On the eve of the presidential election, the New York Times could have made its front-page centerpiece about Donald Trump’s vague policy prescriptions, volatile temperament or spotty record of conservatism. Instead, the Times devoted a final, pre-Election Day takeout to a more personal theme: the Republican nominee’s insecurity.

Here’s the opening:

Donald J. Trump is not sleeping much these days.
Aboard his gold-plated jumbo jet, the Republican nominee does not like to rest or be alone with his thoughts, insisting that aides stay up and keep talking to him. He prefers the soothing, whispery voice of his son-in-law.
He requires constant assurance that his candidacy is on track.

Then there is this paragraph a bit farther down in the story:

In the final days of the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump’s candidacy is a jarring split screen: the choreographed show of calm and confidence orchestrated by his staff, and the neediness and vulnerability of a once-boastful candidate now uncertain of victory.

After 17 months of media coverage dedicated to what Trump says and does, the Times is closing with a look at what the real estate mogul thinks. And what he thinks, according to the Times, are many insecure thoughts.

Monday’s report-cum-psychoanalysis cuts to the core of Trump’s image as an epically confident, swaggering outsider who personifies the greatness America has supposedly squandered and can reclaim only by electing the ultimate #winner.

Online, the lead image in the Times story is of Trump, photographed from behind, reading from a teleprompter — a crutch he once said should be outlawed for presidential candidates. The whole effect is a deconstruction of Trump mythology, not an appeal to logic or principle but rather a signal that the GOP standard-bearer might not be the strongman he plays on the stump.

Predictable, liberal media propaganda, you say. But wait! Trump’s own campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, recently told New York magazine about a conversation in which she had to psych up her doubt-filled candidate.

“I got really mad at him the other day,” Conway said. “He said, ‘I think we’ll win, and if not, that’s okay too. And I said, ‘It’s not okay! You can’t say that! Your dry-cleaning bill is like the annual salaries of the people who came to your rallies, and they believe in you!’ ”

Republican-congressman-turned-MSNBC-host Joe Scarborough, who maintained a friendly rapport with Trump until February, told Politico’s Glenn Thrush in June that the billionaire “is insecure.”

“That’s always driven him — I’ll say it — bats--- crazy,” Scarborough said.

From Trump’s repeated efforts to compare his own bravery to that of military veterans to his irrepressible need to tout the size of his hands (and other anatomy), his insecurities have been on display throughout the campaign. Now the Times is putting them front and center a day before voters head to the polls.