Thinking there must be some creeping dread in Clinton world that all this Trumpenfreude will end with him quitting before the convention.— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) June 6, 2016
Beutler isn't the only person thinking this way. Jim Snyder in my comments points out that the comment thread at this Kos post includes much speculation about a possible Trump withdrawal:
I’m starting to wonder if he will drop out of the race before the convention under some inane, bogus pretense.None of this is going to happen. Nor is this:
I honestly don’t think the guy has any interest in being president.
Agreed and it concerns me. The guy is the dog who caught the car, and was just trying to have some fun.
He would couch it in some spectacular and phony excuse that makes him think he’s going out as a hero.
... I think he might end up bailing out, to avoid the humiliation of having his butt kicked by a lowly female.
... I predict a bogus health crisis. That would get him off the hook and sympathy.
Five bucks says he has a nervous breakdown before Election Day.Trump loves what's going on right now. You can say that Trump is enraged by the hits he taking on Trump U and on his criticism of Judge Curiel, but Trump loves being enraged. Trump draws nourishment from being enraged.
If the general election consisted of a series of contests between Trump and Clinton over the next several months, and Trump were to lose so many of them that he couldn't possibly win -- if, in other words, the general election were like the primaries, but with different results for Trump -- then he might drop out short of November. But there's one election. Even if there are a hundred polls saying he's losing, he won't believe he's losing until Election Night -- and then he'll believe he was the victim of fraud. (Which, of course, makes him a typical Republican.) Trump cannot fail. Trump can only be failed.
A Bloomberg story seems to depict a rudderless campaign, with Trump contradicting his own senior staff:
An embattled Donald Trump urgently rallied his most visible supporters to defend his attacks on a federal judge's Mexican ancestry during a conference call on Monday in which he ordered them to question the judge's credibility and impugn reporters as racists....Josh Marshall calls this a "meltdown." It's not. Trump thinks he wins through intimidation and Trump thinks, in this case, that Fox News talking points can be a key component of that intimidation. He's just energized.
When former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer interrupted the discussion to inform Trump that his own campaign had asked surrogates to stop talking about the lawsuit in an e-mail on Sunday, Trump repeatedly demanded to know who sent the memo, and immediately overruled his staff.
"Take that order and throw it the hell out," Trump said....
"Are there any other stupid letters that were sent to you folks?" Trump said. "That's one of the reasons I want to have this call, because you guys are getting sometimes stupid information from people that aren't so smart."
... A clearly irritated Trump told his supporters to attack journalists who ask questions about the lawsuit and his comments about the judge.
"The people asking the questions -- those are the racists," Trump said. "I would go at 'em."
And I worry that there just aren't that many Americans in this majority-white country who think what he saying right now is particularly awful. He's only down 5 to Clinton in a new IBD/TIPP poll conducted this past Tuesday through Sunday. (Yeah, I mentioned a Reuters poll over the weekend with Clinton up by 11, but most polls still have Clinton with only a small to medium-size lead.)
Trump has family, friends, and a massive ego -- his mental health is just fine, if you discount the extreme narcissism. Trump enjoys the fray. And Trump is still not getting blown out. So he's absolutely going to hang in.
If, for some reason, he starts consistently trailing Clinton by double digits between now and the convention, and if polls show him seriously endangering downballot Republicans, he might still be forced out by the GOP. But he is absolutely not going to quit.