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Is Trump’s campaign over?

It’s fitting that the election of Hillary Clinton as the first female president might have been sealed by Donald Trump’s treatment of women as subordinate, interchangeable, pliable playthings.

Trump — a compulsively public politician who has mouthed some of the most hilarious (intentionally or otherwise), offensive, fact-allergic and misogynistic statements by anyone competing in the public arena — might be ultimately undone by a private admission about a woman he wanted to have sex with.

There has never been a major party nominee like Trump, and there has never been anything like the release of Trump speaking about women in the most vulgar and demeaning terms in a 2005 hot mic recording — including the admissions that he made an apparently unwanted pass on a married woman and groped women he courted whether they liked it or not.

Americans don’t trust politicians (it’s one of the biggest reasons for Trump’s improbable rise), but they trust their eyes and ears. And the recording of Trump talking with radio and TV host Billy Bush makes a starker case that he’s unsuited to occupy the nation’s highest office — rendering Mitt Romney’s infamous leaked “47 percent” tape seem like a high-minded Great Courses lecture.

That disclosure in September 2012, polls showed, had a significant impact on the race — but this exponentially uglier exchange has the potential to plunge Trump, already reeling in the polls, into a final death spiral by alienating his female supporters, undecided voters and hold-your-nose-and-vote Trump mainstream conservatives, Democratic and Republican operatives told POLITICO.

 

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