Columns, Opinion

Lessons from the Left: Perceptions of Stormy Daniels

You might think all of the emerging details about Trump and pornographic actress Stormy Daniels are trivial. You even might think, as many do, that we ought to focus on more important political issues — trade, North Korean nuclear talks, gun safety and so on — and you might be right. The American media gravitates toward stories about sex, corruption, violence and emotion — often at the expense of more pressing political concerns.

Nevertheless, the way Americans and our media treat women like Daniels and McDougal is shameful. We constantly devalue Daniels’ legitimacy as a credible woman. We belittle her profession. We sweep her aside. The narrative goes like this: If we want to be serious about Trump and politics, we can’t get sucked up into the porn star’s story. It’s salacious. It’s ugly. It doesn’t matter.

That’s fine, but we should recognize that our opinion of the scandal is closely bound up with how we think about women like Daniels. In many cases, we think what they do is laughable, silly, stupid, totally whacked out and so everything they say probably is too. They have absolutely no place in American political spaces in that sense, no right to interject themselves into the debate. When they do, it’s just to cause attention, sell their films or prompt their brand. No one knew who Daniels was before, but they do now. That was her goal, right? Not necessarily.

Trump has an extensive record of belittling, attacking and devaluing the women that accuse him of sexually inappropriate behavior. In most cases, those threats are well-financed, well-supported and well-executed. According to Daniels, we know that a man threatened her in a parking lot not to expose Trump. We know that Michael Cohen, Trump’s longterm lawyer, paid her an exorbitant amount of money to keep her mouth shut. We know that The National Enquirer and Trump are closely linked — the former having bought and killed stories about the latter.

Obviously going up against the leviathan that is the Trump brand is dangerous, no matter who you are. Women hardly ever come out on top. And yet, women like Daniels, Karen McDougal, Jessica Leeds, Kristen Anderson and others have tried. All of those women are laudable in their own way.

There’s also the issue of consent that’s doing some important framing of the issue. Unlike other women, Daniels consented to Trump’s advances. That is, she willingly slept with him. Now, that doesn’t mean she wasn’t wronged after the fact. She was relentlessly silenced, pursued, threatened and paid off. Besides, there are a great number of crimes that could’ve happened in the wake of silencing Daniels — campaign finance violations, threats, money laundering and so on. There’s such a strong possibility of wrongdoing that the FBI had to raid Cohen’s house.

No, Daniels isn’t throwing her hat into the ring because she will benefit from doing so. But that’s the story that’s getting pushed.

This isn’t confined to Fox News either. Plenty of pundits on liberal shows like MSNBC have dismissed Daniels on the basis that what she said isn’t particularly relevant; that stories about the president and a porn star shouldn’t matter as much as they do to the American media machine. Bernie Sanders is culpable here too, demanding that CNN move on from talking about the whole thing, and I’ll admit there have been times I made a similar leap.

But you can believe that certain issues take precedent without basing your logic on Daniels’ identity as a porn actress (which she doesn’t shy away from). Her lifestyle choice shouldn’t make her words any less weighty than if they were coming from an “ordinary” woman. She has every right to come forward and to be taken seriously. Like any woman willing to take on Trump, she deserves some credit.






2 Comments

  1. Lessons from the Left?

    Honestly? That’s what you call this drivel? Seriously?

    BU, you’re SO MUCH BETTER THAN THIS!

    Go ahead and level whatever makes you happy about Donald Trump … he paid a prostitute – yup, that’s what you’d call a woman who has consensual sex and then accepts payment. She, along with the others, have never asserted that they were threatened by an old guy looking for some nookie while carrying a fat wallet … they serviced him, he paid them off, they signed non disclosure agreements, and now want to violate the terms of the agreements cause these whores think they deserve more … whatever.

    Now, if you’re telling the Lesson from the Left, you can’t avoid The Big Dog, Bubba, Slick Willie … yeah, he’s a guy who did it right. Ya see, he generally only preyed upon women who worked for him … where he’d have some measure of control over their ability to say anything afterwards – cause why pay ‘em if ya can screw ‘em over twice! So, Slick Willie RAPED Juanita Broderick – a name that didn’t appear in your piece as someone to be believed, and after biting her lip and leaving her bleeding suggested she should get some ice on it cause it was swelling. Juanita’s RAPE claims went nowhere with HRC leading the ‘bimbo eruption squad’ … poor Paula Jones only got satisfaction after suing the Big Dog and getting a settlement for $800k as he had her served up in his hotel room, dropped his pants and demanded a little nooner – classy guy … somehow you skipped over Gennifer Flowers who he had a 15 year relationship with … Markie Post, the actress from Night Court … Elizabeth Hurley, a Vice President’s daughter, and so many others … and who could forget Ms Blue Dress herself – Monica Lewinsky. The Lesson from the Left there was to DEMOLISH the poor 20yr old as an infatuated nymph who serviced the president WHILE IN THE OVAL OFFICE (and don’t even read the cigar story, cause that’s just gross).

    And as long as you’re studying from the Left … read about Damon Williams. He’s the son of a black female prostitute from Arkansas who Bubba used to often see. He looks EXACTLY like Billie Boy and identifies Bubba as his Daddy (something Bubba hasn’t even responded to, and there are no media trucks in front of his house seeking comment either even though this fine young guy just wants an answer as to paternity) … but the Lesson from the Left is to DENY, DENY, DENY – and maybe it’ll go away – especially with in Democratic friendly media.

    So, chill on morality lessons from the Left … cause it’s at least as bankrupt as the Right if not far more.

    Again, BU, YOU’RE BETTER THAN THIS … shut this stupid column off as it’s basically useless.