The Stump of Trump
Has he finally self-destructed?
Bryan Zepp Jamieson
December 4th 2022
Going back to the days of Reagan, we’ve talked about politicians who had a kind of a magic Teflon(TM) shield that protected them, no matter how corrupt, dim-witted or objectionable their actions might be. Democrats attributed this magic to Reagan, Gingrich and both Bushes. Republicans declared it gleamed over the horrors of Obama and the Clintons. In most cases rather than magic, it was just a matter of political inertia combined with a rather dim public that couldn’t really be bothered with the goings-on of government. In the case of the Clintons, they were blessed with getting absolute morons for detractors.
But Donald Trump broke the mold when it came to Teflon(TM) magic. It’s impossible to count the number of events and actions he took that would have driven him from public view and into well-deserved obscurity and contempt. From his “grab them by the pussy” and “some of them are rapists” debut up to his stunning string of rebukes from the courts and from reality, he should have been consigned to a vague lingering foulness on the public mind, a fart in the collective elevator.
Indeed, his supporters had to develop iron-strength shells of denial, disbelief and malevolence of the sort one associates with members of particularly nasty cults that end in mass suicide. It’s normal for followers of any given politician to encounter those who question their intelligence and judgment, but Trump supporters were at such odds with the rest of society that they found their character, sanity and patriotism were open to question, and more and more often, people weren’t listening to their rationalization.
The movement (and it is now a cult movement) reacted defensively by becoming ever more extreme, more violent, more hateful. Most of mass gun shootings in America this year were committed by Trump supporters, often in openly political actions of pure hatred.
Trump himself, now under enormous pressure from all sides, followed and encouraged this same path of psychological crises, leading to a sort of ultimate breakdown.
A psychologist would have no trouble recognizing the mental route Trump is following. He was a child of privilege and believed, with good reason, that he was above the petty laws of the land. With wealth and power he could easily crush those who stood against him in any way, even just honest contractors expecting to be paid for their work. His lawyers could manipulate the law and the courts to ensure that any suit or complaint brought against him could linger for decades unresolved, and proving an unendurable financial burden to those who opposed him.
He is also a narcissist, smug in his belief that he is the only real person in the world and the rest of us just spear carriers arrayed about him for his own personal use, manipulation and gratification. We are wraiths to him, little more than characters in a high-end video game.
But now that is all crashing down. The legal threats, some deferred for decades, have all become very real and very immediate. Actions he assumed he would never be held to account for may result in prison time within a year. He has been forced to confront the fact that his political power has slipped greatly, and the pack of skulking, cowardly dogs that propped him up through two impeachments and endless scandals are deserting and even turning on him. There is blood in the water, and it is his blood.
If he had enough power, he would be extraordinarily dangerous right now. His back is to the wall, and he must lash out.
Fortunately for us, much of that power is gone, residing only in the most craven members of the party, and the vicious and racist trash that have come to dominate the MAGA movement.
But lash out he will. He attacked the wife of the Special Counsel sent to bedevil him. He attacked the wife of his erstwhile ally, the Senate Minority Leader—a racist attack, at that. He applauded the attack on the husband of the House speaker. (See a pattern here? When he can’t quite work up the nerve to attack individuals, he goes after members of their families. He is what Stephen King would characterize as “a Low Man.”)
The latest events would be hilarious if the intent behind them weren’t so grotesque. His meeting with the troubled Klanye West (also an individual in psychological crisis) and the despicable Nick Fuentes (an open holocaust denier, and West subsequently went on to praise Hitler) was incredibly over the top even by the tawdry standards of Trump. He then followed it with his usual lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him with the demand “for the termination of all our rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution.”
Even Republicans found his assertion that the Constitution itself should be terminated for his personal benefit to be too much, and recognized that the greater danger now lay in supporting Trump rather than standing up to him.
Don’t mistake the Republican refutation of Trump for courage; it isn’t. It’s just self-preservation by people who have little to justify their existence to begin with. But it is happening, and with it, the last tattered remains of Trump’s power. He has finally destroyed himself.
Expect wilder and more insane outbursts from him. Except more and more shrugs from his once-avid supporters. MAGA will vanish in much the same way that Nazis vanished in Germany in 1945.
And the wheels of justice will grind him to dust.
He’s finally going down.