While delighting his partisans, Mr. Trump’s rhetorical shooting spree has enraged Democrats and unnerved many Republicans, who believe he is acting out a political death wish.I've been thinking that Trump, in an advanced state of delusion, actually believes that his ranting and raving can win him the election -- I've assumed that he's so lost in his bubble of admirers (both the deplorables in his crowds and the cigar-chomping toxic males in his inner circle) that he really believes a majority of American voters want him to verbally abuse everyone who crosses him in the most vicious manner possible, and will be motivated to vote for him because he does so. If that's not his thinking, then it would seem that he's stopped focusing on the election and is just so consumed by rage that his primary goal is lashing out rather than doing whatever he thinks will get him elected (and lashing out wins him the love of the deplorables, so it's especially satisfying).
It hadn't crossed my mind that Trump might have a "political death wish."
I know a lot of people have argued all along that Trump didn't really want to win this election, but if so, there were much easier ways for him to fail to get elected. (He could have just walked off in a huff months ago after any of several dozen real or imagined slights from the party.) Ever since it became clear that winning was feasible, it's been clear that he wanted to win, if just for the glory of it.
But is he trying to lose now? Specifically, is he trying to provoke a high level of outrage on the part of the media and the political establishment so that he can blame them for his loss?
That would be a sort of "suicide by cop," I suppose -- maybe Trump foresees his demise but finds the notion that he brought the demise on himself so unbearable that he wants "the authorities" to be responsible for it. So he goads them, hoping they'll pull the trigger (and now they've pulled it).
I can't tell if that's what he's thinking. I don't know if he really believes he's winning. I don't know if he really thinks the election is rigged. It's possible that awareness of his own likely defeat has driven him to do whatever will help him avoid shame, which, in his view, might be bringing on a firestorm of establishment disapproval that he can then blame for his demise. I'm still more inclined to believe that he finds anger exhilirating and knows it's the quickest route to the praise he craves. But he may have that death wish.