Donald Trump (Reuters/Darren Hauck)

Donald Trump sets his campaign on fire: A self-destructive madman has decided he wants to lose

Perhaps no front-runner has ever had a week so dreadful. Facing a November rout, maybe this is all part of the plan


Robert S. Becker
April 5, 2016 2:57AM (UTC)

Could our modern-day PT Barnum, Donald Trump, injure his chances any more than with this week’s damaging extravaganza? Let's not count out an arguable new strategy to lose and get out while he can. What else explains such a concentrate parade of unforced, self-destructive gaffes? Is Trump so arrogantly out of touch, so profoundly ignorant, after such an amazing run, that he's gunning for this era’s least-conscious candidate prize? With no one else close?  Or could the last horrendous week anticipate a kind of save-your-ego, Trumpian damage control to deflect looming humiliation?

Plus, this week's self-sabotage, conscious or not, goes beyond his revealing, dangerously reckless interviews with the New York Times and the Washington Post in which he sounds like a college freshman, having skipped all the reading, faking his way through the final exam. Alas, I was hoping Trump would get close enough in July to implode the regressive right-wing renegades.

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Easy assumption: Trump is a spoiled egomaniac who can't stand losing, let alone public humiliation that forever stamps him a confirmed "loser." Clearly, he's way over his head, unqualified even to finish the season without mortal wounds to his self-inflated skills and boasted superiority. In short, a Sarah Palin, unchecked, a rogue with more ego and acrimony. And since quitting (unlike the Palin ploy) affirms losing, that's not a ready option. Of course, he'll dream up unending establishment "unfairness" that does him in, thus this week reneging on his dishonest early pledge to support the GOP choice.

Overplaying. Misplaying, Played Out

But imagine: will Trump continue to make up insufferable nonsense, showing his "maverick" outlandishness even if that means total self-destruction? If so, this pathological liar could then transform withdrawal into sainted victimhood, as no "good deed" he'd done goes punished. And yet, Trump can display such mastery of the TV manipulation game that his shocking, spontaneous stupidity remains a puzzle.

Here's today's explanation:Trump never really wanted to be president, the frontrunner seat is getting way too hot, and now he wants out. Being spoiled and impulsive, with only ego to lose, his Icarus-like fall could be far quicker than his rise.  A glimmer of dignity for the profoundly insecure is better than none.

For this week's clear support, I cite the ex-Trump Super PAC chief and communications expert, Stephanie Cegielski, confirming what many initially believed: Trump never dreamed his prospects would soar, nor that his worn out "Birther-anti-immigration-bomb-them-into-smithereens" schtick would mesh so perfectly with an irate third of the right-wing dying to yell "Screw You" (or worse) to the hated GOP entrenchment:

Even Trump's most trusted advisors didn't expect him to fare this well " the goal was to get The Donald to poll in double digits and come in second in delegate count. That was it. The Trump camp would have been satisfied to see him polling at 12% and taking second place to a candidate who might hold 50%. His candidacy was a protest candidacy.

I don't think even Trump thought he would get this far. And I don't even know that he wanted to, which is perhaps the scariest prospect of all. He certainly was never prepared or equipped to go all the way to the White House, but his ego has now taken over the driver's seat, and nothing else matters. The Donald does not fail. The Donald does not have any weakness. The Donald is his own biggest enemy.

What was once Trump's desire to rank second place to send a message to America and to increase his power as a businessman has nightmarishly morphed into a charade that is poised to do irreparable damage to this country if we do not stop this campaign in its tracks " He doesn't want the White House. He just wants to be able to say that he could have run the White House. He's achieved that already and then some. . . . The hard truth is: Trump only cares about Trump.

What does the world's greatest political narcissist (after that character in North Korea) do when finding himself over his head, anxious at the prospect of winning, desperate for some exit strategy? The conundrum is how can he orchestrate a retreat while still blaming everyone else? What if Trump is sobered by badly losing Wisconsin, and that’s the beginning of the end? Remember, Trump never need facts or reality to solidify utterly insular fantasies. Can he survive these unforced, body blows?

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Blunder One

Inventing a Cruz ambush on his wife (zero evidence), Trump crudely attacks Ted's wife for not being as pretty or sexy as his ex-model wife. Even were Cruz responsible, Trump's response costs him with women (and men) without obvious voter gain. What political doofus needlessly risks upping the current 70% negative approval by women by attacking Ms. Cruz' career and looks? Instead of playing the victim, condemning attacks on family (the high road), Trump doubles down with with abusive tantrums. Lose-lose.

Blunder Two

Despite blatant rally video evidence, plus indictment of his campaign manager for battery, Trump first denies anything happened, then trivializes grossly inappropriate man-handling of a known reporter. Trump refuses to suspend or fire his campaign manager, threatens his own law suits, and bellows his guy will be vindicated. Capping it off, Trump now blames and slams the victim. Good show. Again, how many millions were offended vs. how few voters gained? Does being a first-class lout reinforce Trump’s absurd quest to look presidential? Does this fiasco not presage how a deranged, lying Pres. Trump “resolves” threats, let alone illegal or criminal staff behavior? Lose-lose, big-time.

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Blunder Three

Instead of countering evidence he knows nothing about foreign affairs, Trump pumps out an even greater barrage with reckless nuclear saber-rattling, threatening to nuke unnamed, unknown enemies. That worsens earlier "war crime" threats he'd approve murdering civilian, terrorist families. What wannabe not looking to self-destruct shoots off ballistic rhetoric about theoretical, highly improbable scenarios? How many voters rush to embrace a unilateral bully using the nuclear button to prove how tough (or bizarrely, unpredictable) he'd be? Lose-lose, plus really scary and dangerous.

Blunder Four

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When pressed firmly by Chris Matthews on abortion, Trump commits this huge unforced error: declaring women should be punished were they to violate laws that don't and won’t ever exist. So now getting some back alley abortions invites criminal indictments? No smart politician touches this absurdity, then posits abortion could be banned -- for only then would punishment, jail, fines, whatever, fit the crime. A no-win, dead end that mightily offended liberal and conservative officials and electorates. Body-blow.

All in all, here’s rash of unforced disasters for this loudmouth Humpty-Dumpty. Please, what non-Trump voters won’t flee in horror from this unstable, unconscious blowhard? How many decide never ever to vote for Trump? How many Trump zealots are not now shamed to discover their paper tiger hero is a confirmed political bozo?

Outcome Clear, Motivation Less So

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Whether the latest Cruz surge, or simmering derangements, Trump is needlessly aborting his own, now diminished chances. This monumentally flawed wannabe may not still want to be. If Trump keeps shooting himself in the foot, even Cruz, a dubious general election figure, will topple him. Would Trump, the icon of self-protective defensiveness, not start sniffing a way out before the carnage hits the fan? Suddenly, coming in second returns him to his first shot, as the noble "protest candidate" who never wins -- thus deflecting failure as president.

Perhaps this torrent of Trump blunders are no more than the toll of a grueling campaign, rightly identifying an unqualified candidate before the fiasco. Can anyone reverse blood-curling gaffes upon gaffes? Who can't imagine Trump's PR skills, shifting to obvious damage control, trying to recoup his lost dignity? These are genuine, self-inflicted body blows. And rest assured: the media will take him apart with the same relish that it irresponsibly spring-loaded him. Retribution of sorts for media malpractice and a candidate who never should have lasted a month.

 


Robert S. Becker

MORE FROM Robert S. Becker

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