Can we please just fast-for­ward?

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OPINION - Eu­gene Robin­son Colum­nist Eu­gene Robin­son is syn­di­cated by The Wash­ing­ton Post Writ­ers Group.

Make it stop. Won’t some­body, please, make it stop?

I re­al­ize my plea is in vain. We have three more weeks of this ap­palling spec­ta­cle in which a ridicu­lous comic-book vil­lain — a cross be­tween the Joker and the Pen­guin — is try­ing his best to de­stroy Amer­i­can democ­racy. Yes, Don­ald Trump, I’m talk­ing about you.

Three weeks. That’s nor­mally the blink of an eye, but the time be­tween now and Elec­tion Day yawns like an eter­nity. How many new out­rages will test our ca­pac­ity to be out­raged? How many more quis­ling Repub­li­cans will stand be­fore mi­cro­phones and pre­tend their party’s nom­i­nee for pres­i­dent is fit for the of­fice? How many early morn­ing tweet­storms will a cer­tain set of un­usu­ally short fin­gers un­leash upon a weary and anx­ious na­tion?

Look, I hap­pen to be­lieve Hil­lary Clin­ton would be a good pres­i­dent. You may dis­agree, but no one se­ri­ously doubts her abil­ity to do the job. By con­trast, does any­one re­ally be­lieve it would be safe, let alone wise, to put some­one as im­pul­sive and thin­skinned as Trump in com­mand of the most pow­er­ful mil­i­tary ma­chine the world has ever known? The thought would be laugh­able if it were not so fright­en­ing.

So yes, this is a scary elec­tion. And no, it is not safe to take any­thing for granted. The bot­tom should have fallen out from un­der Trump’s poll num­bers long ago, but it hasn’t. For those who see Trump the way I do, it is un­fath­omable that he would have the sup­port of 40 vot­ers, let alone 40 per­cent of the elec­torate.

I un­der­stand be­ing tired of politi­cians and pol­i­tics-as-usual. I un­der­stand frus­tra­tion at Wash­ing­ton’s per­pet­ual grid­lock and sta­sis. I even un­der­stand the ap­peal of a can­di­date who prom­ises to be a wreck­ing ball, de­mol­ish­ing the old sys­tem so we can start over. But Trump is not a rev­o­lu­tion­ary who just hap­pens to be an ego­ma­niac. He is an ego­ma­niac who says what his sup­port­ers want to hear so that they will bathe him in the adu­la­tion he patho­log­i­cally craves. He isn’t do­ing this to make peo­ple’s lives bet­ter. As Lady Gaga sang, he lives for the ap­plause.

He de­cided early on that racism, big­otry and xeno­pho­bia would be ma­jor planks in his plat­form. He rails against los­ing Amer­i­can jobs to China, al­though that’s where his gar­ish Don­ald J. Trump neck­ties are made. He in­vites Rus­sian cy­ber­war­riors to in­ter­fere with our elec­tion process by hack­ing into Clin­ton’s emails. He re­fuses to learn any­thing about do­mes­tic or for­eign pol­icy, of­fer­ing noth­ing but pa­tri­otic slo­gans and some desul­tory “plans” with num­bers that don’t re­motely add up.

I’ll en­joy hav­ing the lux­ury of four years to ex­plore the com­plex so­ci­etal fac­tors that led to the rise and fall of the Trump phe­nom­e­non. But first things first: We have to make sure it falls. Which means we have to make it through the next three weeks.

The pas­sage of days will in­deed be painful. As Clin­ton ex­tends her lead in most of the swing states that will de­cide the elec­tion — and even chal­lenges in re­li­ably red states such as Utah, Ari­zona and Ge­or­gia — Trump be­comes in­creas­ingly un­moored from real­ity. On Mon­day morn­ing, he took to Twit­ter to make such pro­nounce­ments as: “Can’t be­lieve these to­tally phoney [sic] sto­ries, 100% made up by women (many al­ready proven false) and pushed big time by press, have impact!” And: “Of course there is large scale voter fraud hap­pen­ing on and be­fore elec­tion day. Why do Repub­li­can lead­ers deny what is go­ing on? So naive!” And: “Wik­iLeaks proves even the Clin­ton cam­paign knew Crooked mis­han­dled clas­si­fied info, but no one gets charged? RIGGED!”

He was re­fer­ring to the highly cred­i­ble claims by numer­ous women that Trump groped or kissed them against their will, which he bragged about do­ing on the now-fa­mous “Ac­cess Hol­ly­wood” tape; his own un­sub­stan­ti­ated, in­deed wholly imag­i­nary, claims of voter fraud; and his un­re­quited wish for some kind of smok­ing gun in the hacked emails re­leased by Wik­iLeaks. Trump isn’t cam­paign­ing, he’s flail­ing.

Three more weeks. We have an­other de­bate to sur­vive, though I can’t imag­ine at this point why ei­ther can­di­date would look for­ward to the experience. Trump lost the first two en­coun­ters, ac­cord­ing to ev­ery sci­en­tific poll, which means he prob­a­bly will lose the third as well. And Clin­ton could have a more mean­ing­ful pol­icy dis­cus­sion with an Ir­ish set­ter.

We are a re­silient na­tion. We have sur­vived worse, though per­haps not weirder. Soon we get to tell an un­funny clown what we think of his act.

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