Commenter SPMoore8 writes:
What made the Alicia Gambit so devastatingly bad is that anyone who heard about it would have assumed that Ms Machado was some humble Mexican lady who was just minding her own business.
Right, my assumption in listening to the debate was that Hillary’s crack campaign staff had caught Trump making fun of a 4’11” illegal alien housekeeper in one of his hotels. But instead she turns out to be a 5’11” Charo knockoff.
Instead, Hillary has experienced a Bimbo Eruption on a scale equal to any that Bill ever had.
Remember: This was the Kill Shot. This was the Ultimate Gotcha. The was supposed to have voided the content of the entire debate: He called a woman fat, and that’s that. I don’t think any of the great satirists in history could have devised a narrative that would encompass what the political and cultural landscape of America has become in the past few years, and in particular, in this election season.
One of the conclusions I’ve come into over the decades is that an awful lot of what is positioned as important ideological idealism is really just careerist self-promoters — Bruce Jenner, Alicia Machado, etc etc — cynically hitching rides on fashionable dumb ideas. (Conversely, Trump is a self-promoter hitching a ride on some ideas that, I hope, are less dumb, but at minimum have certainly been less fashionable.)
And so many of the details always seem to follow the stereotypes. For example, telenovela actresses tend to like rich violent guys, like her boyfriend who shot his brother-in-law at a funeral (while Alicia Machado may, or may not, have driven the getaway car) and the narco cartel sicario who may, or may not, be the father of her child. In contrast, she humiliated fiance Bobby Abreu with a sex tape with some other guy, perhaps because, as far as I know, the Philadelphia Phillies slugger only murdered hanging breaking balls.
Another iSteve concept is the rise of the Conquistador-American as the (white) face of accusations of white racism against Hispanics.
From Alicia Machado’s IMDB bio:
Date of Birth 6 December 1976, Maracay, Venezuela
Birth Name Joseph Alicia Machado Fajardo
Height 5′ 11″ (1.8 m)
Venezuelan-born Alicia Machado is the daughter of a Cuban father and Spanish mother who immigrated to Venezuela during the middle of the 1900s. Her father, a relative of former Cuban dictator Gerardo Machado, fled Cuba and found refuge in Venezuela after the fall of the Machado regime. …
What’s remarkable, though, is how hard it is for Americans these days to see examples of this widespread tendency right before their eyes. Here’s an amazing column in today’s Washington Post from Wednesday morning, 36 hours after the debate, exulting in how the Clinton campaign staff and virtually the entire mainstream media agree that their mutual campaign to promote Alicia Machado’s name is the Smartest.Thing.Ever.
The Daily 202: Trump stumbles into Clinton’s trap by feuding with Latina beauty queen
By James Hohmann September 28 at 9:11 AM
THE BIG IDEA: It might be Hillary Clinton’s most cunning move since the start of the general election. The Democratic nominee set a trap for Donald Trump in the final minutes of the first debate, and he walked right into it.
The GOP nominee’s decision to take the bait and rehash his past attacks of a former Miss Universe for gaining too much weight is now dominating the conversation. And the controversy is helping the Clinton campaign galvanize Latinos and prevent undecided women from moving toward Trump.
Even as Trump proclaimed victory in New York, he allowed during a Fox News interview yesterday that he let himself get a little too irritated “at the end, maybe” when Clinton brought up Alicia Machado. Machado alleges that Trump called her names such as “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping” when she gained weight after winning the Miss Universe crown in 1996.
Trump could have brushed off the question and moved on the next morning, but instead he engaged. “She was the worst we ever had. The worst. The absolute worst. She was impossible,” Trump said of Machado on Fox. “She was the winner, and she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem. We had a real problem.”
— Operatives in Brooklyn had been working with Machado since the summer.
Here’s a vivid Reuters story in English from 1998 recapping the first two of Machado’s major scandals. But despite months of prepping, Hillary’s crack staff apparently completely missed the many stories about Machado in the Spanish-speaking world.
They had a video featuring her story ready to go. Cosmopolitan had a photo spread of her draped in an American flag – to go with a profile – in the can. Machado had also conducted an interview with The Guardian that was “apparently embargoed for post-debate release,” according to Vox. And the Clinton super PAC Priorities USA turned a digital ad to highlight the insults by early afternoon.
The Clinton press shop then set up a conference call for Machado to respond to what Trump said on “Fox and Friends.” Speaking with reporters, Machado recounted how Trump “always treated me like a lesser thing, like garbage” and that his new words are like “a bad dream.” She said in a mix of Spanish and halting English that she watched the debate with her mother and daughter and cried as Clinton recounted her story, Ed O’Keefe reports.
Campaign calls like these are usually gimmicky ploys that get little attention, but this one played prominently in every news organization’s second-day coverage about the debate. Megyn Kelly, against whom Trump leveled gendered attacks against last year after she moderated a debate, then interviewed Machado in primetime on Fox News last night.
— Opposition researchers also gleefully pushed Trump quotes about her from the 1990s. Here are two examples (more are in the social media speed read):
In 1997, Donald told Howard Stern that Machado was an “eating machine” who “ate a lot of everything.” “You whipped this fat slob into shape,” the radio host told Trump. “I don’t know how you did it. I see all these diet plans, everything else. God bless you.” When asked if Trump had “gotten her down to 118,” he said she is going to be there soon. (Via Buzzfeed)
Around the same time, Trump told Newsweek: “We’ve tried diet, spa, a trainer, incentives. Forget it, the way she’s going, she’d eat the whole gymnasium.”
— “Morning Joe” extensively covered the spat today. Joe Scarborough said “this was all people were talking about” at his daughter’s parents night. Mike Barnicle said when he was picking up a prescription at the Duane Reade drugstore, the woman behind the counter – unprompted – referenced the “Miss Piggy” controversy. “She is furious, behind the counter, she’s furious,” he recalled. “Of all the things he’s done in this campaign, this is the one that could linger,” Mark Halperin chimed him. “The Clinton campaign cannot believe he’s giving them the political opportunity…This is exactly what they would want to happen…They couldn’t script it any better!” Barnicle agreed: “The Miss Housekeeping phrase is just as lethal to Donald Trump as Miss Piggy.” NBC’s “Today” show did their own segment this morning too.
— New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait predicts Trump’s criticism of Machado will have the same staying power as his attacks on Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who spoke at the Democratic National Convention: “What truly made the set piece work was Trump’s response, which Clinton could not have scripted better if she tried. Unlike the previous allegations, he did not deny them, but instead burst out — three times! — ‘Where did you find this?’ I have seen villains in Disney movies presented with damning evidence react this way, but I have never seen an actual human being do it, until now.”
— Importantly, this story has also broken through across non-traditional outlets:
It was the second story on Telemundo’s evening newscast and the third story on Univision’s.
“Donald Trump Continues to Body Shame the Former Miss Universe He Called ‘Miss Piggy’” is the headline on People Magazine’s home page.
“Alicia Machado Opens Up About Trump’s Treatment of Her: ‘He’s Not a Good Person,’” is the headline in The Hollywood Reporter.
The Palm Beach Post, in the heart of a key swing state, has a listicle in today’s edition: “Alicia Machado: 5 things to know about Trump’s latest target.”
— The gender dynamic is perhaps the most dominant theme in the mainstream media’s post-debate commentary:
“Trump’s interruptions of Clinton are familiar to women” is the headline on the front page of the Boston Globe. Their story, about HRC getting interrupted 51 times during the debate, quotes women in a range of professions talking about how they’ve experienced the same thing.
“Last night’s debate, or the mansplaining Olympics” by Alexandra Petri is the most read story on the opinion section of The Post’s web site.
“Although she would never talk about it in the way that Trump discusses the victimization of being audited, Clinton carries the ever-expanding knowledge of what it’s like to be dismissed, disrespected, and treated unfairly,” Jia Tolentino writes in The New Yorker. “This is precisely why she was so calm and steely last night—so Presidential. It’s why she can express genuine solidarity with people like Alicia Machado, people whom Trump can barely see.”
“When I watch, I sometimes feel like Ingrid Bergman — not European and glamorous, but unnerved, as though I’m being gaslit,” said New York Times Magazine staff writer Susan Dominus. “Trump tries to gaslight an entire country when he plays fast and loose with the truth or insists on logic-defying connections — each of which is an apt tactic for someone who often questions the mental health of women who dare to criticize him. If they are women with big careers … they are ‘neurotic.’ …
“The idea that we should trust men who hate us in private to protect us in the public sphere is the ultimate insult to our intelligence,” adds Post blogger Alyssa Rosenberg.
Alicia Machado ✔ @machadooficial
I received my passport ! I’m ready to vote For my country for you @HillaryClinton for my daughter For women workers
8:05 PM – 26 Sep 2016 · Los Angeles, CA, United States
6,479 6,479 Retweets 15,772 15,772 likes
— This feud helps Clinton with two crucial constituencies:
— Galvanizing Latinos: Beauty pageants are as big as the Super Bowl is for us in Latin America, and it was no coincidence that Machado emerged as a surrogate on National Voter Registration Day. The campaign is working to encourage Latinos and other less-engaged groups who dislike Trump to get on the rolls. “This was about consolidation,” Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg told Greg Sargent. “One of the big things (that has been) holding her back was the failure to consolidate Democrats.”
James Downie, who watched a dial group of 100 likely voters during the debate, elaborates: “After the debate, though there was only a small shift in the group toward Clinton, they had a much more favorable view toward her, and a number of voters who had come in as ‘weak’ Clinton supporters left as ‘strong’ Clinton supporters.”
— Expanding the gender gap. …
Now, that’s some fact-finding! No mention of the two accusations of aiding or threatening attempted murder,