OK, is Donald Trump actually trying to lose this nomination?

I’ve floated this idea a couple of times as a joke, as the GOP’s Gift That Keeps on Giving goes from outrage to outrage, doing and saying things that would be career-ending gaffes for any other person running for the presidency.

Using profanity in stump speeches, attacking a highly decorated former POW for being a POW, admitting that George Dubbya Bush lied us into the Iraq War, etc. etc. … you’ve got to admit, it makes you wonder.

And yet, nothing seems to dent Trump’s armor. The Trump Chumps just love him more. So he keeps ramping up the madness. But it would be crazy to suggest that he was deliberately trying to throw the election. Wouldn’t it?

And then …

This past Monday, Stephanie Cegieleski, former communications director of Trump’s Make America Great Again SuperPAC, wrote an “open letter” to Trump supporters.

She tells of being told when interviewing for the job that Trump’s run was a “protest candidacy.” He had no actual plan or even desire to win, the interviewers told Cegieleski.

“The Trump camp,” she says, “would have been satisfied to see him polling at 12 percent and taking second place to a candidate who might hold 50 percent.” She says she was initially “excited for the change to the debate he could bring.”

But then she began to notice that the man not only has no knowledge of policy, but also lacks “the humility to admit what he does not know — the most frightening position of all.”

The turning point, when she finally broke with him once and for all and decided to write the “open letter,” came when Trump responded to the brutal terrorist attack on Easter Sunday in Pakistan by taking to Twitter, detailing the casualties (and getting the numbers wrong), and proclaiming “only I can solve.”

That was the moment, Cegieleski says, when she realized that the monster she helped create (her words) had broken loose.

He may have started with the “desire to rank second place to send a message to America and to increase his power as a businessman,” but “his pride is too out of control to stop him now.”

So can Trump actually do anything now to derail his crazy train? He certainly seems to be still trying, what with stunts like posting an unflattering picture of Ted Cruz’s wife, Heidi, after a pro-Cruz SuperPAC tried to turn Utah’s Mormons against Trump by spreading a picture of Trump’s supermodel wife kinda nude (meaning that she was nekkid, but tastefully arranged so that the naughty bits were hidden).

Wives, everyone agreed, are off-limits — unless wingnuts are circulating pictures of Michelle Obama Photoshopped to look like a baboon.

Then Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was arrested and charged with battery after surveillance tapes showed him manhandling a female reporter after a Florida rally. Trump, with his usual charm, demanded to know, “If she was being assaulted, why didn’t she scream?”

In a normal campaign, this would have been a serious blow. As you may have noticed, however, this is not a normal campaign. Assaulting an uppity reporter, a female one to boot? That’s not going to hurt Trump a bit. Because, as we’re told over and over, people are angry.

People are so enraged that promises have been broken by the Republican “establishment” that they’ll back someone who promises to be straight with them.

Maybe that’s true. But the problem for Trump is that the promises that people are so upset about are ones that that very “establishment” knew were never going to happen in the first place.

They knew from the get-go they weren’t going to repeal “every word of Obamacare.” They knew they weren’t going to shut the government down until Planned Parenthood was defunded.

They knew they weren’t going to defund Homeland Security over the president’s executive orders on immigration. They didn’t have the votes, and most of them weren’t crazy enough to shut down the government.

So what happens if, God forbid, Trump gets the White House and the angry Trump Chumps discover that, no, Mexico isn’t going to pay for a border wall and we can’t make them? What will those angry people do when we truly can’t deport 11 million people?

What are they going to do when torturing people results not in an end to terrorism, but more of it? What are they going to do when the man who boasts about being the world’s greatest deal-maker starts cutting deals on things they hold sacred?

I don’t know, but I know I don’t want to find out. Trump may or may not be trying to derail his own campaign, but somebody better do it, and soon.

Dusty Rhoades lives, writes, and practices law in Carthage. His new novel, “Ice Chest,” is available now.

(1) comment

Dan Roman

That may be overthinking it.
Trump may have gotten into the race on a whim, an ego trip or a reflexive reaction, like a dog chasing a car.
Dog has no real expectation of catching the car nor any idea what to do with a car if caught, just caught up in the chase.
May well explain Trump.

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