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After a week in which multiple women accused Donald Trump of sexual assault, Trump and GOP bigwigs in Washington engaged in outright conflict, and the Republican nominee continued to talk about a “rigged” election, we convened the politics team for an emergency all-hands-on-deck podcast.
We’ll be back with a regularly scheduled show on Monday, and don’t forget about our live show in New York City on Oct. 24. Tickets are still available here.
Below is a partial transcript. It has been lightly edited for clarity.
Clare Malone: It was striking that there were so many stories [this week], though perhaps not surprising for 2016. As far as processing the stories goes, let me lay out a couple of numbers. A Morning Consult poll says that 74 percent of Republicans want party officials to continue to support their nominees. I got some SurveyMonkey data last night: 81 percent of Republican women and 84 percent of Republican men are still supporting Donald Trump. And that’s despite a lot of hand-wringing in the leadership of GOP.
I think that gets to something really interesting about not just the Republican Party but our society. I think it should be a jolt to American men, to be perfectly frank. There’s a thing going around on Twitter — #NotAllMen — and that’s fair. But a lot of Republican women that I’ve talked to and women being surrogates for Trump on TV say things like “I do believe that men talk about women in different ways privately that they would never talk publicly.” Women believe enough that this is within the realm of normal language, that this is not a disqualifying thing.
And I think that says something pretty bad about our society, and not just Republican women. When it comes down to it, if you’re a Republican woman supporting Trump you’re supporting him because ultimately you may have misgivings about him but you support your team. But the fact that this isn’t a disqualifying factor in our society is something that requires quite a bit of introspection.
Farai Chideya: I definitely think there’s two separate issues here. One is this national debate that’s emerged about this behavior. And the other is about Donald Trump as an ecosystem. He’s not really a candidate anymore, he’s an ecosystem with advisors, supporters, detractors…
But I would like to talk more… about the overall issue of assault — 23 percent of women have been touched sexually, in street harassment incidents and other incidents… This is just not that weird.
Jody Avirgan: Does this week help advance our conversation about that issue? Putting the election aside.
Chideya: I hope so. It’s really up to us.
Nate Silver: One theme of this election in general is that it might advance a lot of conversations but it also proves how far society has to go. And that’s putting it politely. I’m not sure what words to use, but there’s something profoundly evil about the Trump campaign at this point, and the people he attracts to it. And I think that’s the right word to use.
Farai Chideya: I disagree. I think that the concept of “inhuman” is one of the worst words in the world. Because everything humans do from genocide to altruism is human. And this is human behavior. To me the more that we can face that the better.
Nate Silver: I’m not saying it’s inhuman. I’m saying human beings have good and evil sides to them, and this is a guy who brings out the absolute worst in people.
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The FiveThirtyEight Elections podcast publishes Monday evenings, with occasional special episodes throughout the week. Help new listeners discover the show by leaving us a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. Have a comment, question or suggestion for “good polling vs. bad polling”? Get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments.