Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Is Trump looking for an exit strategy or has he simply gone off the deep end? Charles Krauthammer had a hard time rationalizing Trump's latest comments in which the Donald appeared to imply the only way to stop Hillary from nominating liberal judges is to take her out. Of course, Krauthammer still left a little wiggle room for doubt, but noted that this latest gaffe is entirely self-inflicted. He doesn't believe Trump is going to suddenly become responsible.
Whatever the case, Trump remains in the race despite his plummeting poll numbers, which threaten to take the Republican Party down as a whole in November. Some Republicans are already abandoning ship, looking to create as much distance between them and Trump as possible. Susan Collins is the latest to state she cannot bring herself to support Trump. However, that didn't stop George Prescott Bush from offering his endorsement, breaking the Bush ranks by saying that Republicans should stand behind Trump.
As the rift in the Republican Party grows wider, it forces conservatives to make tough choices. One would like to think Collins represents Mainers, or whatever they call themselves. However, this is a state that elected Paul LePage, deemed "America's Craziest Governor," and an avid Trump supporter. He was apparently considered as VP, but too crazy even for Trump.
George P throwing his hat into the Trump ring makes sense, even if it goes against the grain of his family's interests. Jeb's son currently serves as the 28th Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office. This is a deep red state vs. the purplish hue of Maine, and if George P has any political future he has to stay on the Tea Party bandwagon.
Trump has become a serious liability. While his name helps some raise cash, like "America's Craziest Sheriff" Joe Arpaio, who has hauled in $10 million in his re-election bid, it hurts others like John McCain, who finds himself in the toughest re-election bid he has had to face in his long illustrious career. While the arch-conservative wing of the Republican Party rallies around Trump, the so-called moderates try to run away from him. But, that's a pretty hard thing to do when your party nominated him.
If Trump was going to "pivot" toward becoming more responsible, or at least be more "PC" as he once said he would do if nominated, he would have done so after the convention. This is the time to show party unity. Instead, he petulantly came out against McCain and Paul Ryan when they criticized him for his comments on the Khan family, and then was forced to read a prepared speech offering his tepid endorsement of their Congressional bids when the Khan fiasco blew up in his face. He also lashed out at a baby for disrupting his campaign speech, mused that the little knowledge he has of NATO is an asset, and has now urged the "second amendment people" to take matters into their own hands regarding Hillary.
Whether intentional or not, Trump has a way of bringing the worst out of people, not just among his supporters but among those vehemently opposed to him. He has managed to drag this election down to his level, making us all wallow in the mud with him. Maybe it was not meant to be anything more than a reality show on his part, one he thought we would get at some point and abandon this lunacy. Instead, the media reacts to every word he says, magnifying it ten times, which makes him look larger than life.
It seems that winning the Republican nomination was never part of the plan, and if he could he would pass the baton to Mike Pence and say take it from here. This was apparently the deal that was offered John Kasich in the week leading up to the convention, an early warning sign that Trump wanted out.
All those campaign stops have been a long grind, much tougher than hosting The Apprentice. I don't think he bargained for such a grueling process, throwing his hands up several times during the primaries and gasping, "isn't it over yet!" There are three months still to go, which must feel like an eternity for a guy who has ad libbed his campaign from the start. He simply doesn't have that much material, nor is it funny anymore.
Trump's caustic humor is what has buoyed his campaign to this point. His "sarcasm," as he calls it, only goes so far, and now the FBI is apparently investigating whether his latest comment about Hillary constitutes a death threat, albeit at the behest of a Pro-Clinton Super PAC. After all, Sarah Palin had put Gabby Giffords on her "target list," and we saw what happened to Gabby. Trump's brand of humor is no longer so easy to dismiss.
What had started essentially as a Borat routine has snowballed into a full-blown presidential bid. This would be unimaginable even in Kazakhstan, but here we are 14 months into Trump's campaign and you still get the feeling it's not over. That somehow this guy will find a way to flip the polls once again, as he has done throughout his campaign. As Borat might say, only in America!