Best of all, he has no way out, trapped by his own crackbrained snares
There appear only two career options for the diminished, dispirited Donald:
1) Doubling down on failed, self-defeating rants that offend reality, translating all criticism into dares he cannot refuse. Shrunken crowds, mass death, economy on the ropes, failed culture wars be damned. Stay the course, grit your teeth, PR genius uber alles. Or
2) a smarter (as yet non-existent) Trumpster who pivots, sanitizes rhetoric, listens to advisers and adjusts before his minority fan base plunges well below 40%. Bets, anyone? Who in their right (or left) mind expects this malignant narcissist to forego his fixated stripes? Apologies to skunks. Ordinary narcissists defy change on a good day – so only a brain transplant stops Trump from further melt-down, grinding between infamy and oblivion.
True, enough predictable new body blows could trigger a cowardly exit; he could be forced out, but don’t bet the farm on either, yet. You can’t “bankruptcy” yourself out of the White House. Beholden party lackeys abound. Leaving the protective WH invites endless litigation, conviction and penalties. Trump is stuck, however, mired in depression and mental disintegration. He wasn’t that agile from the get-go.
Ironies abound. Despite epic leadership opportunities – never squander one, let alone three crises — Trump has blown the gamut, stumbling on medical, public health, economic, political and racial episodes. His July 4 rant, unhinged even for Trump, proves the Big Lie works until it doesn’t, then blows up. The arrogant one who “alone could fix everything” can’t avoid the spotlight on how much he alone is destroying. Some re-election resume. Ex-Trumpers are jumping ship, appalled now what a deviant they elected. Really, after only three years?
When negligent big lies amplify national health and safety chaos, that defines a public menace. When any leader lets a serious disease explode into a pandemic earthquake, that’s political malpractice. But when denial, stupidity and defiance of solutions, plus recklessly rushing recovery, turn a pandemic into a depression for tens of millions, that presages the free fall underway.
And there’s more, the coup de grace beyond Trump’s doing: police brutality. But any authoritarian who can’t obscure his own crude bigotry makes himself complicit in overt racial outrages, and that plus the rest defines political nightmare. Every blunder here is unforced – blown opportunities that confirm Trump’s unfit illegitimacy, if not diminished capacity.
Despite unspeakable racism way past its pull date, what Americans can’t tolerate is having our most conspicuous historic hate crime rubbed in our faces. Practicing racism pales vs. getting pommeled by presidential tirades more aligned with rebel Confederates and militant southern crackers. Well-meaning citizens who condone a failed melting pot will resent being slammed, in crude white power verbiage, with how truly “unexceptional” and hypocritical is America.
Thus does a racist president alone gore himself on the horns of our worst contradiction: does this nation own our founding ideals or does bullshit rule? And Trump has cornered himself to a tee. If Trump shifts one iota from his bigoted Crusade of Epic Grievance, he alienates cheering yahoos who demand their every grievance be constantly voiced. If Trump backslides on masks, the pandemic “hoax” about to end, or Confederate statues, he betrays his prior demagoguery. Trump dies without mock enemies, and hypocrisy in bed with desperation reeks from vicious slanders against out of power Democrats and protestors as the vanguard of “left-wing cultural revolution that aims to rewrite U.S. history and erase its heritage” (Rushmore rant).
If grievance, racism, immigration fall flat, what remains in his fear-mongering war chest? Trump shot his armageddon wad and polling shows him bleeding from all pores, from seniors to women to younger voters. He can’t resurrect old scams, like outsourcing, without offending billionaire buddies, nor blame the invisible “deep state” for inciting pandemic, economic and racial woes. Even the “fake news media” ploy pales when you lead the pack with 19000+ lies.
Sputtering, out of ammo
What’s more catastrophic (or pathetic) than when a blame-obsessed demagogue runs out of both ammo and fake targets? Even clumsy slanders against the underwhelming Joe Biden are backfiring, making him look almost presidential. No one tops the Donald in the asshole Olympics. Want to see re-election-killing nonsense while flailing wildly? Read more Rushmore mush without snickering out loud!
The radical ideology attacking our country advances under the banner of social justice. But in truth, it would demolish both justice and society. It would transform justice into an instrument of division and vengeance and turn our free society into a place of repression, domination and exclusion. They want to silence us, but we will not be silenced.
Trump’s obscene mouth dares to project his precise, regime objectives: “repression, domination and exclusion”? And then the ultimate tell, alleging popular protesters seek “totalitarianism.” The galaxy boggles.
Only Trump to blame
Such revealing delusions will only magnify his downfall. We know die-hard narcissists suppress the truth in favor of manic fabrications. Trump forever dreads this unendurable outcome: the demolition of his fabricated self, assuring exposure and humiliation. Malignant narcissists live on the edge, seeking solid footing but only find murky swampland, thus recourse to fantasies squared. That’s in part why a savvy African-American political scientist, Christopher Parker, foresaw positives seeded by Trump’s disgraces; from Dana Milbank, Wash Post, “A massive repudiation of Trump’s racist politics is building:”
This is what Parker had in mind when he wrote in 2016 that Trump could be “good for the United States.” The backlash Trump provoked among whites and nonwhites alike “could kick off a second Reconstruction,” Parker now thinks. “I know it sounds crazy, especially coming from a black man,” he says, but “I think Trump actually is one of the best things that’s happened in this country.
Inevitably, payoffs grow from the greatest political losing streak in American politics – from Trump’s shocking upset victory to now shocking dishonor. What even Never Trumpers failed to anticipate is the speed and degree of Trump self-sabotage. What politician isn’t toast when voters shift from asking “why this pandemic and job depression” to instead lament, “bereft of pandemic solutions, now the guy pushes white power, impugning legitimate, peaceful protesters and out of power foes for all his crimes and miscues? What madness have we all wrought”? That, aside from thousands who needlessly died – and how many more to come?
Thus does Trump bring down the very doom and gloom, if not carnage, on himself invoked by his own lies and fear-mongering were he denied. Problem is, what can get much worse? 500K death? No prompt recovery? Lurching from crisis to crisis? To his horror, Trump now confirms in spades he was never a qualified, legitimate candidate, nor a competent chief executive, nor a problem-solver. This permanent laughing stock now needs an upset even greater than the first.
We can puzzle why it took so long, even a trio of epic crises to dramatize what Never Trumpers knew all along: perfidy and infamy are joined at the hip. Now the growing majority is getting the message, but we haven’t yet escaped Trump’s shark-infested swamp. Cornered, wounded, flailing animals are often the most dangerous.