After a terrible convention, a disastrous acceptance speech, a week of classic (meaning ill-worded and unfunny) Trump tweets, an unremitting, unapologetic assault on the parents of a dead Muslim-American war hero, and a flat “serious” economic speech touting — no, it’s not possible! — rehashed establishment Repub economics, topped off by Trump’s slyly “joking” invitation to “Article Two types” to assassinate Clinton or any Supreme Court Justice she may earn the opportunity to nominate, one would think even Trump would have had enough. Especially since all four weeks’ worth of these wounds had been self-inflicted, to the wailing chorus of hundreds of senior, patriotic members of the Republican Party, busily and publicly disavowing him and his blowhard, bullying, befuddled, threats and scare tactics. It was obvious: Agent Orange’s poisonous campaign to steal the Presidency right out from under the noses of the largely ill-informed older white working class guys who’ve been bamboozled into supporting him was finally imploding.
We’ll put this apparent collapse of voter support for Trump, his out-sized, hateful ranting, and his inconsistent, illogical, and undefined agenda into quantitative terms in the update of our Battleground States Electoral Vote map this weekend.
Numbers and likely November election results aside, the past eight weeks of Republican fiascoes raises a question that few of us could have imagined posing as recently as the middle of June:
Is it possible that Trump could do what he’s vaguely threatened to do earlier in the year, and simple withdraw from the contest?
All my instincts shout “No way!” But my instincts have failed me often when it comes to guessing the likely behavior of this caged, crazed, crippled beast.
With a normal, rational, public-spirited person, we could make a well-reasoned list of the pros and cons facing him as he views the collapsing dream of personal glory from his penthouse windows high in the sky. I mean a really tough list of reasons for continuing or walking away from the contest. Full disclosure: I’ve started such a list, that being a basic first step in the kind of Delphic forecasting I specialize in.
But Wednesday, as Trump shouted that President Obama and his then-Secretary of State were, holy hairspray!, the founders of ISIS!, thereby demonstrating once again that this buffoon has no concept of rational thinking, planning, or even the most rudimentary command of facts, I was struck: what are the chances any of us normal folks could make any list that would give us a clue to what he will do?
And even then, at this late point in a campaign riddled with failed Republican attempts to get on track or stay on message, who could be sure that, after saying he’ll do something, Trump won’t soon turn about and do the opposite? It seems obvious that he’s happier to see his “allies” and the general establishment types squirm than actually doing any meaningful, focused work to win the election.
So once again we see Reince Priebus and the Republican National Committee scurrying en mass to a meeting in Orlando in the hopes of putting a leash on this overgrown orange wildebeest. Surely the few remaining rational Republicans must be saying, now he will change.
The outcome of this crisis meeting won’t be different, dear political flyweights; it will be more of the same chaos. How can I be so certain? Hint: the meeting will not include Humpty Trumpty himself.
Instead of righting the non-campaign, the meeting will doubtless bring Trump and his hangers-on one step closer to the real decision point, namely, the point where he decides to stay in the race and see himself re-branded as America’s Greatest Loser, or walks away just before the first debate and finding himself labeled forever as the Bully Who Was Afraid To Fight A Woman, or simply fails to show up for the debate, claiming the whole thing is “rigged”, and heads for the first hole of the nearest Trump golf course.
I cannot be sure at this point if he’ll continue or quit, and if the latter, how or when.
But I can be sure of this, Donald: you’ll be ending this sorry excuse for a campaign hiding in a hole, and it won’t be deep or large enough for you to conceal your failures, and it won’t be far enough away for us to ever forget what a colossally unsuccessful con-artist you turned out to be.