Hillary Clinton’s speech in Reno, yesterday, marked a needed turning point in what has been a truly bizarre election. She not only brought Donald Trump’s campaign to task for the hate-filled division it inspires and espouses, but also pointed out just how out of place it is in the political arena. Finally, someone had the gumption to pull back and provide a little meta-analysis to the hot mess that has dominated this election cycle.
Despite Donald Trump’s complaints of media bias, members of the press and political commentators have actually gone quite easy on him. His offensive has provided so many gaffes and shocking moments, that reporters, commentators and fellow politicians have been locked in a continuous reactionary response–essentially allowing one man to turn our election process into a circus, and, in the process, nullify any real progress toward finding legitimate solutions to our economic and social problems.
Earlier this week on the Rachel Maddow show, Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, criticized the proposed content of Clinton’s Reno speech, complaining that she should be speaking on policy, not on Trump. Clinton has spoken on policy, and she will continue to do so, but this speech was absolutely necessary. It was long overdue to talk about the elephant (excuse the pun) in the room. Donald Trump may be the Republican standard-bearer, but that does not mean that we must collectively lower the bar for him. Political commentators spend so much time with Trump surrogates while they flailingly try to explain their candidate, when they should be taking a stand on the obvious throughlines of his campaign. He play-acted his way into the nomination with uninformed, yet authoritarian and divisive rhetoric. His ignorance is tangible everytime he opens his mouth. Most of all, whether it was with intent or stupidity, he has become the Pied Piper of an openly racist fringe element. It is a dangerous scenario, and it is what we need to be talking about before too much damage is done.