Trump trails Joe Biden in national polls by at least five points, as he has done all year. Trump is even lagging behind in swing-state polls. He is down by three points in Florida, five in North Carolina, and seven in Pennsylvania and Michigan. An internal Republican National Committee poll of the 16 least-decided states shows Trump behind in virtually all of them—so much so that he seems likely to drag the Republican Senate majority down with him, The Washington Post reported.
Trump’s psychology is defined by his terror of rejection. The most stinging insult in his vast vocabulary of disdain is loser. And yet every poll, every powerful Biden TV ad, forces Trump to contemplate that he is headed toward a historic humiliation. He’ll stand with Jimmy Carter and Herbert Hoover, the incumbents rejected because they failed to manage economic crises.
Trump failed to prevent the crisis. Out of envy and spite, he dismantled the pandemic-warning apparatus his predecessors had bequeathed him.
Trump failed to manage the crisis. At every turn, he gave priority to the short-term management of the stock market instead.
Trump failed to message the crisis. He not only lacks empathy; he despises empathy.
Angry, scared, and aggrieved by the lack of praise for his efforts, Trump turns for safety to television, where his two-dimensional friends explain how everything is everybody else’s fault. They tell him that he is right and all his critics are wrong. They promise that miracle drugs will—poof!—make all his troubles vanish without effort. Sean and Tucker and Laura and Jeanine and the Fox & Friends romper room tell him stories that hold the terror at bay.
But those stories have drawn Trump into a twisting ghetto of craziness that is impenetrable to outsiders.
Peter Beinart: In right-wing media, the pivot didn’t happen
The “Obamagate” that Trump tweets about—like the comic-book universes on which it seems to be modeled—is a tangle of backstories. The main characters do things for reasons that make no objective sense, things that can be decoded only by obsessive superfans on long Reddit threads.
So you’re saying that the deep state set up this whole elaborate plot to entrap Trump, but instead of using any of that material, it instead sabotaged Hillary Clinton 10 days before the election?
No, no, you don’t get it. You’ve gotta go back to the Benghazi episode four seasons back. Well, really to Troopergate, but that’s only available on DVD …
Biden’s proliferating internet ads hit two themes over and over: the pandemic and jobs, jobs and the pandemic. Those themes are easy to understand. They carry the power of truth. Above all, they are about the viewer: You are sick or scared, you have lost your job or your business—all because Trump failed to do his job.
Trump’s messages, by contrast, are all about him. You are sick or scared, you have lost your job or your business—but let’s remember who the real victim is. Me. Me and Michael Flynn. But mostly me.