Saturday, October 15, 2016


A sentence in this New York Times story about Donald Trump's recent scorched-earth pronouncements jumped out at me:
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.


rclz said...

I think, the plan it to solidify that Todd Aiken 39% into an, I drunk the Kool-aid, cult that will follow Trump right into a media company, with Bannan as CEO, KellyAnn as mouth piece to the ladies, Paul Manafort as mouth piece on foreign affairs and all things Russian, and Hannity as popular right wing tv personality, later to be joined by O'Rielly.

39% of the voting population isn't enough to win the presidency but it's still millions of people who will support Trump. Some of them even have money like Peter Thiel, Robert Mercer and the list goes on.....

DerFarm said...

You might be right, but it won't work.

Trump is an abysmal businessman. Ailes can't control him, Bannion doesn't want to and all three have exaggerated the market. Trump managed to lose $$$ in a boom time while running a casino. That's mind-boggling. That's epic.

Also, please remember that it isn't 39% of the POPULATION ... its 39% of the voters. And significantly slanted to the older population. Advertisers are not particularly interested in over half of his constituency. To say nothing of the fact that no one LIKES Trump. He's Eddie Haskell after 20 years of selling coke and bad condos.

While the political forces that pushed Trump to the fore are going to be with us (probably always), there is no reason to believe that Trump himself is going to be with us past Thanksgiving.

rclz said...

DerFarm, I so hope you're right that he'll be gone after Thanksgiving. He's a terrible person and he emboldens and normalizes terrible people. I know they've always been with us but they use to at least have to pretend some civility.

He's Eddie Haskell after 20 years of selling coke and bad condos. hahaha

Victor said...

After all of the sexual harassment and abuse allegations, it's more like 'suicide by grope.'

If you alienate most non-conservative women, you're guaranteed to lose!
And then, add on the verbal and physical attacks on media members - who you need to get on your side (See: Bush, George W., with his having - 'near-beer' with him; and McCain, John, with his BBQ's)

So, yeah, I think there's an element of political "suicide" in this.

Dr.BDH said...

If we assume the diagnosis by long distance of "narcissist" is correct (always risky) and if Trump thinks like the narcissists I've known, he can't imagine failure. The "I can't fail, I can only be failed" trope applies. That's why he doesn't view any of his obvious business failings as failures. He's "smart," "that's business." In this psychodynamic model, he's angry because his world view is threatened and he's lashing out at that threat, whether from other Republicans, the media, the women from his past. His success in the primaries validated his belief that he is all-important, almost infallible. Now he seeks validation wherever he can: faulty on-line polls, fawning advisors, adoring crowds of deplorables. After he loses the election he will react exactly the same way, grabbing onto any explanation that doesn't involve his being a failure.

If there's a ray of sunshine in this crapstorm the Republicans have brought us, it's that Trump s no more likely to be successful post-election than he was in business or the general election, unless other smarter, less delusional professionals (like the guys who did his taxes) decide to enable him. There will always be some of this human scum swimming around in our national sewer, but they may decide there are better hosts to parasitize than Trump.

None of this, BTW, explains the Republicans who vote for him. That falls under the Right Wing Authority personality disorder so extensively studied and explained by Robert Altemeywr.

mlbxxxxxx said...

Listening to his rallies, he doesn't sound particularly calculating to me, just aggrieved. It seems like he senses the loss that coming -- don't we all -- and this is the death throes of his campaign. A bit like blind Samson in the temple, he is going to try to pull it all down with him. If it's a political suicide, he wants to make it a murder/suicide. I say, more power to him.

He does seem to have a real knack for taking a bad situation and making it infinitely worse. Handled differently, his "boys on the bus" video could have been turned to his advantage. Had he, for example, showed true contrition, some might have believed he really was a new man and rallied to his side. He might have actually expanded his base. Instead, not so much. Really feels like just a matter of time now.

Rand Careaga said...

I think "suicide bomber" is the apter comparison. When he goes down, he intends to take a lot of people and institutions with him, and he's less concerned with the specifics of the damage he inflicts than with the scale.

Feud Turgidson said...

Trump's behavior reminds me of the human child ego development stage where a child feels powerless against parental punishment over something they think they've been wrongly accused of, or misunderstood over, and are forced to suffer cruel & unusual punishment like forfeiting their weekly allowance or being sent to their room, and the child fantasizes about running away from home FOREVER and on their bodies being found lifeless in a ditch, their parents cry & cry, their lives & the lives of everyone ruined over their being so cruel in misunderstanding & mistreating the child who was never admired, appreciated & praised anywhere near what the child deserved.

It's a safety issue: if they don't receive unconditional love, they get scared & lash out to hurt themselves along with everyone around them. Most of us outgrow this, or do mostly.

PQuincy said...

I was impressed by Josh Marshall's analysis of the combination of self-centered and bully that characterizes Mr. Trump. He's lashing out because he's angry and can't fail (that's the narcissist part), but perhaps the reason that his main target at this point is Republican leaders is that they're weak. He's a bully, and he tried, quite visibly, to bully Ms. Clinton during the first two debates, and with his threats before the second one. And he couldn't... she stayed calm and on point and is ignoring him. As a bully, and as a person driven to and fulfilled by dominating others, that's a source of anxiety; but the Republican leadership really _is_ weak: they waffle, they come up with 50 shades of not supporting him (criticize but vote for; not endorse but vote for; etc. etc.), they are easy to intimidate. So it's quite natural for someone of Mr. Trump's temperament to direct his rage at the weak, even if it's self-defeating for any hope of getting elected.

The "doesn't want to win" meme, in contrast, makes no sense to me. Mr. Trump always wants to win (in the sense of lording it over others), and if he doesn't, he's certain it's because the 'game is rigged', etc. He wants to win alright, but lacks either the self-reflective capacity or the self-discipline to act in the way that might actually lead to that end.

Chris Andersen said...

I'm absolutely certain that this is exactly what Trump is trying to do.

He knows he is going to lose, but he can't suffer the humiliation of losing to a girl. So if he can get the media and especially the GOP establishment to turn against him then he and his supporters can cling to the belief that they would have won if they hadn't been stabbed in the back.

That's the narrative that will dominate the post-election political coverage. That and the "Clinton would have lost were she not facing such a bad candidate as Trump" (because the one thing the media can't admit is that Clinton might actually be good).

BroD said...

No, I don't think this is calculated in any meaningful sense.
He is totally out of control with no external reference points beyond the echoes of his rage.

Lit3Bolt said...

I think Bannon is trying to steer it this way. And best of all is it's true! Trump is opposed by the entire media!

Then Republicans have only choice.


What Trump doesn't know is he's being played like a fiddle by Bannon. Bannon knows Trump is an idiot, but gosh darn he's so useful. And Breitbart will be the primary beneficiary. When Trump is no longer useful or finally too toxic for Breitbart (or imprisoned), the Trump voters will be firmly hooked up to Breitbart's and Alex Jones' puke funnel.

Cirze said...

I still think he's counting on the counting of the votes.

Who's doing it, and who's going to be at the polls.

Voters and otherwise.

Stay tuned folks.

It ain't over till it's over.

Monty said...

"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 am intrigued and tempted to think this is the situation, but must finally admit such a scenario involves far more awareness, discipline and strategery than Herr Trump has shown himself capable. He just can't help himself.

Trump and the GOP.

Plebeian said...

Sometimes the simplest answer is the best. Trump is a moron.

To prove this , ask yourself, if you gave a moron a billion dollars and told him (or her) to run for president, do you think he/she would do anything different than Trump?

See, it wasn't that hard.

Ken_L said...

I'm sure Trump wants to win the election. He just doesn't want to be president, and to give him credit, he's made it clear he doesn't intend to be. He wants to be king. Mike Pence will run the country, while Trump continues to hold rallies, send tweets and arrange meetings with foreign dignitaries that will give him fresh opportunities to bellow nonsense.

rclz said...

Ken_L all For some reason all I could think of when I read your comment was the king from the wizard of Id.

Unknown said...

If Trump and company start a media company what would the platform be? What would be the content? Where would the money come from? Who would advertise there?

If the content is anything Trumptastic big money advertisers would avoid because they don't want to tarnish their brands.

Big money loser. Believe me.

BroD said...

Agree with Lit3Bolt

"Trump ... is ... being played like a fiddle by Bannon."

Jim Snyder said...

@Lit3Bolt @BroD: The more I read Trump's words, the more convinced I am that "there's no there there."

Absolutely no self-awareness, just a YUUUGE need for attention and dominance. One might even argue that Trump doesn't think: he reacts. He's a stimulus-response engine... utterly predictable. Doesn't read, can't focus ...

... which is a long way of saying that Trump isn't running his campaign, Bannon is.

Put differently, Trump is being manipulated by Bannon... and will be after the election as well.

Or in BroD's words "...played like a fiddle..."

If you want to know what Trump will do after the election, ask yourself what Bannon wants Trump to do after the election.

Orthodox said...

When he loses and he and all his surrogates make the rounds blaming the media and the RNC, I hope someone points out that he lost because of the things he said. All he had to do was not be overly inflammatory once he secured the nomination. His base would have stuck with him so long as he didn't completely walk back whatever positions they thought he had. It would have been a lot easier for him to trick normal Republicans had he not been in full-on crazy mode 24/7, but he was, and that's because he can't help himself. Because he's an idiot.

rclz said...

Most of you think too big when people mention a media company. They don't really need big advertisers to make bank, they don't really need any.

If there is a media play after Trump I think it's an internet streaming subscription platform. For only 9.99 a month you can get all the hate speech you can handle. Hannity in the lead, with once a week diatribes by your favorite crazy right wing pole, Trump, Sister Sarah, and other luminaries. Occasional rallies that cost 20 bucks or for entrance.....Merch

Trump gets his fix of love from the masses without any real work and Bannon makes money spewing hate.

Say 5 million idiots at 9.99 a month.....

Unknown said...

Rclz - How did your subscription model work out for Palin or Beck?

rclz said...

Palin waited till she was at the tail end of her celebrity and she didn't want to actually work at it. Far as I can tell all she had behind her was whoever writes her tweets.

Don't know about Beck but I suspect he also waited too long. Wasn't his subscription stuff after he'd lost his radio and TV gigs?

The thing is, Trump has Bannon who has a clue and won't wait till it's too late. He'll gear it up as soon as Trump loses thereby not wasting the momentum coming out of the failed campaign.

The tinfoil hat crowd will love it.

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