Writing for POLITICO this Thursday, John Harris says that things are changing for President Trump as far as his reelection chances go, and it’s not inconceivable that he might drop out of the race.
“The Trump-drops-out scenario hinges on the assumption that Trump is less concerned with wielding the levers of government than he is preserving his role as disrupter at large in American politics over the next decade,” Harris writes. “The latter might be much easier to maintain if he avoids being tattooed as loser in November—especially if the margin is larger than could be attributed, even by his most conspiracy-minded supporters, to media bias or vote-counting manipulation by Democrats.”
Recent shakeups in Trump’s agenda signal a campaign in crisis. There was the cancelation of a recent planned rally, along with the scrapping of plans to hold the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida. There was Trump’s recent “shift” to a more urgent tone regarding the coronavirus pandemic. There was also his reversal on face masks. “But Trump surely must wonder–on the question that matters most to him—whether he was right before and is stuck in the wrong place now,” Harris writes.
“For decades, Trump has fashioned a leadership persona around the mystique of success and strength and indomitability,” Harris continues. “He has long acted as if he believes that mystique is highly perishable. That’s why he never apologizes or says he was wrong. Once one is exposed as having erred, or even having normal human doubt about the path ahead, perceptions change irreversibly from strength to weakness.”
Ultimately, Trump could end up being very lonely this fall. According to Harris, dropping out of the race could convey a “measure of self-awareness” that could possibly somewhat save his historical reputation “higher than it would be if he loses reelection after a remorseless and demagogic campaign.”
Read the full op-ed over at POLITICO.