THE LONELIEST MAN ON EARTH

As I write this on Monday evening I'm aware of how many people feel about jinxes and other such tempting forms of bad logic, so let me preface this by saying that the assumptions here are based on all of the available data (actual data, discounting hunches, gut feelings, magical theories about how data is wrong, and so on) suggesting that Trump is highly unlikely to prevail on Tuesday.

If you're Donald Trump, this has been a hell of a ride. He relishes attention like whales relish krill, and it's hard to think of any person in the history of the modern world who has gotten more attention of this duration and intensity. American media, and to a lesser extent that of the world, has been Trump-focused for the better part of 18 months now. It has been impossible to get away from him or to avoid hearing his name, and god knows a lot of us have tried. If his goal was to bask in publicity and attention, to force everyone to focus on him whether they want to or not, then inarguably he succeeded. He succeeded beyond even his own wildest dreams. 2016 has been the Year of Trump.

It's all about to come to a screeching halt, and I think he knows it.

Three weeks ago, noted twit David Brooks offered a surprisingly thoughtful take on "Donald Trump's Sad, Lonely Life." It felt premature; as long as this election continues, he will be surrounded with people variously doing his bidding or kissing his ass. I do think Trump is sad, as Brooks muses, but I believe it's because some part of his twisted psyche knows that he isn't going to win and he knows, ultimately, what that means for him. On Wednesday morning, he is going to wake up to find himself the most hated man in the world. He will be able to count the people who want anything to do with him on one stubby little hand.
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That everyone to the left of Mitt Romney hates him is obvious, not to mention already true. But for the sake of the party, many people in the Republican orbit have been…well, they've pursued a number of strategies. Humoring him. Faking enthusiasm. Going through the motions. Tepidly and generically offering ambiguous statements of support. Endorsing him in language that does not actually endorse him. It's rational behavior on their part.

But here's the thing about Republicans, and about American conservatism more broadly: the movement can never fail or be wrong. It can only be failed and be wronged. It is always the candidate's fault. And oh my god and baby jesus in heaven are they going to throw Trump under the bus the second this election is over. He thinks, at this moment, that his followers are going to be loyal to him. Some of them will retreat into fantasies that he was cheated out of victory. Most of them will grow to see him (with the encouragement of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy and its mouthpieces) to see him as that most loathsome of all things in their worldview. They will see Donald Trump as a loser. For a movement based entirely on concepts like superiority, dominance, and nonspecific Winning, for a group of people that adulate Winners above all else, Donald Trump is not going to be able to survive being a Loser.
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The Republican establishment, already in full Damage Control mode, will declare him persona non grata. His paid campaign staff will drift away and sell their stories to salivating media outlets – "You won't believe how terrible he was!" The media will leap at the opportunity to stop pretending for the sake of Balance to treat him as anything but a joke. And that army of numbskulls he believes will follow him to Trump TV will find that Fox News, right wing radio, and the rest of the noise that makes up their lives is pushing a new, curiously convenient message: He was the problem. He's a loser. He failed. We need a winner. We need to move on. We were so close, and we would have won if he didn't screw up so much. People who screw up and say "Grab 'em by the pussy" on tape aren't winners. They're losers.

We all know how effective the noise machine is at establishing its preferred narrative of reality. It will turn on Trump. Everyone associated with him will run for cover. Every Republican failure in this election year will be laid at his feet. And then it will move on. Fox and the RNC and the Koches and everyone else will say, "See? We told you so. Now never disobey us again," and the entirety of the Trump phenomenon will go down the memory hole. He will be marched before the firing squad and preserved as a corpse that will be dragged out only when the base needs to be reminded of the consequences of deviating from the path determined by their right wing elders.

Remember, nobody in the GOP wanted or likes this guy. Fox News banged the drum against him and only recently (and half-heartedly) supported him out of some sense of obligation toward the R next to his name on the ballot. We've seen the right tear into one of their own with amazing ferocity even when that person is someone they generally hold (or held) in high regard. Imagine what they will do to a con man who infiltrated their ranks at a time of weakness and made a mockery out of the party to the point where the brand name may be damaged permanently.

Trump on Tuesday evening will be a convict enjoying his last meal before execution, and he knows it. The saying goes that in politics that first they love you and then they turn on you, a bit of wisdom that bodes particularly poorly for someone who They didn't love in the first place.

47 thoughts on “THE LONELIEST MAN ON EARTH”

  • "He will be marched before the firing squad and preserved as a corpse that will be dragged out only when the base needs to be reminded of the consequences of deviating from the path determined by their right wing elders."

    Change some details and you could be talking about Ralph Nader.

  • There will be a huge amount of egg on many people's faces if DT wins. And i'll be applying for Canadian citizenship.
    Trump himself is bad enougn. But we in Indiana had enough of Pence as governor, and with Trump busy with his business activities, he could be essentially running the country.

  • I sure hope you are right, because he certainly has an army of alt-right boneheads happy to follow him to the ends of the earth.

  • I think you underestimate Trump. I do not think he will win the election, but he will turn the whole thing into a positive for him. It is hard to see how, but there is nobody else on earth so good at capitalizing on bad publicity and public excoriation. By the end of 2017, the Trump brand will be stronger than ever, in part because people will hate him more than they used to. You can count on it.

  • I'll say this. For all of the "Deplorable!!!!1!!!" Facebook posts, there are lifelong, loyal Republicans who aren't supporting Trump. I know of neighbors of family members who had put up a sign for every Republican for years that refuse to put up the Trump sign. I have a family member who used to work for Chuck Hagel's office when he was in the Senate and she is telling people that Pence is no good. For all of Trump's reality TV star popularity, there will be people who just leave it blank or don't vote or check for that moron Johnson. And then the party establishment will send out the marching orders and Trump will go through the ringer of hate radio from those who once worshipped him. And it will be interesting to see if the Vulgar Talking Yam goes on the offensive against the Rs that "betrayed" him of if he will go quietly into the night. I hope he goes ballistic and starts the TRUMP party and fractures the Republican party, leaving it to be a smoldering crater of feces. I'm not optimistic.

  • Since the conservative movement cannot be wronged, I imagine much will be made of the fact that Trump was, not too long ago, a registered Democrat. And thus further proof that the GOP needs to lurch even further right.

  • Ed, did you see the thing on Facebook about Donald Jr.'s dorm neighbor at Penn? How he was a falling-down drunk and one time Donald showed up at his dorm and slapped him across the face, knocking him down?

    I wouldn't wish alcoholism on anyone, but goddamn at least you'd never question the fact that Mittens had a loving family to fall back on.

    Brooks was, for once, spot on.

  • Trump's ultimate fate is of no great concern. It's his army of rabid followers that has me worried. They will feel betrayed by the reassertion of the business-as-usual Republican Party, which will find that it is impossible to woo them back with their time-tested wedge issues. The leaderless disaffected right-wingers will be easy prey for the next demagogue, who will assuredly be smarter and smoother. Like Ted Cruz, for starters.

  • I hope his surrogates, especially people like Giuliani, Stone, Lord, Conway, et al, will be pilloried every time they show their face in public.

  • "On Wednesday morning, Trump is going to wake up to find himself the most hated man in the world."

    And the Trump brand destroyed.

    Maybe there is a God after all.

  • This whole post rings true. Trump is going to be the new brand of toast. But doesn't that mean they'll just be careful the next one they spawn cleans up better? That would be even worse. because even this excrescence got enough support to get within shouting distance of winning a couple of times.

    Or maybe this whole national mud bath has given me PTSD and so I'm incapable of believing there's a path out of it.

  • philadelphialawyer says:

    Alan C has it right, I think.

    Already, and for months actually, this has been the GOP NeverTrump line. Trump is a NYC liberal, libertine Dem. Pro abortion, pro gay, pro Clintons. Never was onboard with the Religious Right. Always more of a pay for play guy than a capitalist. Some even say that he was put up by the Clintons to win the GOP nomination and then be a patsy for them. And/or that it was really cross over Dems who won the GOP primaries for him.

    And, truth be told, some of the above is actually accurate, and the fact is that Trump did actually attack Bush on Iraq (if only this year, and not back in 02 as he claims), is against free trade (his one consistent position over the years), and did not make smashing the safety net his number one priority. And Trump says nothing about Federalism, States Rights or limited government. I doubt he even knows what those terms mean.

    And the Trump racism? Well, that is what Democrats do, right? Obama is the "real" racist. Just like Andrew Jackson, John Calhoun, Jefferson Davis, Senator Bird, George Wallace and Justice Black before him. Pretty much the same with the late breaking Trump anti Semitism, as that is the exclusive preserve of leftist critics of Israel.

    Cruz was the "real" conservative who should have won. Or, a watered down but supposedly serviceable for the general electorate(a la Mitt or McCain) conservative, like Rubio or Kasich.

    Sure they don't want Trump, but the idea that they don't like him because he was too "conservative" is not even remotely conceivable in their world view. He clearly was not conservative enough, or at all, really.

  • Leading Edge Boomer says:

    The presidential election has been over, regardless of the talking heads, for some time now. The suspense is Senate control, so do what you can (neither of my state's Senate seats are on the ballot).

    Trump can invent his subscription web site (at little cost) where he can vent invisibly to the rest of us. The damage to Ryan and Pence is long-lasting, I hope. Ryan will lose some support, and may be deposed or resign–he will never be POTUS. I see Pence as a tight-skin masked guy hiding his religious fanaticism, but others see him as a kindly daddy sort of politician–go figure.

  • Not good enough. He and his kids need to be made poor, broke, utterly destitute — like living in a refrigerator box in an alley, offering handjobs for crack level of broke. He needs to be made a cautionary tale for angry peckerwoods who haven't read a goddamned book since they dropped out of ninth grade.

  • c u n d gulag says:

    Oh, that poor, flabby, bigoted, lying, Cheetos-colored narcissist…

    He richly deserves the complete abandonment that's coming.

    For a man whose whole life has been spent trying to be the center of attention and be considered a great winner, Wednesday will the first day of a special kind of Hell for one of the world's biggest losers!

    t-RUMP will have his own 'circle of Hell.'
    A circle with only one occupant.
    And even Satan (that's what he called Hillary) won't pay any attention to him.
    t-RUMP's name will become synonymous with the word loser.

    He t-RUMPED-UP!
    He's a trumper!!

    BWA-HA-HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

    Oh, I could go on and on like this. But I'll spare you good folks?

  • I don't know about all that. I can see the Republican elite treating him like a lap dancer the morning after a bachelor party, but the conservative masses love him and don't care much for their party's leadership. He hates the same people they hate, and serves his white nationalism neat, without a bitter cocktail of economic stuff they don't believe in or care for. And he wants a government big enough to punish everybody the conservative masses are angry with. I see an even bigger split between the leadership and the majority of people they have. Even hustling for the last forty years.

  • If someone compared bloggers with subsequent reality, I suspect you'd score highly. You really ought to break out somehow. Only thing I'd disagree with is I bet he hunkers down in his bubble/bunker and sticks around awhile, Palin x10.

    I voted Obama rather than Clinton 8 years ago because Iraq, but also I couldn't bear the thought of Clinton Derangement Syndrome any more. I got ODS, of course, but HRCDS will be worse. The nightmare is not anywhere near over, just a new chapter, and the feminist bitch will be worse than the uppity black boy.

  • Heywood J.–(does the J. stand for 'Jeremiah'?) that's a very mean-spirited wish, & I endorse it completely. Alas, I fear Trump's life will go on much as before; this will be a 'We'll always have Paris' paragraph in his obit, his year of adulation, when he almost got to be POTUS.

  • I disagree on this point:

    Fox and the RNC and the Koches and everyone else will say, "See? We told you so. Now never disobey us again," and the entirety of the Trump phenomenon will go down the memory hole.

    The genie released by Trump is not going back into the bottle. Trump may be a Loser tomorrow, but the party elders failed to stop him getting the nomination in the first place. That makes them Weak, and in the lexicon of the GOP base, being Weak may be the only thing worse than being a Loser.

    All of these petty and mediocre emperors are completely naked. The GOP is wide open for some more intelligent and competent demagogue than Trump to seize control — maybe Ted Cruz, maybe someone else.

  • There's a curious–and perversely appropriate–parallel between the way in which the Muslim community has been unfairly demonized by the conduct of a vicious minority within their faith (perversely appropriate because conservatives generally love to throw out the cliche of "Police your own people, or you're just as bad as the terrorists"), and the way in which the GOP finds itself regarded widely as the Party of Trump: a group is deemed monstrous because it has a smaller number of monsters who associate themselves with the larger brand.

    Of course, that parallel breaks down when you consider that the Muslim majority do not quietly agree with the behavior of their monsters. The Muslim majority prefer peace and co-existence to violence and jihadism.

    The same cannot be said of the GOP and its Trumpist base. Paul Ryan (who needs to be a SERIOUS contender for this year's Lieberman award, by the way) is every bit the racist, misogynist, classist piece of shit that Trump is–if you doubt me, check out his policies and see who would suffer mightily under them, and who would benefit. And Mitch McConnell is just Jesse Helms with a better publicist. These guys are utterly dreadful–the only thing they don't have in common with Trump is that they are professionals (not necessarily GOOD ones, but still.)

    Trump's stink will hang in the air–but he didn't bring it in with him. He's like a guy in an elevator where everyone is farting and pretending they're not farting and then he lets one rip and instead of pretending he didn't fart, he reaches around for high fives because "that one blew the fucking doors off, amirite?!"

    He'll leave, and good riddance. But Ryan and McConnell will stay–Trumpism will remain; it'll be like watching GOODFELLAS on basic cable–yeah, the swears and the spatters will be bleeped and trimmed, but it's not like in this version, Tommy has a change of heart and joins the Peace Corps while Henry and Karen discover the true meaning of Christmas.

    Will Trump himself go on? Sure–like Palin did. Trump will still be rich, and will still be clickbait, so there'll be a place for him in the dialogue (EPSECIALY IF TEH DIALOUGE IZ IN ALL CAPZ AND MISSPELED!!1!) There won't be a place for him at the table–but that doesn't matter. Ryan and McConnell were already at the table–the party never needed Trump to be the Party of Trump.

  • Do not descend into the quagmire of punditry. These are the times that try men's souls. They are not over yet. God help us if they have just begun.

  • I'm one of those "Registered Republican" progressive Sanders supporting democrats (I got to caucus for Bernie and vote for Trump in the primary by switching my registration twice) in a red state who voted for Drumpf as the easiest R to defeat. I've heard that rumor that he's a stooge for the Democratic Party for a year or so. It's fun to imagine but that is all it is, imagination. I doubt he actually wanted to be the nominee but once he was his love of the spotlight kept him going despite the major financial hit his brand has experienced. He values fame more than money.

    While he may no longer be relevant in the traditional republican party after today his supporters will have to be dealt with by the establishment in both parties. The same is true for the Sanders supporters such as myself. The genie is out of the bottle and I doubt it can be managed, let alone put back in the bottle. I see Ted Cruz in four years openly calling for a Theocracy inheriting the Trump supporters.

    Our defacto two party system is deeply entrenched. Will we see the splinter political parties in my lifetime? Doubtful, in my opinion, since it takes massive amounts of money to fund a viable nationwide or even regional political party.

  • @Lalo Khezia –

    I don't know if Trump's life will go on much as before. He'll be fine, for sure, but his entire life has been a desperate attempt to get the attention and approval of the Manhattan upper crust.

    The rich pay attention to him today because he's their chance to elect a Republican, but tomorrow they'll abandon him as even more of a clown than he was before this nightmare started. He's effectively traded in whatever chance he had at the approval of the genteel class for the rabid admiration of a bunch of uneducated yokels that he couldn't give two shits about, and that's going to crush him. Plus, his reality TV and licensing careers are going to be toast.

  • Little Donny is the epitome of the GOP elite and the much-feared Base. The GOP should get no break on this, ever. Little Donny needs to be thrown in their face every fifteen minutes (or whenever the GOPers launch an investigation into President Clinton–whichever is more frequent).

    It is not like The GOP did not carefully craft and nurture the Base that Little Donny so masterfully stole out from under their lame asses. He did it fair 'n' square, too! He reinforced what they had been told for 40+ years and the told them what they wanted to hear.

    Death to the G.O.P.

  • The G.O.P. needs to look to the first half of it's history, if it could live up to that, it could be relevant again.

  • This was a great post, with thoughts I haven't read anywhere else. I think J.D. is right re: Trump's perennial desire to be included in the society page crowd. They've dropped him like a hot rock, whether he realizes it or not. Never will have an ex-presidential candidate fallen into such ignominy, untouchable both politically and socially. Will many reporters note his absence from future charity balls and New York glitz? In NYC, I'll be watching. Maybe it's back to the wrestling world for him, though they may not want the association either.

  • Emerson Dameron says:

    Ted Cruz missed the chance of a lifetime to be the French Resistance of conservative politics. And thank god for that.

  • You make a good point. Frankly, I've been fearing that Trump will never go away, but you give me hope. On the other hand, losing the election didn't keep McCain from being a fixture on the Sunday shows, but he's a very different beast from Trump.

    Wouldn't surprise me if Trump refused to ride off into the sunset and made an independent run in 2020. He loves working the crowds and it's a great grift, so why the hell not?

  • Emerson Dameron says:

    @JustRuss:

    My expectation is that he will become a more horrible version of Sarah Palin. When Clinton's honeymoon is over and she begins to face significant challenges, Trump will exploit his grievances, cling to relevance, and latch on to new anti-Clinton talking points. As time goes on, he'll become more embarrassing and depressing until even his core fans will lose interest. He will roam the earth as a cruel punchline, forgotten by all but a few and showing signs of steep psychological decline.

  • Emerson Dameron says:

    @JustRuss:

    From the perspective of a narcissist who Can't Lose, staging a comeback in 2020 would be about the most foolish thing Trump could do. He'll be Perot in 1996 or Palin in 2012, with an extra dose of compulsive self-sabotage. (Not that I think he won't do it.)

  • The way a narcissist handles losing anything by their own hand is by blaming it on everyone else. He will blame it on the other Republicans who "betrayed" him. He will certainly blame it on the system being "rigged" (and, as we know, has already begun Phase One of this little game to cushion his ego). He will blame it on the Democrats and certainly on HRC for concocting some sort of elaborate scheme that involves a vast network of people, because, you know, she could never just win on her own merits against a guy as great as Donald Trump.

    When a narcissist can't control you, they will attempt to control how others see you. He will take this incredibly personally. He may snoop (or get others to snoop) around to get dirt on HRC or other prominent Dems (or anyone he considers a threat) in every effort to make them look bad, and possibly go to great, ridiculous lengths to accomplish it. He will foster intense paranoia within his supporters and encourage the undermining of the entire system. He will encourage them to "take matters into their own hands". This will be music to their ears, because a major reason they found Trump so appealing in the first place is because they feel so powerless in their own lives.

    The only way to defeat a narcissist is to go full no-contact. They thrive on attention, and he will attempt bigger, more outrageous nonsense to get it. The MSM will not have the self-control to stop indulging him. WE have to have the self-control to turn off the tube, refuse to click on Trump-related news articles, and make it generally unprofitable to continue covering that asshole and he will eventually go away. Eventually. It's like training a dog that barks incessantly for attention to shut the fuck up. He is going to be a thorn in everyone's side for a long time.

  • a major reason they found Trump so appealing in the first place is because they feel so powerless in their own lives.

    Powerless to dominate their wife, their kids, their employees.

    And who might be identify group composed of these powerless bully-wannabes?

    The 2016 Democratic Party is a coalition of non-college-educated, working-class people of color; middle-class people of all races and ethnic backgrounds; younger people; college-educated white people; and a large majority of women. The Republicans, on the other hand, are now the party of non-college-educated white people and a small sample of everyone else.

    Will they be just sane enough to merely cry in their beer as they fondle their guns and bibles, worrying when they'll be packed off in shackles in FEMA trailers to Area 51?

  • Emerson Dameron says:

    @Mo:

    Trump supporters aren't really losing ground. They're upset that anyone else is gaining ground.

  • The difference between John McCain still being somewhat relevant to Sunday morning talk shows is that he is, and has been for years, a sitting Senator. He's a lifelong politician who ran for POTUS and lost. Trump is is political nobody and reality TV loser who doesn't understand thing one about how government works and somehow got elevated to GOP candidate by the idiot hordes that comprise the base. And for the life of me, I cannot fathom how that could have happened. I think he's burnt toast after this. I just hope he has also damaged the party.

  • I think you're right, to a degree. The Right Wing media will turn on him and portray him as a loser…but I'm not sure the Alt Right genie can be forced all the way back into the bottle. I'm not sure that the people who gravitated to him in this election will continue to gravitate to HIM – they probably won't, mostly because he's too old to run again so why not gravitate instead to the next him? A very large chunk of them may continue to buck the more conventional Republican party. If there's one thing this election has shown, it's that the Ryan wing of service cuts, tax cuts, and free trade forever has a lot of money behind it but very few votes. They can try the dog whistle stuff with the welfare demonizing as excuse for tax cuts for the wealth, but the base has a taste for the air raid siren and I'm not sure they are willing to tone it down anymore.

  • The GOP is stuck with Trump for some time to come. The worst thing he did to them is expose their secret psycho fringe to the rest of the country. Nowhere to hide anymore. They didn't dodge their own bullet.

    The GOP is still stuck with Ted Cruz though who is the only Republican more hated than Trump. It will be a thing of beauty.

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