The Presidency Is Trump's to Lose—The Sequel
Over eight months ago, August 19, 2015 to be exact, I wrote the following:
We're still over five months from the Iowa caucuses and -- astoundingly -- it's increasingly looking like the 2016 presidential election, not just the nomination, is Donald Trump's to lose.
It's not only the polls, which are swinging his way. He has changed the nature of our electoral politics into a reality show with himself as star. Read his interview in Wednesday's Hollywood Reporter if you're looking for confirmation. Everybody else in both parties looks boring by comparison. We pretend to be interested in the others but Donald is all we really care about, even bourgeois liberal critics when they try to dismiss him. (The WaPo's David Ignatius is now likening Trump to Putin, as if Donald were about to invade the Crimea. Well, he might put a hotel there.)
That seemed a bold prediction at the time — that the presidency, not just the Republican nomination, which he now has, was Trump's to lose. But it really wasn't so courageous. It was almost obvious, if you would let yourself look. And equally obviously, it still holds true. With all the sound and fury, nothing has changed.
Donald Trump did alter the nature of American politics, possibly forever, but at least for the foreseeable future, the moment he came down that Trump Tower escalator to announce his campaign. And he will, most likely, be the next president of the United States.
The only one who can defeat Donald, then as now, is Donald, by shooting himself once too often in the foot, although, at this point, I'm not sure that is possible. He is particularly fortunate that his opposition, Hillary Clinton, besides still being under threat of indictment and still not having defeated Bernie Sanders (go figure), is a truly uninspiring, almost soporific, figure who is starting to resemble the old Helen Hokinson cartoon characters from The New Yorker. It's hard to pay attention to what Hillary's saying for more than a minute. She's not a star. Trump is. All attention will be on him in the general election. The primaries have shown us what an advantage that is. What that means for American politics may not all be good, but it's true.