This is a good time to remember the widespread reports that Trump did not expect to win in 2016, nor did he want to win. Rather, according to these same widespread reports, he saw his presidential run as a branding exercise, and a prelude to setting up some kind of Fox News-like operation in which he would become King of the White Trash and make a lot of money off their ignorance.
Who knows what’s rattling around in his delusional head right this minute? But a working hypothesis that would explain most of his behavior is that he still yearns to be King of the White Trash and make lots of money in that capacity.
But, now, I think he’s well and truly boxed in.
32 percent of the population would probably love to see the U.S. military cleanse the streets of all those diverse peaceful protesters. But I really believe that ain’t happening. If given an unconstitutional order, I think most of the military would just refuse to obey.
Besides which, it looks like the cops—be they good cops or bad cops—are doing a pretty good job arresting the looters and the arsonists. Which gives even less purported justification for unconstitutional use of the military—unless you are among the quarter to a third of the population who believe in enforcing white supremacy, by terror if necessary.
Trump’s remaining supporters want him to be “strong.” But if he can’t send in the Army, what kind of performative strongman act can he do? The one he did on Monday night looked lame. In retrospect, it only looks lamer.
So what can Orange Man do to “project strength”? Tweet out his support for Georg Floyd’s killers? Praise the Buffalo police officers who almost killed the elderly white guy?
But if he doesn’t “project strength,” how many of the 32 percent will still be with him?
What if God’s Chosen One—God’s 21st century answer to King Cyrus—turns out, instead, to be the little man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz?