of victories. This would make it difficult for the supposed wise men (in truth, a collection of politicians and billionaires with more influence than they deserve) to deny him (and his supporters) the nomination in favor of one of the candidates he consistently defeated.
And that’s why the Hillarys on “Saturday Night Live” embraced. What is bad for the Republicans is, electorally speaking, good for the Democrats.
But it’s not good for our democracy, not a bit.
The reason presidents don’t talk like radio shock-jocks is that what they say actually matters: every nuanced word. You don’t shoot from the hip when you are the most powerful person in a dangerous world wracked by ethnic and religious divisions of murderous proportions. Putin’s compliment of Trump ought be taken for what it is: the yearning call of a dog in heat. And if Trump is the one who ends up on the receiving end of this particular “schlonging,” it will be no laughing matter for the rest of us.