Follow this logic, veering towards a thought experiment:
- Trump’s wobbly marriage with the Republican Party is descending into a dismal, relationship flop, lurching from frustration and insinuation to overt public insults. Trump’s months-long losing streak –and growing weakness– are decimating his singular, content-free goal: showy PR grand slams that make a president “great.” Really, what country gets great again without a great president?
- Intraparty divisions spread as Trump repeatedly pommels Senate Majority Leader McConnell. That amplified earlier WH mud-slinging against Republican senators from Nevada and Arizona (McCain and Flake), Alaska and Maine. Worsened by the nasty, anti-establishment Bannon wedge, the once-unshakeable rightwing coalition faces tectonic forces– jeopardizing legislative gains for the image-driven, media-addicted Trump.
- GOP leadership not only resists compromise, but courtesies, even discussion with “outside” non-believers. On infrastructure (where Dems want more, not less) and health care (recall endless campaign promises for better, cheaper, wider coverage), Trump could gain showier wins by pushing modest bipartisanship (two GOP senators, Pence and 48 Dems would puts the screws on GOP leaders).
- Since the GOP Congress looks to keep failing on major reforms, making the president look bad, what does Trump in his words “have to lose” by shifting loyalties? Just think how his becoming a Democratic ally would piss off the entire GOP establishment? Trump loves to make, then punish enemies.
- Desperation for glory makes for odd bedfellows. From opening day, the rightwing Trump presidency began its deep and sudden nose dive, committing more unforced errors than a slew of WH newcomers. And if never-ending, mockable amateur shows are not bad enough, now front and center are innumerable campaign contacts with suspect Russians – implying collusion and/or co-ordination.
- In short, Donald the drama queen thrives on dramatic misdirection, of late incentivized to change by so many “disappointing” establishment Republicans (Spicer, Priebus, Flynn, Sessions and Scaramucci). A bold reversal that proposes Democratic alliances would do the trick.
Undeniably, Trump’s only chance to win the White House was to hijack the Republican primary. That raucous, vulgar, unrepeatable circus has now morphed into a contentious, shotgun marriage full of mounting intraparty abuse. Naturally, Trump, the “Very Disappointed,” Aggrieved One, has no choice but to attack top senators as quitters who look like fools. After all, these weaklings betrayed his quest to end Obamacare, thus committing a “disgrace.” Low self-esteem (when hardly winning) can’t stand association with losers.
If only obstinate Republicans bowed to Trump’s commanding genius, countless triumphs would surpass anything the world has ever seen – all monuments to Trump. Instead, never has the surface glory from an electoral upset dissipated more rapidly; not only is the shine off the big apple, Trump fruitiness rots in front of our very eyes. That’s tough stuff for a self-invented action hero disgraced by his own bad party hombres.
After all, this comic book hero – what better model informs this pretend president? – needs to dominate enemies, not get tethered to unworthy dead beats – and the swarm grows as GOP senators rush to defend McConnell. This action figure cares nothing about niceties like ideas, hurt feelings or working together, only the bottom line: daring-do that reverses six months of tainted credibility, transforming him into epic, history-making champion. Of course, Trump could not “have picked a dumber fight” (against McConnell) per WP’s Jennifer Rubin. But that makes it sound like Trump the malignant narcissist makes conscious, calculated choices. This echoes how readily Trump declares bankruptcy, incites litigation (here the court of public opinion) and hunts up new pals or suckers.
Because losing and making excuses are as bad as admitting error or withdrawing stupid lies, doesn’t it make sense for this abused victim to consider options? What other choices are there? In his heart Trump is destined for greatness, missing only the means and methods to echo Muhammad Ali, “I am the greatest.” As there’s nothing Trump won’t do for self-glorification, and no one he won’t crush, no principles or morality stand in the way of party re-alignment. He is not a patient child on a good day.
Rather switch than fight
It’s not as if Trump would have to switch parties – a bridge too far. Or change any of the deep beliefs or hard convictions he doesn’t have. Alignment with Democrats won’t even stop him from continuing to blast the entrenched D.C. swamp when that gets in his way. As these political dynamics won’t change anytime soon, imagine the cosmic shock and awe were he to lean across the aisle. GOP offense is already high, as the Senate Judiciary Committee head made clear: fire Sessions and approval of a new AG will stall. Most Republicans are already fed up with the counterproductive Trump clown show that makes the GOP look bad. Thus the hostilities: Trump thinks the Senate’s can’t-do show makes him look bad.
In the end, locked and loaded on so conspicuously a losing team, the president can successfully trade his diminishing leverage – more sensible than pardoning himself and family for high crimes and misdemeanors. Why not jump the shark and see whether Dems better serve his crusade for personal glory? What actually gets done hardly matters – and sought-after greatness can’t tolerate facing re-election with an empty achievement cupboard. That might cement a weakness/failure legacy the world has never seen before, so to speak.
In any case, a year of do-nothing gridlock could hand Democrats the House. Then, impeachment looming, Trump might take heart in whatever Democratic connections he fostered in the meantime. Nothing like preventive lubrication to keep the wheels of his government going. Trump, if he backed off on Obamacare repeal (why push what can’t be done?), might even amend his know-nothing denial of climate change. Maybe, if push comes to shove, he’d even apologize for ever having been a birther. Don’t say wildly improbable outcomes can never happen. Especially for a deep-down narcissist, desperation for adoration is the mother of invention. And Trump the fabulist knows all about invention.