Wake Up and Smell the Flop Sweat

Trump in a corner

Eugene Robinson, Trump’s escalation of racism means one thing: He’s worried about reelection:

Some traumatized Democrats may have lost all faith in polls following the 2016 election, but Trump hasn’t. We know he pays close attention to the numbers. …

Indeed, the Fox News national poll of registered voters showed Trump losing to former vice president Joe Biden by 10 points, 49 percent to 39 percent. It also showed him losing to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) by six points and edging the other top-tier Democratic candidates, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), by a single point each.

Another survey released last week must have made Trump break out in a cold sweat. A Quinnipiac poll of registered voters in Ohio — a state Trump won in 2016 and absolutely needs to win again — showed him trailing Biden by eight points, 50 percent to 42 percent, and statistically tied with all the other leading Democratic contenders. Losing Ohio would almost surely mean a landslide electoral defeat.

The Robinson piece doesn’t discuss in any detail exactly why juicing up the racism might be linked to fear of losing. Instead, Mr. Robinson attributes Trump’s recent behavior to underlying temperament. And, surely, temperament is a big part of it. But here’s the other thing. Health care is important to the voters, and they have decided they now like Obamacare. Taxes are important, and the voters don’t much cotton to big tax cuts for the immensely wealthy.

Trump and his enablers fall back on fear and race-baiting because fear and race-baiting are all they’ve got.

Not genius. But not exactly clownishness, either. Just the only tactic a cornered animal has left to employ.