So the big guy wants a donnybrook then.
It began with Lindsey Graham announcing on Fox News a day or so ago that there will — not may — be “riots in the streets” if Donald Trump is indicted by the Justice Department. Trump then reposted Graham’s remark on his badly failing social media outlet Truth Social, which, like most of his ventures, appears to be headed for bankruptcy, only this time there’s no Papa Trump to show up at the casino to buy a stack of chips to bail out the scapegrace son. Now, Trump has gone on something of an internet bender, indulging his thwarted Twitter impulses by posting over sixty times on Truth Social. If the venture goes belly up, it won’t be because Trump ignored it.
As Trump tries to seize the spotlight, the GOP is squirming. Some candidates, such as Arizona’s Kari Lake and Blake Masters, are all-in, determined, as Greg Sargent observes, to stick with Trump: “It remains to be seen how heavy an albatross Trump will prove to be for Republicans. But one thing is clear: many GOP candidates appear committed to requiring the party to find out.”
But the louder Trump bellows, the faster the Democrats are rising in the polls. Winning the Senate has become an iffy proposition. So has a landslide in the House. As Ronald Brownstein notes, the GOP’s midterm prospects have moved from tsunami to puddle: “While the focus on the economy and crime encouraged voters to simply grade the performance of the party in power – the classic ‘referendum election’ frame — the new concerns have highlighted stark differences between the two parties and defined the election more as a choice between antithetical directions for the nation.”
The problem for the GOP is pretty basic: Trump sees himself as an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and should be recognized more and more.
Whether Trump’s showboating portends a civil war is dubious. The reverse is probably the case. Any attempt at a violent uprising would be crushed by federal authorities and represent a political disaster for the GOP. The fact is that Trump’s readiness to repost a fusillade of zany messages from QAnon adherents and 4Chan, including a bogus quote from Ivanka condemning “the useless vaccines,” suggests that he’s grabbing at any potential lifeline, however frail and frayed. It should not be read as a sign of confidence, but as glaring weakness. The act has become faded and routine. It’s sagging as visibly as Trump’s own physique. If he’s no longer willing to claim credit for the Covid-19 vaccine, what’s left of his presidency?
The spiciest thing about Trump remains his kinky sexual obsessions, which apparently extend even to the secret documents he squirreled away at Mar-a-Lago. This lifelong packrat had one titled “Info re: President of France.” He liked to brag to his confederates about Macron’s “naughty” sexual proclivities without specifying them, prompting some to wonder whether Trump was concocting it all out of thin air.
It will be a tall order for his new lawyer, Chris Kise, Florida’s former solicitor general and a former advisor to Florida governor Ron DeSantis, to represent Trump in his feud with the Justice Department. If there were a Nathan’s contest for chewing through lawyers, Trump would be the all-time champ. Until now, Trump has been decidedly on the backfoot, failing to file a request for a special master before the Justice Department had even gone through the classified documents he claims are his personal property. He wants to be master of his own fate, but fate has mastered him.
As Trump’s plaintive call for restoring himself to the presidency yesterday revealed, he’s in emotional freefall. It’s his hated nemesis, Joe Biden, whose fortunes are on the rise.