By Joan Walsh
TODAY 10:58 AM
As you may know, Donald Trump derided Hillary Clinton all kinds of ways Monday night. He said her mid-debate bathroom break was “too disgusting” to talk about. But this was the flourish:
“Even a race to Obama, she was gonna beat Obama. I don’t know who would be worse, I don’t know, how could it be worse? But she was going to beat—she was favored to win—and she got schlonged, she lost, I mean she lost,” Trump said.
“Schlonged.” By a black man. With that one word, Trump showed he’s mastered the dark art of whipping paranoid white men into a frenzy. Remember earlier this year, when his supporters began calling Republican Trump skeptics “cuckservatives?” They borrowed a term for a porn genre where white men watch their wives be taken by a black man (who knew?), and applied it to non-Trump conservatives who were insufficiently focused on protecting the rights of white Americans. Nice young conservative writers like Matt K. Lewis at the Daily Caller actually had to explain the pervy term for their readers (he’d been on the receiving end). I did so for Salon, never thinking that discussing porn would be part of my job as a political journalist.
And now here we are. Schlonged. Only minutes before the news came out about what Trump said of Clinton and Obama, I’d been reading an article about his friendships with black celebrities, and how hard it is for some of them to like the “new” racist Donald (how they endured his racist birtherism against the president is beyond me). Russell Simmons told an odd story; I quoted it on Twitter.
“He was a good host, that’s for sure,” Simmons told The New York Times. “You’d be in the steam room and he’d come in, fully clothed, and say, ‘You guys O.K. in there?’ Just a nice guy.”
Trump, fully clothed, in a steam room with presumably naked or perhaps towel-clad black men. I thought that was weird.
Then came “schlonged.” It’s all of a piece with Trump’s cruel, towel-snapping approach to campaigning. From labeling Jeb Bush “low energy”—a G-rated way to say he’s running on low testosterone—to giving Senator Lindsey Graham’s phone number to a crowd of Trump backers on national television, Trump has gloried in playing the bully, and his supporters eat it up.
But I don’t see it working against Hillary Clinton. Already, in his very first real jabs at her, he’s gone too far—at least for a general electorate. She’s not a GOP primary opponent; he’ll have to face her (if they both win their primaries) in November 2016, a presidential year when the so-called Obama coalition—young people, African Americans, Latinos, LGBT folks, and single white women—go to the polls. They won’t thrill to his crude insults about schlongs and her icky lady parts.
In fact, that coalition, behind Obama, schlonged John McCain and Mitt Romney. It will schlong the birther-in-chief, who’s now found an innovative way to insult both Obama and Clinton, next year. If Republicans are crude enough to nominate him, that is. I wrote a few weeks ago about Donald Trump’s bottomless bottom. Every time you think he’s gone as low as he can go, he goes further.
Joan Walsh, The Nation’s National Affairs Correspondent, is the author of What’s the Matter With White People? Finding Our Way in the Next America.