Is Trump trying to lose?
It’s a serious question, and I’m not the first to ask it. Michael Moore wrote an intriguing article that suggested Trump was deliberately trying to sabotage his own campaign.
Trump is seemingly doing his best to alienate everyone but white males driven by testosterone. Today, he suggested that military veterans who suffer from PTSD do so because of their own failings, i.e. that they simply can’t handle what stronger veterans can handle. Add this (careless? ignorant?) statement to attacks on a Gold Star mother, the denigration of John McCain’s military service and time as a POW, and all the other attacks on Mexicans, Muslims, even an entire gender (his high school locker room mentality when he talks about women), and you have to wonder how such behavior could possibly be part of a winning strategy.
Why would Trump want to be president? To him, the salary is vanishingly low, and the workload incredibly high. Sure, being president would feed his ego, but Trump is mainly driven by capitalist greed and the celebration of his own magnificence. Being president is burdensome. It can be tedious, even boring. It requires discipline. Self-control. These are realities that don’t play to Trump’s strengths.
Trump is a showman. A braggart. A strutter. He’s thinks of himself as the biggest fish in the smallest pond. He seems to delight in thrashing around and upsetting all the little fish. But he’ll have precious little chance of doing this if he’s shackled to the Oval Office and all the responsibilities that office entails.
One thing is certain: Trump is rewriting all the rules of U.S. presidential politics. It’s hard to keep track of the constituencies he’s offended, the bridges he’s burned, the leaders he’s estranged. That he can still win it all is incredible: indeed, it may be incredible even to Trump.
Trump, I believe, would personally profit far more from losing the “rigged” election than winning it. If he loses, he becomes a martyr, at least in the minds of his followers. He can build a Trump Network/conglomerate that taps all the voters he’s rallied — and riled. He can milk them for all the money they’re worth, and bask in their adulation while being unencumbered by the real responsibilities of holding public office.
By losing, in other words, he’ll really be winning. Between now and the election, look for more outrageous statements by and from Trump. He already knows he can say or do almost anything without losing his core supporters. (As he himself boasted, he could shoot someone in cold blood in New York City and his loyal followers wouldn’t blink.)
Look for him to lose in November as well. And then look for him to clean up — big-time.