The campaign is going to get nastier, a lot nastier. It may surface in tonight's debate. Jeet Heer at the New Republic predicts A Wounded Donald Trump Is About to Go Rabid.
"Facing political extinction, Trump is out to save his brand—by painting Hillary Clinton as a rape-enabler."
Select snippets follow.
It’s almost surely too late for Trump to salvage any chance of winning the election, but that doesn’t mean he’ll heed the calls to quit. Quite the reverse: From Trump’s vantage point, his best option is to shore up as much support as he can with the base of the party, using the defection of politicians like McCain and Thune to weave a stabbed-in-the-back narrative. This would allow Trump to salvage the two things that truly matter to him—his pride and his brand name—in the event of even a crushing defeat in November. And it’s been apparent this weekend that the only path he can conceive of is sinking to new depths and opening up a full-on, tabloid-style assault on Hillary Clinton’s own character.
Like a wounded animal, Trump is becoming ever fiercer even as his faces the prospect of his own political extinction. Trying to link Hillary Clinton to her husband’s alleged sexual misconduct is no way to win an election. It will rile up the hard-core Republican base, sure—and it will offend the very voters (college-educated women) that he needs to win back to have a shot at becoming President.
The “grab them by the pussy” video revealed a breathtakingly ugly side of Donald Trump. But we’re about to see something equally horrific as he tries to paint the first major party female presidential candidate as a rape-enabler. He might not unload on Sunday night; the town-hall format makes such an assault harder, and trickier, to launch. But it’s coming. Because what’s at stake now isn’t so much the election as the Trump brand. And he will fight fiercely, at any cost, to save it.