Eight drivers that springboard Trump’s nose-dive into humiliated loser

What makes even a lousy career criminal look bad? To be proved a blundering, hypocritical boob.


Since Trump’s overweening gimmick is to secure fortress White House against the slammer, only one variable matters: can he resurrect enough disgruntled, low-information, low-frequency electorate and more than a few unsettled centrists? Glued hard to the MAGA hip doesn’t help and Trump court humiliations are shredding his battered mystique as “superman,” businessman, deal-maker or family man—reduced to be Master of Lying. What’s the gain from lying he’s “totally innocent,” persecuted by ever-present, notorious liars taking orders from Biden? Does not defendant Trump fit how the judge excoriated his lawyer—“you’re losing all credibility”? 

Forever on trial (and forever irate, violating gag orders), what actions in the last year have won over skeptical centrists, even former Trumpers terrified by irrational demands for absolute (!) presidential immunity, (absolute) strongman rule (dictator for a day, ha!) or absolute isolationism except for reverence for aggressive tyrants? Beyond MAGA slugs and thugs, how many voters cheer on Trump’s bad boy barrages against every court that’s indicted him—the last institution (even with this Supreme Court) that promises accountability. As Trump rhetoric goes more fascistic and more deranged, his behavior riddled with corruptions large and small and his campaign stopped cold, whither his suspect electoral leverage? 

Want the best measure of Trump desperation? With zero family members attending, Trump calls on his now decidedly reluctant flock to protest his victimhood, not only in NY but with “courthouse ‘protests’ nationwide.” Then, faced with minuscule turnout, his lies match numberless indictments as Trump whines that people who “want to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, are not allowed to ‘Peacefully Protest,’” systematically shut down and [denied] “their Constitutional Rights.” Talk about the incredibly shrinking candidate shooting himself in the head by broadcasting his reduced influence. So phantom fans who never even show up are mysteriously forced into “holding areas” like stock animals? Got any photos? Perhaps the once-suckered loyalists, now jailed convicts, don’t share his high-risk contempt for judges and convictions—a bullseye against MAGA delusions of invulnerability. 

As Jonathan Alter observes, not only is Trump a six week captive at his own criminal trial, he’s already trapped, even “confined” to a dingy courtroom with a horrible, graffiti-covered bathroom that would offend any angry germaphobe with an old man’s bladder. How can forced attendance without rally support satisfy any celebrity who needs endless adoration? The “process is the punishment,” quipped a pro-Trump wag. 

An unstoppable loser stays the course

Thus, let us tabulate the ways that forever defendant Trump’s leverage and mystique are already battered:

1) The slew of inevitably bad PR is dramatized by the Damocles sword of 88 indictments, plus the personal D.C. liability litigation against him by Jan. 6 victims. How long before millions of centrists translate the presumed-innocent “defendant Trump” into perpetually guilty “criminal Trump”? Trials only magnify growing Trump fatigue, and subsequent convictions will define his ruined reputation and loser legacy. 

2) Diversion of essential campaign fundraising (and time to beg for money) to pay off ill-used legal beagles paid more to “bark” Trump-talk for delays than get him off the hook. The legal money flows are jaw-dropping, especially as both small-fry and billionaire donors back off, reluctant to throw good money after bad.

3) Nearly total closure, for six weeks and more, of active, essential campaigning. Plus, as Amanda Marcotte concludes, what is the psychological cost for missing slavish rallies, especially when under siege? “If there was a hell, Trump’s punishment would be to look into a mirror for all of eternity. Having to hear people tell the truth about him for hours a day is as close as we’re going to get on the mortal plane.” What politician, let alone criminal, can advance when witness after witness fleshes in his sleazy, life-long outrages? 

4) The grinding, daily parade of a tired, old, angry and farting defendant growing more frustrated by having to do the impossible: keep his mouth shut, sit down when ordered, and be reminded he’s not in charge. With cosmic irony, every sordid sexcapade that Trump, Cohen and Pecker tried to bury are now front page news night after night until time ends. Hell, Biden by comparison looks younger every day. 

5) Daily garbage output from overwrought, wrong-headed tweets and gag-violations that expose nasty Trump invective plus the fundamental American values and institutions he profoundly threatens. Does the bottom line of lying venom not impact his “leadership” image? Further, cringe-worthy tweets and rants provide more golden grist for the savvy prosecutorial mill that monitors each blundering revelation.

6) Outpouring of incredibly damaging court testimony that reinforce Trump as not only a fraud and a hustler but a shameless criminal who knowingly, arrogantly broke laws, trivial and paramount. Even were juries not to convict, the towering flow of incriminating evidence hardly wins over the very voters, like women, young people or moderates, mired by this bad press. Enough bad PR is bad PR. 

7) The cumulative impact when more “personal,” established crimes (rape, defamation, business fraud) morph into felonious assaults against the idea of law and justice in America, demonizing judges, juries or witnesses and dumping frivolous appeals. Who can ignore the explicit story line driving every upcoming trial—Trump voter fraud and Trump election interference—across hush money campaign violations, Jan 6 insurrection, fake electors scam and taped demands that Georgia officials find non-existent votes? 

8) Finally, full details about amateur, payola bargaining is banishing any residual “deal-making” allure Trump boasts about. What stands out (again) is that when breaking or scorning the law Trump can be one dumb, blundering bunny. What assured the NY indictment is 1) devising a complex conspiracy for a simple bribe, with any conspirator able to smash a reputation; then 2) having reportable meetings at Trump Tower, then writing personal checks to Cohen in the Oval Office. Even a mediocre mob boss finds cleaner ways to immunize himself from liability, making Trump look impulsively inept at everything except spouting B.S., finding suckers and forcing trial postponements.

Worse yet to come?

No doubt, new, exciting, more devastating shockers will plague Trump, already facing an uphill fight as a disgraced election loser. What makes even a lousy career criminal look bad? To be proved a blundering, hypocritical boob. Frankly, it’s beyond me how Trump, since his last White House moments, has found no ways to grow his electorate. No wonder Biden’s polling gets better. How obvious are the self-defeating array of bad political/Trump campaign decisions, exposure as an outlaw, and a torrent of bad faith, instantly disprovable lying—an assemblage that defines a loser capable of getting routed in November. Whither redemption as he loses control over his time, his life, and his “freedom” to commit more crimes?

Who, aside from MAGA nutcases cemented to Trump, rush to support a sloppy, reckless, oblivious outlaw willing to take enormous, foolish risks simply to stay in the public eye. Sometimes, one must disagree with Oscar Wilde’s quip, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” The shrunken hustler who could once con Trumpers into breaking federal laws, while safely ensconced elsewhere, now faces being talked to death (as Mark Twain quipped, a terrible way to die). Trump is more than ever hoisted on his own woeful petard. What good electoral news for Trump six months beforehand looms? And things could certainly get worse—with more control and credibility stripped from Trump’s shrinking hands. Some dictator-wanna-be. 


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For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.