The final con is upon us.
Donald Trump has finally decided to unleash a two-pronged strategy as the world burns around him. A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows Trump down a whopping 11 points – and that’s the only poll taken completely after Trump’s 2005 “grab ‘em by the p***y” tape dropped. There are no state polls out yet. But the indicators are brutal. And Congressional polls are starting to tank for Republicans, too.
And so Donald Trump has deployed a two-pronged strategy: first, punish those who would defect or refuse to champion him; second, throw red meat to his base.
What is this strategy designed to do? It certainly isn’t designed to stop Hillary Clinton or her agenda. Regardless of whether Trump wins or loses, the country requires a Republican Congress, either to push legislation or forestall it from Hillary. Hillary with a Democratic Congress is an avalanche of disaster – single-payer healthcare, hate speech legislation, full amnesty. Trump with a Democratic Congress is nearly useless – forget about the wall, forget about Supreme Court nominees.
So naturally Trump is campaigning against a Republican Congress, purely out of egotistical pique. He’s a drowning man grabbing at those trying to escape the undertow he’s created. He’s giving orders from his bunker that every good and loyal German must fight to the last man, or be shot for treason. He tweeted that any Republican who won’t loudly support him, even at the risk of their own seats, are “self-righteous hypocrites. Watch their poll numbers – and elections – go down!” His spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson, tweeted in celebratory fashion, “I can’t keep my phone charged due to the mass volume of texts from people all over the country who will #VoteTrump but êballot not so much.”
Trump has spent the last 24 hours attacking one of the men who still supports him, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, for not supporting him more loudly as Trump implodes. He tweeted this morning, “Paul Ryan should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting Republican nominee. Despite winning the second debate in a landslide (every poll), it is hard to do well when Paul Ryan and others give zero support! Our very weak and ineffective leader, Paul Ryan, had a bad conference call where his members went wild at his disloyalty.”
Disloyalty to whom? Certainly not to Republicans in rough races who are being hammered over Trump. No, Trump means loyalty to Trump – his only gauge of decency.
Now, all of this would be transparently ridiculous, were it not for the second prong of Trump’s strategy: tossing red meat to his crowd. He’s been doing rallies at which he talks openly about locking Hillary Clinton up (a far cry from the days when he was calling her a wonderful Secretary of State and Senator) and attacking her for her alleged attempts to undercut Bill’s sexual assault and harassment victims (a far cry from the days when he sent her checks and talked about how Bill’s alleged victims were untrustworthy). He’s revving up crowds to chant “CNN SUCKS!” He’s unleashing his last barrel of vitriol in a blatant attempt to change the narrative from “Trump’s losing, so he’s desperately trying to blame everybody else” to “Trump’s only losing because those cuck Republicans can’t stand somebody attacking the Clintons.” This little ruse is being helped along by sycophantic Trump friendlies in the media who continue to suggest that he’s THISCLOSE to winning, if only people like Ryan would shout “MAGA!” at the top of their lungs repeatedly. Disloyalty, they say, will be the death of Trump, not Trump’s absolute failure as a candidate and human being.
The polls don’t show this, but reality has no truck here.
Don’t be fooled. If Trump truly cared about stopping the Clintons, he wouldn’t be engaging the first prong of this attack – he’d be focused on the Clintons exclusively. He isn’t, because this is just the last stage of the con: convincing the people who stood behind him that he hasn’t blown it, he’s been betrayed by the “p***ies” at the Republican National Committee – the same people who have given him his entire campaign infrastructure and rigged the Republican National Convention to stop any dissent, and then suggested that any Republican who ran and didn’t support Trump would be cast into empty hellscape in 2020.
They were on his side. They still are. But they won’t hug him close at the same time he douses himself with gasoline and sets himself on fire. So they’re not loyal enough, according to Trump.
If you care about the republic rather than Trump’s ego, it’s time to live in reality: Trump’s going to lose. And it’s time to start worrying about how to stop Hillary rather than indulging the justifiable lust to watch him slam Hillary as she wobbles her way to the White House and control of Congress.