More than anything, the Donald Trump campaign is marked by a deep-seated and unrelenting paranoia. You know the apocalyptic sandwich-boarders who, when the End Times fail to materialize, simply keep moving the date of apocalypse forward? That’s Trump, and that’s his base. He would be a genuinely dismal and harmful president; this much is plainly self-evident. Yet any criticism directed at him from the Right is dismissed due to any number of insane reasons: his criticizers aren’t real conservatives, they’re progressives-in-hiding, they’re “cuckservatives,” they’re “establishment” Republicans who are just angry over an insurgent shaking things up, they’re weak-kneed milquetoasts who are terrified of a guy who “talks straight” and “shoots from the hip.”
Trump’s remarks this weekend regarding Megyn Kelly—in which he insinuated that the Fox News host was mean to him during the GOP debate because she was menstruating—should have been the end of this: Trump’s campaign should have quickly, visibly imploded, with his supporters left staring dumbly at each other and wondering how they could have ever been so stupid, like befuddled cult members after the Charismatic Leader has swallowed his poison Kool-Aid: “We wasted so much time on that?” But that almost certainly won’t happen, for two reasons: one, Donald Trump is not smart enough to feel any shame, nor is he capable of processing the criticism he’s receiving. To him, it’s all stimulus, like a blind gorilla being stung by hornets: he knows he’s being attacked, but he can’t make any real existential evaluation of the whole thing, so he just roars and swats and squeals and gets angrier. His base will presumably be enraptured by this response, and all his grunting and swatting will be chalked up to Trump “telling it like it is.”
The other problem is Erick Erickson’s decision to disinvite Trump from the RedState Gathering on Saturday. To be sure, Erickson made the right move: it’s what I would have done, anyway, and this year’s gathering was assuredly more pleasant (and far, far more intelligent) without the sweaty, mumbling, klod-headed presence of Donald Trump to gum things up. Just the same, this will only serve to fire Trump’s base up even more: if you really and truly want to stoke the fires of Trumpish paranoia, just have Redstate’s editor ban Trump from attending an influential, popular assembly of prominent Republican leaders and politicians. Trump’s campaign responded in fine form:
“For all the people who were looking forward to Mr. Trump coming, we will miss you. Blame Erick Erickson, your weak and pathetic leader. We’ll now be doing another campaign stop at another location.”
“Your weak and pathetic leader.” Trump’s campaign now literally sounds as if it’s being run by actual extraterrestrials. I don’t think his campaign is over yet—not by a long shot. He has indicated that he may very well run in a third party capacity if he feels like he’s been treated “unfairly” by the GOP establishment. We’re probably stuck with this gibbering buffoon until at least next November. The Hillary Clinton Administration would almost be a welcome relief afterwards.