Trump Won’t Go Quietly

October 15, 2016, 3:10 PM UTC
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Cincinnati
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., October 13, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTSS6K5
Mike Segar — Reuters

Donald Trump’s shackles were apparently attached to his campaign’s wheels, because they’ve both come off. As the Republican presidential nominee faces a cavalcade of sexual harassment and assault allegations that appear primed to doom his candidacy once and for all, he’s conjuring increasingly baroque conspiracy theories to explain his fate.

The latest, on Friday, has Carlos Slim, the Mexican billionaire who holds the largest stake in the New York Times, orchestrating the paper’s reporting on two of his accusers. That, despite the fact that he isn’t pretending to have any evidence for the claim—and that the majority of the allegations have been reported by other outlets. And he deployed a new line of defense, suggesting at least two of his accusers aren’t physically attractive enough for him to have bothered.

But most disturbingly, Trump is now pushing the argument that the election itself has been fixed. Early Saturday, he tweeted that “this election is being rigged by the media pushing false and unsubstantiated charges, and outright lies, in order to elect Crooked Hillary!”

It’s all part of a globalist conspiracy, Trump said Thursday, alleging the “Clinton machine” is working “in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends and her donors.”

Other Republican leaders are racing to contain the political damage, hoping to limit Trump’s down-ballot drag on Election Day and laying the groundwork for the reclamation project that will follow it. In that spirit, House Speaker Paul Ryan delivered an address Friday aimed at wresting control of the party’s message and direction back from its fading standard-bearer.

Beyond an election that has taken “some dark—sometimes very dark—turns,” Ryan said, “lies a long-running debate between two governing philosophies: One that is in keeping with our nation’s founding principles—like freedom and equality—and another that seeks to replace them.”

He never once mentioned Trump. But as we’re seeing, the GOP nominee has no intention of going quietly. On the contrary, he’s working to destroy public faith in our most sacred democratic norms to salve his personal pique. Republicans won’t be able to wake up Nov. 9 and wave away the memory of his candidacy like some rogue nightmare.

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