Donald Trump is the best thing to happen to impressionists since at least George W. Bush, if not since Nixon himself. In addition to talking like a Jerky Boys character, his word choice is so consistently weird as to offer anyone who mimics him a readymade vocabulary: tremendous, (h)uge, great, believe me, trust me, you’ll see, I do not have a personality disorder, I’ll sue you for defamation, et cetera. Maybe none of the entries in this lexicon is as strange as “bigly,” a word Trump says—or people think he says—a lot. According to the New York Times and linguist Dr. Susan Lin, however, he’s actually saying “big league.” I thought we all agreed on that.
I though I’d never say this, back in January, but I have had enough of this election. What started out as the most interesting contest in recent memory retains its powers of fascination, but now it fascinates like the video from your colonoscopy. The end is predictable; we’re just looking closely at the shit. But what if the conclusion, while forgone, is not the conclusion at all? What if losing the general election is just another step in Donald Trump’s march toward Washington? It’s a farfetched idea, but Trump laid the groundwork for it this weekend, when he stepped up his insistence that the election is “rigged.”
Donald Trump seems poised to give us the general-election campaign we wanted all along, in which he goes bananas and tears apart the Republican Party before—this part is really important—losing. Yesterday, Paul Ryan told Republicans on a conference call that he would no longer campaign for Trump and direct his energy toward protecting their majority in Congress instead. Although he did not withdraw his endorsement, the announcement was widely understood to capitulate the presidency, and narrowly understood to betray the nominee. Trump himself took the narrow view. This morning, he used Twitter to issue an ominous…promise? Threat? Status update? You can decide what this is:
It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2016
It is nice. I assume he means he can finally focus on detailed policy proposals and rebuilding the dignity of the working class. But maybe he’ll just bash Muslims.
On the morning of the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, no less a soothsayer than Nate Silver believes this election is a dead heat. His FiveThirtyEight forecasting blog gives Clinton about a 52 percent chance to win the presidency, compared to Trump’s forty-eight. Let us pause here for a moment and consider how crazy that is. Trump has no experience in elected office, spent most of his time in the public eye as a punchline, and launched his campaign with a flurry of gaffes and lies that has become a blizzard since. A rational electorate should not like him. But he is running against a candidate who embodies the Democratic Party, and that brand is in danger of becoming toxic.