1) Traffic at Trump Properties Taking Huge Hit During Campaign (Hotels, Casinos, Golf Courses)
“Since Donald Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015, foot traffic to Trump-branded hotels, casinos and golf courses in the U.S. has been down. Since spring, it’s fallen more. In July, Trump properties’ share of visits fell 14% year over year.”
2) “Insiders to Trump: Drop out”
NH Republican: “I’d rather take our chances with nearly anyone else than continue with this certain loser who will likely cost the Senate and much more.”
3) Trump Won’t Readily Quit (from party pressure)
“He is an egomaniac,” a Colorado Republican said. “There is no chance he would voluntarily exit the race.” . . . “He’s not going anywhere. His ego wouldn’t allow it.”
4) Trump Says Election Rigged
One more Republican chant: “He’ll dominate the news for the next three months, each day more painful than the last, finally lose, say it was rigged and get a new [television] show.”
I presume all these statements to be accurate. Let us add more self-evident truths, the massively tiresome evidence: a) the thin-skinned, defensive Trump almost never apologizes or backs off, even when utterly wrongheaded; b) he resists good advice, over-reacting to every challenge with belligerence; c) he’s better at attention-getting than running a competent national campaign; and d) his absurd rhetoric channels surface impressions, daily polling, and TV imagery, however, distorted or deranged. He is all about posturing, not about depth.
We have also learned there’s no viable way for GOP bigwigs to dump Trump, however, egregious the down-ballot impacts. In the face of all this, here’s a simple, inevitable question: what world-class narcissist wouldn’t seize any prospect rather than an epic, national humiliation? Losing big time defines an unredeemable loser. Further, won’t a crushing public blow impact his brand and future profitability, for him and his dependent family? Will fear of humiliation trump the transient, even adjustable criticism, as with Palin, when tagged an irresponsible quitter? Palin may not be electable after exiting her governorship, but that hasn’t stopped her from making millions afterward, mainly by gulling the same followers. She will retire richer by far than when she lost the VP slot.
The Lesser of Two Egos
So if faced with an unendurable outcome — getting slaughtered in the most public of forums– what are Trump’s options? If he resigns, and defaults to some acceptable Republican who does well, won’t he then finally be lauded for making his first ever sacrifice for the common good? If his replacement does badly, then he booms out, “see, you wanted me out but this substitute was no better,” Or advancing his crazed paranoia, he rages against the results, “see, I told you the election was rigged, in the bag for Hillary, and it didn’t matter who we ran. I left before being a dire victim of entrenched corruption.”
Trump defends every one of his many bankruptcy disasters as prudent, legal, and often still profitable (with suspect claims and little hard data). We know he is willing to take high risks (like pulverize the Republican party, consciously or not). And now, evincing some capability for reason, Trump would accept that this presidential bet just didn’t pay off. Trump in fact nearly brags about how sensible were his bankruptcies, even though most occurred because his business tanked, then banks and mortgage holders decided enough was enough. When his note holders refuse to throw good money after bad, and this dicey developer has no other suckers, he must use his own money (horror of horror!) or opt out. Then he orders his gaggle of attorneys to get him the least unprofitable deal.
I am not predicting Trump will resign. I do not think his presidential run was or is done with the apparent rationality by which he ran most of his businesses. Just last night I heard from a friend who knew a major Trump builder (during the ’90’s), reporting Trump solicited and listened to feedback, thus acting partnerly (and promptly paid invoices). I see no such wisdom when abusing Republicans he rejects, like John McCain, or reminds other fat cats this maverick will never be broken. So, what once was an egocentric and driven, yet sensible real estate developer has morphed into a vain, less rational campaigner whose unforced errors are breaking new ground in the permanent American hall of political shame.
Cutting Losses — and Getting Out Alive
So, if Trump is still getting battered by the end of August (after which replacement is a party nightmare), I won’t be amazed if he pulls a Palin: rushing for the exits. That way he’s only branded a quitter, not a monumental, matchless loser. In Trump’s world, pulling up stakes is always preferable to losing all “your capital,” plus destroying the most valuable asset: your brand. In the world of celebrity/reality TV, will not just having become a wildly, unexpected political “macher” (successful schemer, a public “maker”) win him better gigs?
In this fantasy, deluded world, it makes no difference whether Trump is one of the most famous or infamous yahoos on the planet. It’s pretty much all the same to TV reality-show fanatics mesmerized with anyone who sustains fame over time. Overcoming a near election disaster should serve his then highly-touted come-back triumphant tour. Top con artists have no shame and Trump knows entertainment far better than he will ever understand politics.
Trump will never lack for defensive justifications, whatever he does and whatever happens to him. The good stuff is all his own doing; bad luck or bad karma happens because of immoral and criminal evil-doings by scheming enemies. Playing the victim, for which his expertise far exceeds his political acumen, should win him more air time, even restore his wounded fortunes. In the end, like any insatiable, know-nothing carnival barker, his overriding mantra obeys Oscar Wilde’s quip, “The only thing worse than bad publicity is no publicity.”