Let us all fondly remember when an old fuck once made a quick joke about murder. That'd be in 1984 when, while part of a sound check off air, President Ronald Reagan said, "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you I just signed legislation which outlaws Russia forever. The bombing begins in five minutes." To be as fair as possible to the architect of America's inevitable doom, no one was supposed to hear that beyond some aides and sound techs.
But it was recorded and leaked to the press, and, beyond the political waves it made here, the paranoid, imploding Soviet Union was pretty pissed off. It was used as anti-U.S. propaganda by Pravda because, frankly, joking or not, the President of the United States just fucking said he wanted to kill millions of Russians and he had the power to do so at his whim. There was even a report that the Soviet army was placed on alert for a brief period.
So if we buy one of the many excuses the Donald Trump campaign has given for the Republican presidential nominee saying that gun nuts could assassinate a President Hillary Clinton to stop her from appointing anti-gun judges, that it's a joke, well, shit, that doesn't really help matters. Because, see, the motherfucking president is not a motherfucking entertainer, something that Donald Trump doesn't seem to be able to comprehend. If God decides to have a laugh and give everyone brain damage on election day, a President Trump would almost surely make some remark about, say, bombing Yemen and fucking the corpses with his pal Vladimir, and then he'd say he was joking and we're just too dumb to understand and too politically correct to get its nuance and, hey, fuck you, Muslims if you get upset about.
You know who says stupid, violent, abusive things and then says they're joking? Assholes, that's who.
(And, by the way, if the Clinton remark was a joke, it's a shitty one. Not even remotely funny. Truth be told, Reagan's was kind of funny.)
However, the Trump campaign can't get its story straight. Trump and others blamed the media for taking what he said the wrong way. Hmm. Trump said that Clinton "wants to abolish the Second Amendment," a baldfaced lie that his idiot hordes take as gospel. Then he warned that, as president, already elected, she'd get to appoint judges who would do her evil bidding. However, "if she gets to pick—if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks, although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know." Trump claimed that he clearly meant for them to unify and vote, although its weird that he'd think that only gun lovers would want to vote against Clinton. Others relied on the usual "Trump misspoke because he doesn't speak good."
Fuck that, though. He was talking post-election. He was clearly saying, "You could always just shoot her." And then, one supposes, Tim Kaine. And then, perhaps, the Speaker of the House, if the possible landslide shifts the power in Congress. And on and on until you get someone who will appoint the right judges. Unless Trump is so fucking ignorant of how succession works that he thinks it's like the Miss Universe pageant and the first runner-up gets the crown if the winner has to give it up.
As far as a threat goes, this is no worse, really, than when Clinton herself suggested in 2008 that there was a possibility that candidate Obama might suffer the same fate as Bobby Kennedy. It was a fucking dumb thing to say then, and this is dumb now.
But Clinton's remark was not part of a piece. It was an outlier in the intense rhetoric of a primary campaign. Trump has called Clinton a "monster," a "horrible, horrible human being," and a criminal, if not an outright traitor. Well, shit, if that's who Clinton is, a delusional gun fellater could semi-reasonably argue, then she needs to be stopped. Just like the men who shot cops dead in Dallas and Baton Rouge. The rationale is not that different.
Mostly, though, this is about Republicans who refuse to condemn Trump the man, only the occasional stupid thing he says. Trump has driven the campaign into the mud and is wallowing in it like a pig in shit. Let's be honest, though. Most of what Trump says is basic Republicanism. The other stuff is the sideshow. For many in the GOP, to disavow Trump is to disavow nearly everything they've stood for since Reagan, who really wasn't the shiny immigrant-loving Social Security savior that some on the left want to embrace, just to spite Republicans. The difference is that Reagan could sell hate and violence with charm and eloquence. Trump is merely a devolved, crude rip-off of the master con man.