During the lewd conversation captured by a microphone Trump was wearing on his lapel, Trump recounts how he tried to "fuck" an unidentified married woman before bragging that he is "automatically attracted to beautiful (women)" and just starts "kissing them." The conversation came just months after Trump married his third and current wife, Melania.
He also said: "When you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything ... Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything."How lovely. But this has stood out in that it has seemed to generate a particularly ferocious condemnation from Trump's fellow Republicans. Paul Ryan, set to campaign side-by-side with Trump for the first time, withdrew his invitation and declared himself "sickened". Reince Priebus was far more blunt than I've ever seen him: "no woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever." Jon Huntsman went from endorsing Trump to demanding that he drop out. Even Trump gave a non-apology-apology of the "I apologize if anyone was offended" variety (Jeb Bush: "no apology can excuse away Donald Trump's reprehensible comments degrading women.").
And while the comments themselves really cannot honestly surprise anyone, the reaction to them is a bit striking. Liberals have certainly noticed, and been quite wry -- "oh, it was okay to call Mexicans rapists, and to suggest banning all Muslims, and to fan a resurgent conservative anti-Semitism -- but this was the step too far?" Indeed, while there have been other moments where Trump has said outrageous things and political commentators have declared him dead, only for him to emerge stronger than before (think the John McCain "captured" comments), this feels different -- he is the Republican standard-bearer, there is no deluding oneself that by condemning Trump one can simply switch support to another conservative.
Honestly, it is hard to explain. And I'd be very curious to hear what someone like Kate Manne -- who has written very incisively on the role of misogyny in this election and in our society -- thinks of this development. Right now -- improbable as it may be -- it looks like Trump's misogyny might have finally closed the door on his candidacy. There's almost -- almost -- a sense in which it is heartening (though I won't pop any champagne until November 9).