Last night, I had the delightful privilege of watching Hillary Clinton shoot a fish in a barrel, one that looked remarkably like a coked-out real estate developer and aging game show host named Donald Trump. I was not alone for this festive occasion. I was seated in a pizza parlor in the Gentilly district of New Orleans, surrounded by people who like me, have volunteered for the campaign to elect the first woman president.
We have been making phone calls around here to get out the Democratic vote, and we have found Louisianans surprisingly receptive to our phone calls, given the reputed redness of the state. Most of them seem to have gotten a robo-call from white supremacist David Duke, who is running for senate and who endorses Donald Trump, before we with our real voices and our real diversity call to suggest they come out and volunteer for us. It’s like Mr. Duke rolled out the red carpet for our second call’s arrival. No pollster predicts that Louisiana will turn blue this election, but New Orleans, birthplace of Jazz, has always liked the blues. It is a pocket of organized Democratic Party voters in a sea of otherwise-inclined conservatives. Yet the choice could not be more stark this election, and David Duke has yet to win an office after he served a single term as a state representative. His endorsement makes non-Klannish white Louisianans weigh their voting choices more carefully, and we are glad to give them something to think about.
On my way to this combined Saints Game Tailgate and Orgy of Joy Because a Raging Sexist Pig was About to Get Beat by a Girl, I convinced my Uber driver to register to vote, and because I told him the details of Clinton’s energy policy, a subject close to that man’s heart, he told me he would vote for my girl HRC. He is a laid-off oil industry worker, and the details of Clinton’s plan seemed to spell greater prosperity and greater independence from foreign oil markets to him. He had never voted, he said, but this election seemed really important. I couldn’t agree more.
Watching Hillary with a room full of rowdy and racially diverse Democrats was a pleasure straight out of an episode of The West Wing, if Aaron Sorkin had let Spike Lee direct that episode. The crowd hooted and hollered when Hillary laughed at the lies falling out of the sad old man’s mouth, and when he insulted her personally, we all gasped, and the ladies of color shouted in unison, “Oh, no he didn’t!” But her simple remark, that while he was out on the road bloviating, she had not only prepared for the debate but had prepared to be president of the United States — well, that was worth the price of pizza alone. His return to birtherism and stopping and frisking, perhaps that played well with the withering Fox News audience, but most of America seems to think that his version of Law and Order is not so much lawful as Orwellian-sounding. We laughed as Hillary Clinton laughed, and we hoped that America saw as we saw her competency and his ridiculous ineptness and ill-informed and misinforming bombast.
The men who were with us checked in on the Saints’ game on their phones once in a while, but we were glued to the screen. Neither male nor female was impressed with Donald Trump’s denial of his support for the Gulf War, nor were we convinced that it was Hillary Clinton who had a temperament problem — and what, he’s an incarnation of the Dalai Lama? Please! His entire career has been based on being rash and quick to anger. Nobody bought it.
Trump’s bringing Gennifer Flowers to the debate with him is proof he actually knows nothing about the thinking of women. If he were running against Bill Clinton, this might have been some sort of an effective jab, but he’s running against Clinton’s wronged spouse, who neither orchestrated nor condoned that affair. What women saw in this was an incomprehension of our individual dignity, and he looked like he was just being absurdly bitchy. Also, we might wonder what he would expect — that she would burst into tears? Nah. Our girl Hillary is like all of us who have had to attend a cocktail party where some woman was there who had tried to take our man. He might as well have handed her the election with that single mean-spirited gesture. The sight of an ex-mistress isn’t devastating to a grown-up woman; it makes us taste the copper of blood rage in our mouths. By bringing Flowers to the debate, he guaranteed she would be relentless in her criticism of him.
It was truly a pleasure to watch Ms. Clinton work last night. I got a fan handed to me by a woman running for judge. I got a new lawn sign and a new sticker. The Saints lost. But who dat? Who dat dere gonna smash the glass ceiling? Who dat dere gonna smash the patriarchy? We dat.