Donald Trump is trying to win this election. He wants to be president. I’m sure of it. Like, 95 percent sure.
But here’s the thing. Let’s say you were trying to lose an election for president, lose it as spectacularly as possible, lose it so badly you destroyed your reputation forever. Wouldn’t you do pretty much everything Donald Trump has done over the past 18 months – up to and including his meltdown on Twitter in the wee hours of Friday morning? Just look at this (not even close to comprehensive) list.
—You’d launch your campaign with some sort of horrific, immediately disqualifying racist attack, say, calling Mexicans rapists. Presumably you’d have to drop out before your campaign even got started.
—You’d never meet with or talk to ordinary voters about their lives and about what they’re looking for in a president. The early primaries are traditionally filled with face-to-face interactions in diners, state fairs and town halls, but you would never, ever do this. You’d just hold big rallies.
—At those rallies, you’d encourage literal violence against protesters who show up. Your supporters would scream at, shove and even punch these people, and you’d offer to pay legal fees for anyone who committed violence against them.
—You’d also spend a good portion of those rallies accusing the members of the press – surrounded by your fevered supporters – of being vicious, biased liars, working the crowd up into a frenzy against them and putting them in personal danger.
—When some of those members of the press wrote negative coverage of you and your campaign, you would ban them and their entire publications from your events.
—You’d propose something so ridiculously opposed to the fundamental values of our Constitution that it would immediately be met with derision from all decent Americans, like banning all members of an entire religion from entering the United States.
—You’d make that proposal – along with an absurd idea of an enormous wall across our entire southern border that somehow you’d get Mexico to pay for – your signature ideas. But you wouldn’t craft anything in the way of serious policy proposals. The ones you did suggest would be thin and easily debunked as unrealistic. You would constantly change your tax plan, and make it clear you’re never very sure what’s in it.
—You’d insult one of the most universally respected members of your party in the most patently offensive way. If he were, for example, a former prisoner of war, you’d insult him for being captured. That would infuriate anyone with the most basic sense of decency, ensuring virtually no one would vote for you.
—You would lie all the time. All the time. You would lie about little things and big things, and the vast majority of your lies would be easily disproven. You would never, ever admit that you’ve lied about anything, and you would call anyone who reports the truth about you, your ideas and your past a liar.
—In fact, you’d call lots of people lots of nasty things. You’d get into petty squabbles with opponents, journalists and politicians in your own party. You’d come up with stupid, juvenile nicknames for people you didn’t like, and you’d repeat them over and over and over again. Your social media feeds would be littered with weird and ungrammatical insults. You’d punch so far down, so hard and so often, your arms would be sore.
—You’d pick fights with incredibly sympathetic average Americans. You’d say a judge was unable to decide a case against you fairly because of his Mexican heritage, essentially calling out your own racism. You’d insult the parents of a soldier who died in Iraq protecting troops under his command. You’d call a former Miss Universe winner fat. You would never, ever apologize to any of these people or admit anything you said or did was wrong.
—Meanwhile, you’d take any criticism directed your way incredibly personally. You’d call anyone who questions you “nasty,” with genuine hurt and surprise. You would be amazed that opponents run negative ads against you, and you’d call them deceptive even when they were nothing more than your own words.
—Speaking of ads, you’d barely run any of your own.
—You wouldn’t have much of a staff either, or field offices, or a serious program to get out the vote. You’d barely run a campaign operation.
—The money you did raise, you’d spend on your own businesses. You’d jack up your rent on yourself once you started raising real money, making it 100 percent clear you are trying to line your own pockets with donors’ cash. You’d rent your own ballroom to yourself at ridiculous, exorbitant rates.
—The first person running your campaign would be an inexperienced thug in way over his head. You’d stand behind him when he physically attacked a female reporter, but you’d push him out when you start dropping in the polls.
—The next person running your campaign would have suspicious ties to a murderous dictator, but that’s OK because the murderous dictator said some nice things about you once.
—When that same dictator directed his government to hack into your opposing party’s files, you’d suggest they hack your opponent herself.
—The third person running your campaign would be the publisher of an explicitly racist website.
—Speaking of that racist website, you’d make sure your candidacy attracts the support of the most offensive, hateful racists America has to offer. You’d constantly offer them little dog whistles, like a graphic that puts a Star of David with the word “corrupt” over a pile of money. You wouldn’t denounce racist public figures when they express support for you. You’d have one of your sons constantly interacting positively with racists online to send them the message that they have your support.
—When it came time to debate your general election opponent one-on-one, you wouldn’t prepare almost at all. You’d flail and sputter, lose control and lie so many times the fact checkers have to replace the keyboards on their laptops. Your performance would be nearly universally panned, but you would declare yourself the winner based on easily rigged online polls.
—The fourth person running your campaign would be a pollster who doesn’t explain to you that online polls are meaningless.
Don’t get me wrong – Donald Trump is definitely trying to win. I’m, like, 79 percent sure of it.
From abortion to Zika, here are all the reasons you shouldn’t cast a vote for the GOP nominee. Watch here.