Like all bullies and egomaniacs, Donald Trump does well when no one questions his authority. But under pressure from a force equal or greater than themselves, bullies and egomaniacs tend to fall apart — and dramatically so.
This it what is happening to Donald Trump as the media and respectable part of the political establishment reaches the end of their patience with his non-stop lying and disgusting behavior. After the unfathomably bad Republican Convention last month, Donald Trump has careened from one disaster to another with remarkable speed. The past 72 hours, as CNN noted, have been “The worst three days of any presidential candidate in living memory.”
After disparaging the father and mother of Capt. Humayun Khan, Trump decided it would be good to publicly escalate the feud and continue insulting the family and refuse to apologize.
Trump then gave what has to be his dumbest interview yet, falling into every trap expertly laid out by George Stephanopoulos on ABC, and humiliating himself by failing to grasp the very rudimentary facts behind the Russia/Ukraine conflict.
“He’s not gonna go into Ukraine, all right?” Trump told Stephanopoulos. “You can mark it down. You can put it down. You can take it anywhere you want.”
This of course despite the fact that Russia is already in Ukraine.
Providing no evidence other than the mysterious “people” he speaks with, Trump’s fantastical outburst about dark forces subverting democracy in America is less a sign of his prescience and more an indication that he understands he is losing a grip on this election — and quickly.
For all is bluster and political ignorance, Trump is not a complete idiot. He understands that the poll numbers are heading in the wrong direction, he doesn’t have as much money as Hillary Clinton does for his campaign, the media hates him, and the GOP basically wants nothing to do with him. After being widely condemned for his comments about Khizr Khan and his family by other Republicans, Trump and his cabal of equally lurid and incompetent campaign staff are now all by themselves.
The Trump brand may work well for America’s nouveaux riche, but for politics it is turning out to be positively toxic. Trump has long told the American people, the media and the political establishment that his business acumen qualifies him to run for President. But just as his business empire turns out to be bullshit, so too is his political movement.
In the past, Trump has gotten away with bravado. The deeper the hole he finds himself in, the bigger the bluster. But he isn’t building flashy hotels or ripping off students with fake universities now — he’s running for the highest office in the land, and his tactics are getting tiring.
As Trump continues to slide in the polls, we should expect bigger, more preposterous conspiracy theories to emerge about why he is losing. Trump is already trying to weasel his way out of the debates with Hillary Clinton, presumably because he knows the humiliation will be unrelenting and unforgiving. This time, Trump argued the Democrats deliberately scheduled the debates during major NFL games, and that the NFL sent him a letter complaining about it (they didn’t). Next week it will be because Hillary Clinton unfairly uses mind control during debates and has bought off the moderators.
While the Trump fanatics will buy into whatever conspiratorial nonsense he makes up, the majority of the country won’t and will start seeing what those of us who have followed Trump carefully for the past few years already know: that he is a dangerous, narcissistic sociopath who needs to be stopped at almost any cost.
Luckily, Trump is doing an excellent job of doing that himself.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.