David Brooks’s Tuesday column for The New York Times is titled “Donald Trump’s Sad, Lonely Life,” and it only gets crueler from there. He characterizes the Republican nominee as a “friendless” “germophobe” whose “party treats him as a stench it can’t yet remove.” This arouses “deep sadness and pity” in the columnist.
Imagine if you had to go through a single day without sharing kind little moments with strangers and friends.
Imagine if you had to endure a single week in a hate-filled world, crowded with enemies of your own making, the object of disgust and derision.
You would be a twisted, tortured shrivel, too, and maybe you’d lash out and try to take cruel revenge on the universe. For Trump this is his whole life.
Now consider that there’s a decent chance Trump has read this column, given his obsession with the Times’ coverage of him.
Meanwhile, in his Tuesday column for The Wall Street Journal, Bret Stephens reserves his most withering prose for Trump’s “moral enabler,” running mate Mike Pence.
What a shame for Mr. Pence to besmirch himself through dogged fidelity to a candidate whose own notions of loyalty are as one-way as his concept of marriage.
Then again, maybe I’m being too generous to the Indiana governor, whose dismay at Mr. Trump’s behavior might be as sincere as Captain Renault’s objections to gambling at Rick’s Cafe in “Casablanca.” If Mr. Pence is shocked, shocked to discover Mr. Trump is a cad, then he’s a fool. If he isn’t so shocked, he’s a cad, too. As Benjamin Franklin warned in “Poor Richard’s Almanack,” He that lieth down with dogs shall rise up with fleas.
But Brooks and Stephens don’t agree about how this story ends. Brooks, a master of wishful thinking, concludes, “On Nov. 9, the day after Trump loses, there won’t be solidarity and howls of outrage. Everyone will just walk away.” Yes, millions of enraged Americans who believe that Hillary Clinton belongs in jail rather than the White House, and who will be convinced that she stole the election, are simply going to accept this loss and reappear in four years as John Kasich voters.
No. Stephens is more clear-eyed:
On Nov. 9 Republican voters will likely wake up to the reality that they have lost the White House, again, and that they have nobody but themselves to blame, again. As with every addict and enabler, the surest path to recovery begins at rock bottom.
But even this conclusion seems a bit wishful. We have no evidence whatsoever that the Republican Party is even close to rock bottom yet.