A recent New York Times piece by Alexander Burns ponders the current status of Donald Trump's campaign. The article emphasizes that, given Trump's profound and diverse mistakes thus far (and especially recently), it might no longer be possible for a divided Republican Party to coalesce behind him before the GOP convention this July.
Here's a paragraph from the article:
Republicans who once worried that Mr. Trump might gain overwhelming momentum in the primaries are now becoming preoccupied with a different grim prospect: that Mr. Trump might become a kind of zombie candidate -- damaged beyond the point of repair, but too late for any of his rivals to stop him.
The piece highlights an interesting issue and underscores how bad things currently are for the GOP. On the one hand, Trump -- in spite of all his flaws -- is not a complete idiot, so perhaps it makes sense to expect him to tone things down and to try to appear (at least slightly) presidential in the months ahead. On the other hand, Trump has already made so many dumb, absurd statements. Should we be that surprised that a pompous guy who wrote a bestselling book called The Art of the Deal might not be the closer he claims to be?
Yes, somewhat paradoxically, those on the right expecting (or perhaps even hoping) for Trump to significantly modify his behavior may now be giving the Donald too much credit. Sure, his message has resonated with a certain part of the electorate. Furthermore, he's figured out that, incredibly, one need not have substance or policy ideas to do well during this election cycle. He's also, unfortunately, made the media work for him. Having said all that, Trump is a sick person. He's a megalomaniac running on a vague platform which promulgates racism, xenophobia, misogyny, narcissism and isolationism.
Trump's literally drowning in lies, misinformation and obfuscation, although he doesn't seem to think there's anything wrong with that. His campaign manager is a thug and Trump doesn't seem to think there's anything wrong with that either. After significant drama and dithering surrounding his foreign policy advisory team, Trump has released a list of people who (to put it mildly) do not inspire confidence.
In short, Trump has run a highly unconventional and utterly disturbing campaign. Let's not assume that he's about to stop now -- no matter how close he might be to locking up the GOP nomination.