Trump has been in the wilderness ever since the Billy Bush tape knocked his already off-course campaign far, far off-course. Trump has had moments where he seemed like a classic underdog politician, but they’ve been undermined by Trump’s instability. Saturday’s “Gettysburg Address,” for instance, in which he laid out a plan for his first 100 days in office, was overshadowed by the fact that he spent fifteen minutes railing against the women who accused him of sexual assault. (Trump promised to sue his accusers. He won’t.)
On the one hand, his rallies are more venomous than ever, especially now that Trump himself has embraced the “lock her up” mantra. But on the other, Trump has been increasingly reflective (for him), often asking the audience if he did the right thing by running for president. Here’s Jenna Johnson’s Washington Post report from a rare Sunday Trump rally:
Trump has said he plans to campaign as hard as he can because he does not want to look back and regret not holding “one more rally” in a key battleground state. But on Sunday evening, he seemed unsure about his original decision to run, suddenly halting from reading a teleprompter speech to ask the audience.
“When I’m president, if companies want to fire their workers and leave — Are you okay? Listen. When I’m president, this is to me, like, this is why I started. Are we glad that I started? Are we happy?” Trump said, as the crowd encouragingly cheered him on. “Well, I’ll let you know on the evening of Nov. 8 whether I’m glad.”
Trump continues to insist that he’s winning the election, citing increasingly obscure polls in his defense. But he also appears to be trying to wrap his brain around the prospect of losing the presidential election. And more pathos is yet to come. Trump has always been more Regan than Lear (and his children, at least, seem less shrewd and more loyal than Lear’s), but as he lashes out more and more, these pitiful moments are becoming common.
Of course, it’s also possible that losing will change absolutely nothing. On Sunday, Trump told the audience that he wants to continue having rallies for eight more years, no matter who wins on November 8. God help us all.