The man promised his fans that we would have winning, so much winning that we would be sick and tired of winning. He has delivered to them nothing but a long string of humiliation, bringing dishonor to the nation that he was elected to lead and to the once-proud office that he was elected to hold.
He promised to give America an administration that was filled with the best people, “people that are truly, truly capable.” Instead we witness a rotating freak show, a cavalcade of clowns and cretins culled from the dark corners of American politics to which they are destined to retreat, but not before they get the chance to turn their long-nurtured dreams into our national nightmare.
The relative handful of competent, responsible people that survive in his administration — many of them with a military sense of duty to serve the country, not the man — do not see their job as implementing the president’s whims and fancies; increasingly, they justify their presence by their ability to fend off his worst instincts, to tell him “yes of course” to his face while quietly ensuring that the real answer remains no.
The campaign narrative of betrayal that he spun for his supporters, the story in which they were cast as the victims of an elite conspiracy against their interests and hopes, while he would be their knight on a white steed, has now been rewritten. He has proceeded to make that betrayal a reality, backing health care, tax and other provisions to further enrich and empower the elite that he has long courted, at the expense of those who invested their desperate hopes and votes in him.
He has likewise long craved and sought the respect of Russian strongman Vladimir Putin; instead the Russian leadership now publicly taunts him for his ineptitude and weakness. His generals ignore him or publicly condescend to him. The Chinese lecture him for substituting “emotional venting” on Twitter for the actual hard work of diplomacy; law enforcement leaders publicly condemn his encouragement of police brutality, and under attack he has been reduced to fabricating phone calls of support from the likes of the Boy Scouts and Mexico.
He attacked his predecessor for too much golf and travel and has tried to gut the budgets of important federal agencies, but he himself is now on pace to spend as much on presidential travel in one year as Barack Obama spent in his entire eight-year presidency.
In his dealings with a Congress controlled entirely by his own party, the man who bragged endlessly about his ability to negotiate and intimidate has come up empty-handed, unable to impose his will in large part because he has no concept of what that will might be; instead, his fellow Republicans increasingly treat him as the crazy old rich uncle in the White House down the street.
More than anything or anyone on this earth, he needs to feel loved and admired, and to fill that gaping maw of need he has been given historically bad poll numbers that testify to his disappearing popularity, with majorities in strong disapproval of his job performance. As a result he rants at the television set, or the deep state, or the Democrats, or the Republicans, anything and anyone but that increasingly corpulent man in the mirror.
If the deep state is to blame, it is his own deep state of ignorance and laziness. He has made the amazing discovery that politics is hard, but he cannot wrap his head around the fact that the Constitution made it hard by design. The Founders drafted that document with men like him very much in mind, to frustrate those who would take the demagogue’s route to power, who proclaim that “I alone ….” am the solution.
Donald Trump, alone, is what he fears most. And Donald Trump, isolated and alone, is exactly where this thing is headed.