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Globe and Mail columnist Elizabeth Renzetti.

Globe and Mail columnist Elizabeth Renzetti.

Elizabeth Renzetti

Trump may fade away, but his vile talk will linger Add to ...

At this point, I’m not worried about what will become of Donald Trump on Nov. 9. The morning after the election, he’ll still have his maybe-billions, or at least enough to keep him in Trump steaks and life-sized portraits of himself. He and Melania can sit around découpaging every surface of Trump Tower with 18-karat gold leaf.

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If there is a Creator, and she is wise and just, then the polls will hold true and Mr. Trump will not be the 45th president of the United States. He will lose to a girl, and that will be a sicker burn than all the tanning beds of Manhattan wired together could provide.

No, I’m worried about everyone else he has infected with his misogyny and racism. Mr. Trump is merely the Typhoid Mary in this sad scenario; we won’t know for years how far the illness has spread among his millions of followers.

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I’m worried about the fellow who stood at Mr. Trump’s rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., on Monday, wearing a shirt that said – well, I can’t quote it verbatim, because this newspaper has rules governing offensive language. The T-shirt called Hillary Clinton the c-word – the most reprehensible insult you can aim at a woman. That’s not a word that I presume the man would have spoken in his office, or his church, or at his dinner table about women he knew, but was perfectly fine when associated with Ms. Clinton. Did the man get dressed in the dark? Did he find this T-shirt in a charity bin somewhere? No, he bought it (or worse, made it) and wore it because it reflects a particular sentiment found at the dark, tarry bottom of the Trump barrel.

But he’s just one guy, right? Well, I also worry about all the people who have bought “Trump that bitch” T-shirts and “Life’s a bitch, don’t vote for one” buttons at campaign stops. I worry about the people who chant, “Lock her up,” and worse, at rallies. Mr. Trump, a wind-blown door on its last hinge, bolstered his audience’s blood lust at his Pennsylvania rally: “That’s right,” he said. “Lock her up.”

I worry about the 8 per cent of poll respondents who said the Republican nominee’s notorious “grab them by the pussy” video made them think better of him, not worse. You’re thinking, 8 per cent! That’s not many. It is, in a country of hundreds of millions. It is, in the wrong circumstance. It’s one person on a jury. I should note that great numbers of men have denounced Mr. Trump’s sexism, and not all his supporters share his grotesque vision, but enough of them do to keep the rest of us up at night.

There are the people who whooped lustily at Sunday night’s debate when Mr. Trump threatened to throw Ms. Clinton in jail if he became president. I worry about them because they might not actually understand the laws or constitution of their country, and they’ll have to cram if they want to graduate high school.

And I worry about political violence in a country with a history of violence, when Republican lawmaker Michael Folk says Ms. Clinton should be “hung on the Mall” or when Trump adviser Al Baldasaro goes a bit further: “She should be shot in a firing squad for treason.” This is not the fringe; it’s the centre.

In particular, perhaps, I worry about the 40 per cent of Trump supporters in swing-state Ohio who said in a recent poll that the country is better off with a male president than a female one. Not in this election, not because Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, but in general and forever. The company that conducted the research, Public Policy Polling, analyzed this result in a wonderfully dry sentence: “One under-covered reason for the struggle Hillary Clinton has had over the course of this campaign might be sexism.” You think?

In the end – we can only hope this is the beginning of the end – there’s no need to worry about Donald Trump. He’ll return to his cave to sit on his pile of gold, while the monster he has unleashed is loose on the streets outside.

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Follow on Twitter: @lizrenzetti

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