Seeing Trump gasp on the White House balcony after leaving Walter Reed on Monday, & try to hide that gasping from the people, was one for the ages. His solitude at that moment was absolute, as he stood there absurdly pantomiming victory, saluting his own chopper as it vanished into the darkness.
Desperate hubris, desperate rage, but fighting to the incoherent bitter end, all of that was clear that evening. So too was Trump’s visceral, pathologic drive, and his immense force of will, and his endurance and charisma, & the unsettling sense that when all is said and done, even president himself has no understanding of his own true motives.
He is, above all, primal & carnal, and more than any president in history has served as a conduit for the cathartic expression of fury that alone seems to serve as common ground in the America of 2020. Trump does this for both the left & the right. He does this for everybody, race-baiting, dog-whistling, tossing lit matches everywhere, even as we let him do it, and lap up the spectacle with such unseemly glee.
He is only one man. Both his strengths and his flaws are obvious. When he loses the election in a month’s time, which by any fair measure he must, he loses everything. By showing no mercy, he invites none. By taking pleasure in cruelty, he permits his enemies to come for him with their own savage forms of joy. They are gathering now, just over the hill, waiting for the morning of Nov. 4.