So says Chris Cillizza, whose work lately has greatly improved, to the point where I forgive him all his BothSidesDoIt-ism.
Donald Trump is not really running a campaign for president anymore. Instead, he is involved in an extended revenge plot or is simply following the politics of grievance to its natural, unseemly end.
See, campaigns have a message. They have strategy and tactics. They show restraint and coordination.
Trump, in the 10 days since the release of a hot-mic tape of him making lewd and sexually suggestive comments about women, has done none of those things. Literally none.
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This is end-stage Trumpism. He has proclaimed that the “shackles” holding him back earlier in the campaign are now off. Those shackles, of course, were the attempts by political professionals to transform the rebellion he led during the Republican primary fight into something resembling an actual campaign.
When some in the crowd at a Donald Trump rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., started chanting “Lock her up!” about Hillary Clinton on Oct. 10, the Republican presidential nominee replied: “Lock her up is right.” That hope — if ever it truly existed — is gone forever. It appears as though Trump’s minders have effectively given up, allowing the candidate to pursue his own score-settling and airing of grievances in these final weeks of the campaign. Taking that road may bring some satisfaction to Trump. But it has the potential to do catastrophic damage to the party he ostensibly leads as the GOP tries to hold its Senate and House majorities amid declining enthusiasm within its own ranks for its presidential nominee.
To care about that effect would mean that Trump was running a real campaign that grasped the idea that it’s about more than just the whims of a single candidate. He simply is not doing that.
This is such great fun. Wheeeeee! 24 days to go.