…Trump, crucially, isn’t just any libertine. He’s a retro rascal, a throwback to an era and ethic of big suits, paneled boardrooms, thick billfolds and buxom arm candy. In the context of the pansexual, gender-fluid, Molly-popping millennials who make conservatives shudder, he’s a musky whiff of nostalgia, a stubborn ember of patriarchy, a vintage stripe of sybarite. He’s promiscuity steeped in chauvinism and misogyny: more old-fashioned, and more comforting.
Or maybe he’s just definitive proof that moral posturing from a politician whose history sends a different message is the new normal, so familiar at this point that it’s greeted with a knowing shrug.
The politician’s prior conduct is irrelevant if his present vows are in line with his target audience’s demands, and Trump dutifully obliged Republican primary voters with a socially conservative makeover. He was negative on abortion, grudging on gay marriage, gaga for Antonin Scalia. That was reassurance enough for them to focus on the America-first, anti-immigrant, anti-establishment crux of his pitch and core of his appeal.
But he never sought to expunge his sexual exploits. He never will. They’re the heart, soul and loins of his brand.
Frank Bruni, “Sex and the Singular Pol”, The New York Times (8 May 2016), SR3.