My personal rule for evaluating Donald Trump's presidency continues to be: Trump always makes things worse for Trump. No matter which way the president zigs or zags, every decision somehow worsens Trump's peril, be it legal or political or miscellaneous. It's kind of a miracle that he continues to hover in the 40-percent polling window given how badly he's doing in literally every sense -- most of the awfulness being manufactured by Trump himself and his stupid, stupid decisions.
As of today, the rule can be expanded to include Trump copycats like West Virginia candidate for U.S. Senate, Don Blankenship, whose political fate will be decided in Tuesday's primary election.
Simply put: Don Blankenship makes things worse for Trump. In this case, however, Trump inadvertently birthed Blankenship and other supervillain cosplayers who believe that co-opting Trump's message of bigotry, whining and low-mouthed grievances will be a winning approach in the midterms. Blankenship has positioned himself as a Trumper in nearly every sense, especially insofar as he's calling for the imprisonment of Hillary Clinton as a major plank in his campaign platform. Trump made Blankenship and, in the Trumper sense, Blankenship is merely doing as Trump does.
And it's working. Politico reports that Blankenship has pulled ahead in the most recent polls.
But both Trump and his animal-murdering motormouthed son, Don Junior, rejected Blankenship in the past few days, posting tweets against the West Virginian's campaign. Instead, the Trumps endorsed the establishment Republican candidates, Congressman Evan Jenkins and West Virginia's Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
To the great people of West Virginia we have, together, a really great chance to keep making a big difference. Problem is, Don Blankenship, currently running for Senate, can’t win the General Election in your State...No way! Remember Alabama. Vote Rep. Jenkins or A.G. Morrisey!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 7, 2018
I hate to lose. So I'm gonna go out on a limb here and ask the people of West Virginia to make a wise decision and reject Blankenship!
No more fumbles like Alabama. We need to win in November. #wv#wvpol
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) May 3, 2018
Simply put: the Trumps are backing away from the political subculture they invented. The justification is actually quite sensible: Blankenship can't unseat Sen. Joe Manchin in November.
That said, this is Trump's fault as much as it's Blankenship's. Trump made things worse for Trump this time by manufacturing a movement that's obviously birthed an entire roster of candidates in advance of midterm election day. The fact that Blankenship can't defeat Manchin is entirely because he's running as part of Trump's movement.
In essence, Trumpism is a losing proposition. And guess what? Donald Trump agrees.
It also doesn't help that Blankenship killed 29 men in the worst mining disaster in four decades. But that doesn't seem to be hurting him in the polls where Trump voters in West Virginia are predictably gravitating to the most Trumpian candidate, despite the rejection of the two Donalds.
The chain of self-defeat goes like this:
- Trump creates Trumpism.
- Blankenship runs as a Trumper.
- Trump abandons Blankenship.
- If Blankenship loses, it'll be seen as a loss for Trumpism.
- Blankenship wins, he'll likely lose to incumbent Manchin in November.
- Democrats retain the seat.
Trump always makes things worse for Trump, and Trumpers definitely make things worse for Trump. Lesson: Trumpism is toxic.
This toxicity, though, won't stop more candidates from running on the Trumper platform, which, of course, is bad for Trump and the wheel of self-defeat keeps spinning around and around.
So by all means, keep running, Trumpers. You're only screwing the leader of your movement by trying to emulate him. And remember: your messiah will stab you in the back if it looks like you'll lose in the general. Good luck...