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  • Could Donald Trump be his own worst enemy—and for his own reasons? Here's a supposition...

    Every time I hear wailing and gnashing of teeth that Hillary Clinton could lose to Donald Trump I want to hand out towels and buttons that say Don’t Panic. Of course there would still be gnashing and wailing had the GOP nominee been, say, Ted Cruz—or almost any of those other clowns—instead of flaming Donald, but that’s how politics works in this part of the planet. As all alternative candidates are laughable or evil to some degree, we start by deciding who we'd least like to elect, and never seem to find one we actually might want for a leader.

    Much of the present panic is pundit-driven and reflects a mainstream news establishment that has pulled out all the stops against Trump, generally on Hillary’s behalf. Gleefully, they rub it in whenever his numbers sink. Of course, it doesn’t help his case that he keeps making stuff up and putting his foot in it almost every time he speaks or tweets:

    • Trump reportedly asked during a private security briefing “If we have [nuclear weapons] why can’t we use them.” He also declined to rule out nuking ISIS, and then explained it all away by saying he likes to be unpredictable. Earlier this year he suggested that Japan, Korea, and Saudi Arabia should obtain nukes of their own, and maybe we should can NATO, the Geneva Convention and the United Nations.
    • Badmouthing Khizr “Constitution” Khan and his wife, then stepping back after veterans took great umbrage.
    • In Ashburn VA, scolding a mom to remove a bawling baby, for crying out loud.
    • Denigrating fire marshals for not allowing overcrowding at overflowing rallies in Ohio, Colorado and Virginia, accusing them of being Democrat stooges.
    • Threatening to revoke press credentials for the NYT and WAPO (even though they had it coming to them)
    • Spending way too much time attacking Ted Cruz for not endorsing him at the RNC and then avoiding endorsing incumbents Paul Ryan, John McCain and Kelly Ayotte.


    Maybe he just had a bad hair week and a stay at Reince Priebus’ political health spa will rehabilitate him. But no matter what bilious sentiments spew from his mouth, antics like these are not the reason he will never become president. He won’t because powerful people—possibly even including Trump himself—don’t want that to happen.

    Even if Trump decides to make nice with Republican officials he feels have offended him and takes steps to reassure the defense establishment that he’s not a rogue actor, the elites and the media will keep turning up the heat. His will be a long walk on burning coals the rest of the way to Election Day. And were it not for his smug narcissism, he would surely realize by now that the Oval Office will be a flaming inferno for him.

    Those GOP officeholders may be quietly satisfied to be snubbed. The way things are going, revulsion of Trump may lead to GOP-leaning voters to stay home or switch their votes. Down-ticket GOP candidates would almost certainly suffer losses of votes. They will find excuses to avoid photo-ops when Donald comes to town.
  • If, by the end of September, it looks like the GOP will be routed, it would not surprise me if some kind of palace coup took place. To prevent Trump from pushing the self-destruct button, there are various kinds of guns that the powers-that-be could hold to Donald’s head to cause him to step aside “for personal reasons” or to “unite the country,” or a sudden illness may strike him. (“Hey Donald, it would be a shame if something bad happened to Trump Tower.”) Or maybe he’s just expecting to be paid off for making a trexit (see below).

    The RNC can’t simply decide to dump Trump. No party procedure exists or could be interpreted to allow that. However, the party’s Rule 9 stipulates that if a presidential or vice presidential nominee exits the ticket, the 168 members of the RNC—not voters or delegates—would select a new nominee. But that begins to look less and less as a possibility as deadlines loom for placing names on ballots across the country, meaning that even if he quits the race, his name would still appear on ballots in key states.

    Trump himself has slyly hinted that he might fire himself once elected. After billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban suggested Trump would drop out of the race for $5 billion, Trump joked, “I guess we'd have to think about it.” When the NYT asked him about the rumor that he wouldn’t govern if he won, he smiled and said "I'll let you know how I feel about it after it happens." The blogosphere went wild.

    Hmm. If he's holding the country for ransom, how much should he get?

    And then on August 4th Trump’s recently-hired campaign manager Paul Manafort let slip to astonished panelists on CBS Good Morning that “I support [Ryan] as speaker and after next week I’m going to be supporting him for a candidate for President.” Manafort declined to comment on his comment and the show moved on.

    All this creepy coyness makes me wonder if the fix is already in and Trump is/has always been looking not to run the free world but to get for the best deal he can get for his brand. I for one would not like to see him take office even if his election were to trash the rest of GOP field (a truly exciting prospect that would invigorate third party politics on both the right and left). But he’s not going to be our next president, notwithstanding Michael Moore’s entertaining but chilling doomsday scenario positing that Trump will pick up enough electoral votes from rust belt states to prevail. Why? Because he’ll have the depressed middle class vote, the misogynist vote, and the vote of all those who in the privacy of the voting booth decide to give the finger to the entire political establishment. And so, Michael wants everyone to vote for Hillary, of whom he has almost nothing good to say. As Donald himself would say, SAD!

    As for Manafort’s little bombshell, a Reuters article back in April said:

    The prevailing opinion among RNC members was that Trump is simply energizing his anti-establishment supporters, a point hammered home by Manafort, who privately told party leaders Trump is "projecting an image" and will transition to a more serious demeanor.

    Paul, we’re still waiting. Sounds like you’ve given up, a bad situation for a campaign manager to be in. Lots of luck, and see you at the polls.

    Meanwhile, has there ever been a more opportune moment for third parties to strut their stuff?


    An earlier version of this article appeared in CounterPunch.


    @image: Don’t Panic and Carry a Towel by Ashique47 of DevientArt , Creative Commons copyright.
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