This past week, one of our presidential candidates fell ill and took some time to recover, but is so widely considered to have a tenuous relationship with the truth that speculation about how genuine the illness was immediately overshadowed the laundry list of stupid, frightening, and downright weird things done by the other candidate. Hillary Clinton’s illness is bound to become the central issue of the campaign—because clearly there are no actual issues facing our country at the moment—but what of Donald Trump’s many faux pas? With so many skewering Clinton, it’s important that we not lose sight of Trump’s missteps—any of which would have had a candidate in years past plummet Mondale-like into oblivion.
Remember as this list goes on and on and on—and at 15, it’s still being generous—that what Hillary Clinton did was get a perfectly curable sickness and attempt to continue working. She did so because the fight she’s engaged in is one for the most powerful position in the world. She attempted to power through, like one would hope a president would do in a time of crisis.
First, Trump continued his long and skeevy love affair with dictators and strongmen by keeping his nose planted firmly in Vladimir Putin’s rear end both in the American (1) and Russian (2) presses. Next, he came out in public and discussed the contents of classified intelligence briefings former military officials have stated he is unfit to see (3). He then blew the same dog whistle to the extreme right that he used to alert them that if he loses the election may be rigged by saying that the debates would be “unfair” (4) and ridiculously suggesting they have no moderator, presumably because ignoring facts, questions, etiquette, and basic human behavior would be easier that way (5). Then, during a week that ended with the 15th anniversary of 9/11, the Daily News revealed that he had misappropriated 9/11 relief funds for personal use (6), not to mention the fact that on the day of the attacks he bragged that his building was now lower Manhattan’s tallest (7) and later made claims that he had “hundreds” of friends who died that day despite not being able to name a single one (8). Oh, and he claimed to have personally helped clear bodies from Ground Zero, which has unsurprisingly not been proven (9). His primary spokesman made it clear he has no respect for or belief in the Geneva Conventions (10) and Trump himself said all it would take to bring him to all-out war with Iran would be “obscene gestures” from Iranian sailors. The Washington Post revealed that Trump had claimed charitable donations he never made (11), wrote off charitable donations made by others (12), and used $20,000 of money set aside for charitable causes to buy—and this is not some lefty joke—a six-foot portrait of himself (13). His son tweeted a neo-Nazi meme (14), the latest in a long series of startlingly alt-right (read: future Libertarians who haven’t made a trust-fund black friend yet or ever met a Jewish person) shout-outs. Last, but not least, the Washington Post released a poll that revealed 60 percent of Americans think Trump is sexist and racist (15).
In a sane election year, when objectivist fever dreams and the logical input of a 15-year-old boy who’s been kept from his porn stash for a month weren’t yet considered appropriate benchmarks for political discourse, we would never be in this situation. But this, as we are all sadly aware, is not a sane year—it’s 2016.