In August, after Donald Trump's Republican National Convention had been marred by a plagiarism episode, and his temper had thrust him into a feud with a Gold Star family, Time magazine drew the candidate's bellowing visage on its cover and printed beside it a single word: “Meltdown.” The illustration, I wrote at the time, looked “as if someone took a flame thrower to the face of Trump's wax statue at Madame Tussauds.”
Two months later, Time's updated version of the cover looks as if the same statue has been caught in a wildfire. All that remains is a puddle. The headline now reads “Total Meltdown.”
With 26 days left to the election, the wax might yet be reshaped into a solid form. But the liquid mess on Time's front seems like an accurate picture of Trump's campaign right now.
In the past week, The Washington Post has published a recording in which Trump boasts about being able to “do anything” to women because he is famous, four women have come forward to accuse the Republican presidential nominee of groping them, and several former beauty pageant contestants have claimed that Trump entered dressing rooms to gawk at naked women — a habit he bragged about on the Howard Stern radio show in 2005.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) has effectively blacklisted Trump, John McCain and other Republicans have unendorsed him, and Christian media outlets have denounced him. Polls, needless to say, are moving in the wrong direction for him.
Many words have been written about the state of Trump's campaign, but Time's picture, as they say, is worth a thousand.