In response to Donald Trump’s apparent suggestion that someone kill Hillary Clinton to protect gun rights, Congressman Paul Ryan dismissed it as “a joke gone bad.” Although trivializing another Trump appeal to violence probably isn’t a good thing, I think Ryan has put a button on the whole Trump phenomena. The whole Trump campaign is a joke gone bad.
When Trump began his campaign with supporters he had to pay for at Trump Tower, there was every indication he had no intention of actually winning. He had no platform, no organization, had done no research, and hardly had any idea of the issues.
But that was OK. For some years now, Republicans ran for president not to be president, but to sell books, increase their speaking fees, and if they’re incredibly successful, get a gig on Fox News. Newt, Huckabee, the pizza guy, are all examples of this trend, and Sarah Palin is their shining example of national elections as a get-rich-quick scheme.
Trump’s TV show was falling in the ratings; he knew it wouldn’t last much longer. His best shot was to get a show on Fox, and his best shot at doing that was making a splash by running for president.
Tragically, Trump has a history of failing upwards, making bigger mistakes the higher up the ladder he goes. And this last one was a whopper — he actually became the nominee. At first, it was great: he left a field of wanna-bes in his wake; he sucked up all the attention in the country; every night, thousands of strangers would cheer him. This was primo heroin to an addict; life couldn’t be better; he was making Trump Great Again.
But then he needed to run a convention and then build and manage a real national campaign. Both projects were beyond him. So he’s left with his same old racist act, saying outrageous things to get media attention, and watching his poll numbers slip away. He won’t just lose, he’ll be humiliated, and then he’ll be assigned to the Republican dustbin. No Fox News, no high speaking fees. Just a joke gone bad.