Trump is the most predictable politician of our time because he is, as his niece Mary L. Trump pointed out in her book, entirely incapable of changing his worldview or personality. Affixed in the right-wing media bubble that insulates him from reality, he becomes more estranged from actual events, indisputable facts and even his own record. The same features that defined him when he was a self-promoting, albeit failed, businessman still define him — and seal his fate.
First and most important, he is shockingly lacking in empathy to a degree that strikes ordinary people as inhuman. Children orphaned by his cruel child separation program? Obama built the cages! Some 222,000 dead Americans from covid-19? Learn to live with pandemic! The fear Black parents carry that a normal encounter with police will prove fatal to their children? Next to Lincoln, he’s the best president Blacks have ever had!
Trump’s opponent is the candidate most capable of exposing Trump’s soullessness, because he is defined by empathy and decency. Former vice president Joe Biden delivered the perfect summation Thursday night: "What is on the ballot here is the character of this country,” he said. “Decency. Honor. Respect. Treating people with dignity. Making sure that everyone has an even chance. Now, I’m going to make sure you get that. You haven’t been getting it the last four years.”
Second, Trump has always been a conspiracy monger, a know-nothing and a non-reader. He grabs on to whatever garbage floats his way on the stream of right-wing blather. He now is entirely unintelligible to those who do not immerse themselves in the make-believe world of talk radio, Fox News fiction and Russian propaganda. (Disclaimer: I am an MSNBC contributor.) He has become the nutty neighbor in the tin-foil hat, the dotty relative who cannot see others scoffing at him. Only someone trapped in an alternate universe would think that babbling on about Hunter Biden would get him anywhere. It is fitting that the right-wing media that has done such a grave disservice to the country in spreading racism, undermining objective reality and assaulting democratic values is now an instrument of Trump’s downfall.
Third, Trump’s inability to retain anyone with a spine or a conscience means he is surrounded by third-rate yes-men, scoundrels and self-promoters. A con man is often an easy mark — too vain and too self-involved to detect when he is the one being scammed. Only yes-men would acquiesce to his releasing the “60 Minutes” interview with CBS News’s Lesley Stahl, which portrays him as peevish, whiny and weak. Only yes-men would lower debate expectations for Biden and perpetuate the false accusation that he is mentally unfit (thereby allowing Biden to impress viewers simply by uttering complete sentences).
Michelle Obama had it right: The presidency does not change who you are; it reveals who you are. Trump’s Achilles’ heel has always been his deformed character and limited intellect. The race comes down to a damaged, broken man trapped in his own web of lies struggling to bring down a serious, honorable opponent. It’s a race Trump lost as soon as Biden seized the nomination.