David Brooks: It Is Accepted "Fact" That Trump Will Lose; "Inner Bitterness Coming To The Surface In Unattractive Ways"

|

PBS: Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s news, including the third and final presidential debate, Donald Trump's "reckless" questioning of the election's legitimacy, the country’s vast ideological divide, the caustic tone at Thursday night’s Al Smith charity dinner and the candidates’ rhetoric on the campaign trail.

"I thought they were both pretty bad," Brooks said about the Al Smith dinner. "I thought they were both a little too harsh."

"His was worse, but hers wasn’t funny or particularly well-delivered," he also said. "I do think that his attacks, the line that she hates Catholics, is just tone-deaf and it’s just inner bitterness that is coming to the surface in unattractive ways."

Brooks said the argument that all Republicans must vote for Trump because of the future of the Supreme Court is meaningless because the "moral foundation of society" is much more fundamental. According to Brooks, if someone "brutalistic and savage" gets elected as president then it doesn't matter who's on the Supreme Court.

"My critique with conservatives who say, well, I really hate the guy, but I need to vote for him because of the Supreme Court, the problem is that the moral foundation of the society, the way we interact with each other is more fundamental than the Supreme Court," Brooks said.

"And if that gets polluted and that gets destroyed by somebody who’s just brutalistic and savage, then it doesn’t matter who’s on the Supreme Court because we have lost our country," the New York Times columnist said. "And so I think their argument that the Supreme Court is worth it is basically the wrong argument when he’s behaving this way."

Brooks lamented that Clinton doesn't have much of a message, or "core passion" as he said, other than to deny Trump the presidency.

"I hope she finishes with something, because, in the likelihood that she wins, something to coast off of to sort of give herself a sense of priorities for the next few months and then the first 100 days," Brooks said.

From Friday's broadcast of PBS NewsHour:

JUDY WOODRUFF: Where do you see things right now, David?

DAVID BROOKS: Yes, I do think there is an acceptance, I don’t know if in Donald Trump’s brain, but certainly in the Republican Party, about the fact that he’s going to lose, or the likelihood that he’s going to lose.

And the question becomes, how do people react to that? Two weeks ago, I was in Idaho, and I ran into a guy who said, well, obviously Trump is going to win because everybody I know is voting for him. And I tried to persuade — argue with this guy, well, if you look at the polls, he is actually not leading.

And this guy just wouldn’t accept that. That was not part of his lived reality. And you got the sense a guy like that, if Trump does lose, will be very angry and disbelieving and may be sensitive to the idea that the election was rigged.

Yesterday, I was in Mississippi. And there, there was a quietude, a passivity. I don’t know all the stages of grief, but acceptance is one of them. And there was a level of acceptance in a lot of the folks I spoke to there. I suspect that the latter group is the larger part and that, even if he does protest the election in some way, there will be some acceptance that he lost fair and square...

JUDY WOODRUFF: So, David, you’re seeing that out there on the trail, if you will, where you have been traveling around the country.

I want to ask you, though, about Trump’s continued, I don’t know — how do you describe the state he’s in? He goes to the Al Smith Dinner in New York City last night. This gets a lot of coverage today, where he — instead of doing the sort of self-deprecating jokes that people traditionally do, he really continues to go hard after Hillary Clinton.

Does it matter at this point that he’s still angry?

DAVID BROOKS: Well, angry is what he does.

I have to say, I read all the coverage, expecting to be appalled by his speech and cheered by Clinton’s. I thought they were both pretty bad. I thought they were both a little too harsh.

His was worse, but hers wasn’t funny or particularly well-delivered. So, it’s going to be a dreary couple of years of comedy acts, no matter who is elected.

I do think that his attacks, the line that she hates Catholics, is just tone-deaf and it’s just inner bitterness that is coming to the surface in unattractive ways. And I do think, starting with the — not only starting, but continuing with the claim that he won’t accept the — automatically the results of the election does fundamentally undermine the etiquette we have built up in our society.

Our system is not only based on rules, but a series of self-restraints that we won’t be as barbaric as we could be in competing for power because we know if we’re all barbaric as we could be, the whole country and the whole society falls apart.

And my critique with conservatives who say, well, I really hate the guy, but I need to vote for him because of the Supreme Court, the problem is that the moral foundation of the society, the way we interact with each other is more fundamental than the Supreme Court.

And if that gets polluted and that gets destroyed by somebody who’s just brutalistic and savage, then it doesn’t matter who’s on the Supreme Court because we have lost our country. And so I think their argument that the Supreme Court is worth it is basically the wrong argument when he’s behaving this way...

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let’s talk a little bit, Mark and David, about what Hillary Clinton is saying out on the trail.

She isn’t hitting as many campaign stops as he is, but, David, we see today she is talking to voters about — she is saying things like, think about the future of the country. What sort of future do you want, what sort of country do you want? She said at one point, you live your life. I will do the worrying.

Does it sound like she’s already winding this thing down?

DAVID BROOKS: Well, there is a lot of let’s go for the landslide talk out of the Democratic Party, which a normal — the normal rules of campaigning, that’s a no-no.

You want your people to come out. You don’t want them to think, oh, we got this one in the bag. And so they may be trying to run up the score just to renounce the whole idea of the Trump idea. I get that.

But it’s come out in the WikiLeaks. And it’s been evident. And Mark and I have been talking about it at each debate. It’s not clear to people outside the campaign and even, as we learned from WikiLeaks, inside the campaign, what the core passion is.

What are — the core, animating thing that she would go to the mat for? And I still think that’s true. And in her rallies this week, it’s still evident that she doesn’t have a core rally, except for denying Donald Trump — a core passion, except denying Donald Trump the presidency.

I hope she finishes with something, because, in the likelihood that she wins, something to coast off of to sort of give herself a sense of priorities for the next few months and then the first 100 days.

Comment
Show commentsHide Comments

Latest Political Videos

Video Archives