(Tom Toles)

After having praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for doing away with presidential term limits in China, and watching his BFF, Russian President Vladimir Putin, getting sworn into a fourth term last week, President Trump has now floated the idea of an “extension” for himself. Naturally it was mentioned in a semi-humorous way, but his crowd reacted quite seriously.

In any context, what is humorous about an unending Trump presidency? It’s about as funny as his theory of what he’s entitled to do when he’s a star. In fact, when you think about it, it’s pretty much the same horrific joke. Yes, President Trump would be around 80 years old in a third term, which in dogma years is about 670, but when did old age ever diminish capacity to yell at people to get off the lawn?

Yes, it’s hard to contemplate a third Trump term. It’s hard to contemplate a SECOND Trump term. It’s hard to contemplate a FIRST Trump term. Unless you are Trump, or his band of true believers. To them it’s all the same thing. Trump forever. The only thing harder to imagine than all those Trump terms is him ever stepping down voluntarily. All you have to do is remember the limits of Trump’s self-regard. That’s right: There aren’t any.

Trump, despite his generally dismal ratings among the voting public, has a plan. That plan is to solidify his base into an impenetrable concrete blockhead of support, then manipulate the remaining dynamics enough to win reelection. This manipulation includes, but is not limited to, cowing all opponents in his own party, confusing and/or terrifying everyone else, eliminating legal obstacles (the Mueller investigation, the 22nd Amendment, whatever) and hoping that he can erode the civic fabric of the United States sufficiently that a strong-man ruler in the World’s Greatest Banana Republic starts to look like the best we can hope for.

With recent polls showing a slight uptick of approval for Trump and for GOP chances in the fall, his plan may just be working. If you’re among those still laughing, the joke will soon enough be on you.