In a speech yesterday, Trump was on point, as in: speak very slowly, look at the teleprompter. But the result was the same as if he had ranted, raved and blown his house down, per usual.
He proposed "extreme" vetting for would-be immigrants, i.e., loyalty oaths. Does it sound like McCarthyism? Trump means it to sound like McCarthyism, explicitly saying the Cold War supplies a model, built to deal with communism, that we should take out of storage and apply to Islam.
Same with waterboarding, for Trump a starter torture, to be followed by the — always "extremely" — harder stuff. Christopher Hitchens, whose unending support for the invasion of Iraq was despicable, at least said, about waterboarding, try it on me. They did. He didn't like it. Would Trump? And then comes the harder stuff?
Teleprompter or no teleprompter, today was Trump at his Trumpiest, fomenting and running on fear/hatred of the other, the outsider.
The definition of outsider shifts and changes, of course. In 1989, five black kids were charged and convicted of assaulting and raping a woman jogging in Central Park. Those kids had deeper roots in the United States than Trump, whose paternal grandfather arrived in 1885, whereas their parentage goes back earlier, as in they came as slaves, and no need to pass a Loyalty Oath. Trump, the very same Donald we see on the national stage today, already a NYC big mouth and big shot, took out full page ads in the papers calling for the death penalty for these kids.
Each and every one of them was exonerated.
(See the Ken Burns documentary, The Central Park Five, for more.)
Many of those who deemed them guilty and wished them dead have stepped up to reconsider.
Back to the present, I love this bit, from a NY Times piece about Trump in Detroit:
When Donald J. Trump went to Detroit last week to deliver a speech on his economic proposals, he laid the chronic problems of the heavily black city at the feet of his opponents, saying Democrats had a stranglehold on power, "and unless we change policies, we will not change results."
But Mr. Trump had no firsthand encounter with the very difficulties he described: He flew into the city on his private plane, got into his sport utility vehicle and motorcaded on highways past several black neighborhoods before reaching the downtown convention center where he addressed the heavily white Detroit Economic Club.
Jonathan Martin and Yamiche Alcindor, "G.O.P. Urges Donald Trump to Broaden Outreach to Black Voters" NY Times 8/16/16
Trump's going to lose. Of that, I think, many of us who have ached for that conclusion, are more and more certain.
Though nothing is certain.
Still, I think a lot of us who have focused our attention on the defeat of Trump are sparing some thought to what happens next, to what happens when he's beaten.