Monday, November 7, 2016

The last days of the Trump campaign

I had hoped to write something titled like that as a post mortem for the Trump campaign.

I might still, but reporters for the Washington Post beat me to it with Inside Donald Trump’s Last Stand: An Anxious Nominee Seeks Assurance.

Other than the gems for biographers and political historians, there are ugly lumps of unmentionable substance about what will carry over from the Trump campaign into a Trump administration.

We can anticipate some what drives Trump during the last days. “He requires constant assurance that his candidacy is on track.” “… he is struggling to suppress his bottomless need for attention.”

In the final days of the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump’s candidacy is a jarring split screen: the choreographed show of calm and confidence orchestrated by his staff, and the neediness and vulnerability of a once-boastful candidate now uncertain of victory.

On the surface, there is the semblance of stability that is robbing Hillary Clinton of her most potent weapon: Mr. Trump’s self-sabotaging eruptions, which have repeatedly undermined his candidacy. Underneath that veneer, turbulence still reigns, making it difficult for him to overcome all of the obstacles blocking his path to the White House.

The contrasts pervade his campaign. Aides to Mr. Trump have finally wrested away the Twitter account that he used to colorfully — and often counterproductively — savage his rivals. But offline, Mr. Trump still privately muses about all of the ways he will punish his enemies after Election Day, including a threat to fund a “super PAC” with vengeance as its core mission.

Another way to look at that is as a Nixon on steroids.

Of course, it was not easy to keep Mr. Trump focused. He chafed at his advisers’ request that he use a seemingly canned line in a speech — a call to curb government corruption by “draining the swamp” in Washington.

That particular phrase was used over and over in the news in ads paid for by a PAC that has as its prime contributor a multi-billionaire banker.

And even as early-voting returns indicated a surge for Mrs. Clinton, [Trump’s aides] tried to reassure themselves, over and over, that nobody finishes stronger than Mr. Trump …

Back on his plane, heading into the campaign’s final weekend, Mr. Trump reclined in his leather chair and refused to entertain any suggestions that his unorthodox, unpredictable and now uncertain campaign for the presidency would end in defeat.

“I’m going to win,” he said.

Tell that to the early voters, the groped women, and the dissed Latinos. Check out Trump’s six stages of doom.

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