[A]mid all the hand-wringing over what he may or may not do, don’t let Trump snatch away your own agency and attention. David Axelrod, as canny and experienced a political observer as there is, reminded everyone not to get overly distracted by Trump’s performance art. “You do wonder if the POTUS would sooner have us talking about his outrageous comments on the election than the 202,000 dead of COVID-19 or the 870,000 additional Americans who filed for unemployment this week,” he tweeted.
Axelrod might be giving Trump too much credit. The president doesn’t think strategically. He thinks like a toddler.
When Trump amassed billions of dollars of debt he couldn’t repay in the early 1990s, he ran to his wealthy father and siblings to help bail him out. As things snowballed, he carped publicly about how poorly banks and investors were treating him. They weren’t taking away his hotels, airline, casinos, yacht and other properties because that’s what they did to deadbeats — they were doing it because they had suspect motives and weren’t loyal. His reality TV show never received an Emmy — not because the show was awful, but because the awards were unfair.
So it goes with his re-election bid, albeit with much more significant stakes. Trump wants to pretend the system is stacked against him because he knows he’s in danger of losing, perhaps badly. In 2016, his claims of a rigged election reached a crescendo when polls suggested he would lose. It can’t be his fault, and he can’t be a failure, if everything and everyone around him conspires against him.
I suspect Trump is also aware that if he is forced to exit the White House and lose its protections, he’s more vulnerable to fraud investigations that imperil him and his children. It’s likely that has him on edge, too.
So expect Trump to remain in overdrive, seeding the waters with tumult. But don’t let him scare you. [Continue reading…]