For a while now I've been wondering whether there was a counterintuitive method to Donald Trump's madness, whether all his racist, xenophobic, tasteless, mendacious and generally insane pronouncements and proposals were nothing more than an attempt to derail his own campaign. When you really think about it, it's one of the very few theories that makes sense -- and it's one Rachel Maddow explored last night on her show.
Trump is indeed a raging megalomaniac and there's an easy argument to be made that his petty insults and neo-fascist demagoguery play to that fact. By regularly rolling out new examples of just how offensive he can be, it keeps his name and brand in the spotlight and riles up his base of rabid supporters, playing to their fears and resentments and making him an idol to be worshipped. But his rhetoric has become so unhinged that he now has a good portion of the GOP, even the anti-establishment GOP, turning against him -- or at the very least openly criticizing him. When Dick Cheney -- Dick Cheney -- steps up and says you should be ashamed of yourself, you're seriously an asshole of mathematically inexpressible proportions.
Trump has now alienated a substantial portion of the elite within the party he's alleging to represent, with only Fox News -- his personal Leni Riefenstahl, as Josh Marshall called it today -- still swallowing its pride and backing him publicly. This could easily mean he's positioning himself to break off from the GOP and run as an independent, a move that would spell certain death for the Republicans' White House hopes in 2016. But the other possibility, while admittedly sounding like some kind of conspiracy theory, is the one I already mentioned: that he has no desire to actually win the presidency and is cranking the atrocious behavior and bombast up further and further because so far nothing he's done, no matter how repugnant, has accomplished the goal of getting him booted out of the party.
Last night, Maddow pointed out the obvious -- that no matter what he says or does, Trump's campaign still keeps going strong and is still at the top of the Republican polls. She wonders whether or not his own success has "spooked" him given that it's come in spite of his making comments and offering policy proposals that would've doomed a normal candidate. Is he trying to get himself effectively kicked out of the Republican party, Maddow asks, "So there’s no longer a threat he might actually get nominated as that party’s nominee for president or, God forbid, that he might win the office?" It's not an irrational thought when you consider the strong possibility that Trump was forced into running for president by his own history of flirting with the idea but never actually making the commitment.
Donald Trump is one of the laziest motherfuckers on earth. Watch him during his various stump speeches. He can barely be bothered to write down his points, choosing instead to just ramble. He does this not because he likes to talk "off-the-cuff" but because it's easy. He hasn't offered one real policy proposal other than making insanely unrealistic declarations like insisting he'll kill the family members of ISIS or round up 11-million people and railroad them out of the country like he's just wrapped up the Wannsee Conference. Donald Trump is running the laziest successful campaign America has ever seen, mostly because the whole thing is an exercise in brand-building (as so much conservative politicking is these days). And should he succeed, which he won't regardless, he would despise the end result. Trump would hate being President of the United States because being President of the United States would mean he'd have to work.
There's a possibility Trump just wants to get out with a little dignity and get on with his life, now improved even further as a result of becoming a folk hero to the fringiest fringe of the right. The only way to do that is to do something so horrific that the GOP and its power structure have no choice but to end his sham campaign once and for all. Sure, if that happened and I'm wrong he'd simply run as an independent -- and it's that very possibility that's keeping Republican leaders somewhat in check -- but I think it's just as likely he'd breathe a sigh of relief and go back to being whatever the hell it was Trump was before he became this cultural and political monstrosity.
The problem, of course, is that even if he did drop out the damage would already be done. His rise to a position of political authority with a certain segment of the population here in America has changed us. It's changed our reputation as a nation. Trump never needed to win to destroy us from the inside out. That much should be clear by now.