The obvious good news: what greater self-inflicted mayhem can Trump induce that more drastically jeopardizes his own re-election? Perhaps he COULD get taped shooting someone on Fifth Avenue– and see how long before he gets arrested. He could then share a cell with fanatic Trump gunslingers who mow down protestors. I wonder how much they’d really have to talk about.
Why else would even a dim bulb gratuitously and openly heap scorn on wounded veterans or dead GIs? Or allow Bob Woodward to tape 18 (eighteen!?) interviews (thus no “fake news” dismissal) in which he explodes months of his own mendacity, let alone phony pandemic denial? Why else snigger at the notion of “white privilege” as if he weren’t born on third base, a fool to boast he’s hit a triple? Why obsessively dump on Obama, still a popular figure?
Is not his racism, let alone presidential inferiority a permanent given? None of these unforced blunders has any campaign upsides. Au contraire, each one is a potent depth charge slamming into the wall of his submarine.
In ways that defy even the imagination of ferocious anti-Trumpers (guilty as charged), this moronic parody of a public servant is blowing any chances to win over the few voters that give him a fighting chance. Remember in ‘16, reams of his voters were too mortified to state their preference: we ain’t seen nothing yet. Trumpers will rush to get mail-in ballots to remain invisible.
Do I contradict myself?
Yes, this counterproductive leap into the fire contradicts all of the Donald’s scorn for weak, shameful “losers” – pigeonholing the most disreputable, most contemptible of all humankind. Only winners, in his knee-jerk world of Calvinist Election-by-gut-alone, are justified, thus worthy to run everything, steal at will, and tell everyone else what to do.
After all, that’s why Trump, lacking the talent, training or background, outsmarts all those “phony” experts with actual degrees, resumes and field experience, even positive results. And yet, given only bad choices, suddenly accelerating into worse ones, the Trump option of running-to-lose is the least painful and least injurious to dreams of future, money-stealing cons.
Trump will go through the campaign motions (awash in mob adoration) and take cheap shots and shout his empty proclamations (knowing he won’t be believed). That way he implicitly sabotages his own campaign. He’s well on the way, already squandering $800 million of the billion dollars plus he conned out out donors – with zero impact on moving the election needle. Better to leave under the cloud of a “rigged” election – with everyone but his fixated lackeys and know-nothing suckers lined up against him. Better to think, however obtusely, you’re the candidate “making a choice” about your future, anything but being a passive dumb cluck swept up by devious outside forces.
Rationality need not apply
I am not claiming this Trump “decision” is any more sensible or correct than his thrice weekly catastrophes — only that this thesis best fits the otherwise absurd facts on the table. No one, not even a moron, is that dumb. Trump has shot his wad, and the pandemic brought this all home, in every sense of the phrase. Trump may even have momentary glimmers that he’s overplayed his hand but my position hardly depends on that long-shot speculation.
Unless Biden drops off the dais, for the majority the show is over. The only remaining consequence is how Trump leaves and how bitter and enraged are his absolutely predictable, final pathetic whines. Best to cut your losses, minimize the damage, and scratch your way out, still a plausible media magnet desperate for unpaid TV time. For Trump, fame and notoriety are both magically the means AND the end. There are no “minor” details he cannot totally deny as unfair molestation of his good name. Craziness strikes billionaires just like everyone else, and they have far more public shots at self-humiliation. Joe Sixpack just goes home, drinks beer, and falls in a heap.
Trump will not in my view make a departure stink, especially as he’s courting a potential route. Why then barricade yourself in the White House? Even someone as blindly out of touch as Trump knows that won’t work for more than a day. And that risks “looking” (the all-important driver) the utter weakling when frogmarched out, besmirched with unspeakable infamy. When has Trump ever accepted a four year commitment to anything? Not with schooling, colleges, the military or having to work for anyone else, ever. All his other countless pathologies aside, his attention span is modest in the extreme, on par with an irritated, tired toddler. Trump has big trouble with what others call “adulthood,” when big people do what they must, not what your two year old says you want to.
The authoritarian who hates authority
Thus he is mystified, even incredulous why anyone would sign up for military service, even risk injury or death. Or any kind of public sacrifice. He doesn’t get why a bureaucrat would choose less salary to work for the government. Why else does this spoiled brat sound so bored when forced to read mandatory speeches longer than one minute – and written by some backroom flunky? Deranged in too many ways to count, Trump is not so different from other spoiled, overpaid billionaire princes maniacal for total control over their time and focus. After all, only they exist and the universe is built to serve them.
I suspect he bitterly resents any schedule at odds with his petty, juvenile consciousness as a cosmic imposition, a direct blow to his imperial command. Thus, anxious Republicans are getting the message he cannot overcome the campaign deficits, nor do the work to make an effective run, nor even present plausible, appealing deliverables. Now he stands for nothing but more Trumpism. If he marginally survives, he can still badger and demean Biden or Obama or disloyal Republicans. How else can a two-dimensional, TV cartoon character with the thinnest veneer of self-esteem salvage any regard, however illusory or pathological. In a few years, being president will be just more vague misadventure that lasted way too long and didn’t end well.
Compare Trump with the ultimate, sleazy rationalizer, Buck Turgidson, played brilliantly by George C. Scott in the movie, “Dr. Strangelove.” Epic losing can be hustled into winning, even if the “love” gained is “strange” indeed. Finding the least bad way to escape being cornered for another four years is exactly how a discredited but unrepentant con artist makes his last public scam or stand, whatever. With his endless powers of self-delusion, anything but going broke and/or ending up in jail will be spun as a great win, especially considering with the (now literal) army of enemies out to crush him.
I can just imagine that hint of nostalgia, in his very last moments, that a Trump made history: the only never-before-elected-to-anything “outsider” who ascended with one step to the presidency. Not bad for a yahoo even other billionaires can’t stand. His titanium-clad defenses will protect him from any other painful intrusions. No matter. Just removing him from doing more damage will be a soaring win for all but his gun-loving, white supremacist backers. But they haven’t dealt with losing the Civil War either. It’s only been 155 years: remember Palin’s “Never give up. Never retreat. Just reload.” Maybe not reload. That works only for volunteer, trained military warriors, not mock-heroic Phantom Bone Spurs.