Trump’s rage and thin skin may hurt him

Serial sex abuser Donald Trump (SSAT) has won the first two primary events in the Republican calendar and there is only one person still in the race for the Republican nomination. It is true that his margin of victory over Nikki Haley was only 11% but it is clear that her chances of defeating him are almost zero. So a sensible strategy would be for him to woo the people, both Republicans and independents who voted for her and supported her with donations, so that even though they expressed a preference for her, they would come back into the fold and vote for him in the general election once he gets the nomination.

That is what a sane, sensible candidate would do. But SSAT is a rage-filled narcissist who launches attacks on anyone who does not support him at the present moment. He will attack you until you grovel before him and only then will he be nice to you. The idea of trying to win over potential supporters slowly in the future by being nice to them now just does not seem to register in what passes for his brain. So he has taken to harshly attacking Haley, even calling her a ‘birdbrain’, even if that might turn off some Haley supporters who might very well have supported him once she dropped out.

Stung by Haley’s pointing to SSAT’s recent mistakes as signs that he is in cognitive decline, SSAT has challenged Haley to compete in a mental competency test. Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel is incredulous that she has not seized on this offer. He said that having both sit side by side in a room and answering a set of questions to see who gets the better result would be must-see TV and he has been urging her over and over again to do this.

Rich Lowry is a neoconservative columnist and Republican supporter who also thinks that this strategy is a huge mistake.

Haley is getting skewered by the MAGA right, led by Donald Trump himself, for having the temerity to persist in the act of running for president. She’s a tool of evil donors who are distorting the Republican primary process to weaken Trump ahead of his showdown with President Joe Biden.

And, oh, yeah, according to Marjorie Taylor Greene, her consultants should go to jail.

Now, there’s a natural tendency for a party, once a candidate has established a decisive lead for the nomination, to push other opponents to exit. But the vehemence of the attacks on Haley goes beyond this normal pressure on a trailing candidate; her internal GOP enemies are making a moral condemnation of her, as a political candidate and person, for not suspending immediately.

Trump could choose to ignore Haley and, looking ahead to the general, probably campaign in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia rather than South Carolina, and still win the primary. But her mere presence in the race is deemed intolerable and his most fervent supporters discern the handiwork of a shadowy cabal.

All the indications are that Haley isn’t creating strong loyalists in her element of the primary vote that will follow her wherever she goes. But she is appealing to the Republicans and Republican-leaning independents that Trump needs to substantially bring home in November to beat Biden. Killing her with kindness would make much more sense for Trump than, in irate speeches and unhinged social media posts, reminding her voters why they don’t like him in the first place.

The fault here isn’t with Haley, but with Trump himself.

SSAT has even gone so far as to tell anyone who donates to the Haley campaign that they will be banned from the MAGA camp. Now that threat may well be bogus because SSAT loves money more than anything but the very fact that he is telling potential Republican and independent donors that he does not want their support because they once supported Haley is surely self-defeating.

Then take the case of SSAT’s former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany who is now a commentator on Fox News. She was and is a strong supporter of SSAT and was never a supporter of Haley. On a Fox program, she looked at the results in New Hampshire and saw the same warning signs for SSAT that I and others have pointed out and suggested that SSAT would benefit from trying to win over Haley supporters with a kinder, gentler approach. Here is part of what she said.

“I would suggest that adopting a general election tone is what you do at this point, and here’s why I say this: This was actually a fairly good night for Joe Biden. When you look at our voter analysis, only 10 percent said I would not vote for Joe Biden if he’s the nominee. He won a plurality of voters who said he was too old; he won a majority of voters who were upset about the Gaza war,” McEnany said during Fox’s coverage of Tuesday night’s New Hampshire primary.

“If I’m Trump, I sit back and I exclusively focus on the general election. I take the posture of a presumptive nominee. I focus on, No. 1, uniting the party, and No. 2, winning the independents, which Nikki Haley won 55-39 percent. That’s what I would do,” she continued.

SSAT’s response? He went ballistic on her.

“I don’t need any advice from RINO Kayleigh McEnany on Fox,” he said. “Just had a GIANT VICTORY over a badly failing candidate, ‘Birdbrain,’ and she’s telling me what I can do better. Save your advice for Nikki!”

So he not only viciously attacks his rivals, he not only viciously attacks his rivals’ supporters ( even if they might support him over Joe Biden), he even attacks loyal supporters who have the temerity to give him advice on how to do better.

SSAT seems convinced that the number of hardcore MAGA cultists out there form a massive majority of voters that will sweep him into power whatever he does.

That seems hubristic. In a general election, you cannot afford to alienate your potential friends and allies.


  1. Alan G. Humphrey says

    He thinks he can bully his way into the White House and the last few weeks have reinforced his feeling of invincibility. Over the past couple of months Trump has successfully bullied three judges and in the last few weeks even got his lawyers to act up in court with him showing their contempt of all these courts. And not just contempt, but also showing he cannot be controlled by counsel, is unable to aid his defense, and should have been sent for evaluation to determine his fitness to be in court. Yet there he was taunting judge Kaplan, who then backed down. The money means much less to him than the feeling of victory he gets for violating the rules set forth by these judges, so by suffering no meaningful consequences he is stronger, in his own mind, than them. This is feeding his delusions and thus he thinks he can bully the voters into voting for him by bullying everyone who displays any opposition to his methods. The US justice system exposing its dirty undergarments via billionaire temper tantrums. I look forward to seeing what SCOTUS diarrhea looks like and the resulting election shitstorm -- Depends needed all around. I’m enjoying the spectacle of the death throes of US superiority.

  2. anat says

    If he wants to appeal the 83 million dollar damages to Carroll he has to put the money in Escrow, and he can only appeal within 30 days from the judgment. If I understand correctly, if he wants to get that money from the RNC he has to be the only remaining candidate. If this is the case, then Haley staying in the race for another month can sabotage his plans for appealing that judgment (if he doesn’t have other sufficiently-liquid sources for such a sum).

  3. Alan G. Humphrey says

    His blowhardiness claimed 400M+ liquid assets in the civil fraud trial, so he’ll have problems with perjury if he says otherwise now. Those assets will also make the appeal’s success less likely according to some lawyerly posts I’ve read.

  4. birgerjohansson says

    I want to consider all if this ‘good news’, but I am wary of wishful thinking.
    Also, the Supreme Court has a majority of political commissars of the right. One of them might remember to put the law first, but that is not enough.

  5. Holms says

    Trump’s rage and thin skin may hurt him

    I don’t see why that should start now, these rants are business as usual for him. Trump’s rage and think skin are part of his brand. Have people really forgotten that we’ve known this about him since 2015? The peanut gallery goons that support him do so because he is a tantrum-throwing ragebaby. It’s the legal drama that I think will be more influential.

  6. Allison says

    In a general election, you cannot afford to alienate your potential friends and allies.

    Unless your plan is to do a more successful version of the Jan 6 (2021) coup attempt.
    In that case, you want followers who are prepared to do anything to make you

  7. Alan G. Humphrey says

    The next insurrection seems to have started in Texas with them ignoring the recent SCOTUS decision. More than 20 governors have declared their support, some of which sent armed reinforcements as well. SSAT added his support of this insurrection along with more than a few US legislators. I wonder if this will scare SCOTUS into doing the correct thing about eligibility for government office and announce that all those supporting insurrections are ineligible to hold elected government offices and must leave office immediately or be forcibly removed. (Not a chance.) Imagine hundreds of officials, from sheriffs to governors, state and US legislators from all across the nation, and Poutus himself, all removed and forever banned from office. What a dream. Time for a warm brandy before bed, perchance dreams can come true.

  8. sonofrojblake says

    @Holms, 6:

    Have people really forgotten that we’ve known this about him since 2015?

    It seems standard practice here. Ever since he lost the election in 2020, articles on this very blog and elsewhere have pretty regularly announced that “this is it”, that some thing or other is the end for him, that he can’t come back from this, that he’s done for. This or that bit of publicity is going to harm him, reduce his numbers, make it so that he can’t ever be free to walk the streets …. er, no hang on, he can’t ever be a candidate in the primaries… no, that’s not it, but surely now he can’t possibly win a primary… OK, one, but with all the court cases on there’s no chance he’ll actually be the nominee.

    And over and over and over again these “this will hurt him” articles keep on and on and on coming, in the teeth of the evidence.

    So yeah, in answer to your question, “have people really forgotten?” -- yes. Obviously. Or if they’ve not, they’re deluding themselves really, really hard because the reality -- that Trump absolutely WILL be the Republican nominee, and there’s about an even chance right now that he’ll be President this time next year -- is just so terrible to contemplate that people like our host would rather pretend it’s simply impossible. I mean… I get it. It IS terrible to contemplate. But closing your eyes and whistling isn’t a solution.

    Complacency and arrogance put Trump in the White House in 2016. Even though the Dems this time aren’t fielding someone quite so up themself and tone-deaf, I fear the complacency is already on display. He’s being hammered legally, but I just don’t see enough hammering of him politically. They surely know enough about him now to work out a plan to push his buttons and force him to fail -- it’s not like he’s some kind of strategic genius.

    I’ve said it before -- please, if you’re in the US -- VOTE. And if you can do ANYTHING to get other sensible minded people to do likewise, please, do it. Do NOT take any notice of the people peddling the “this will hurt him line” and absolutely do not think “surely this nutter can’t win”. HE CAN. HE DID. We’ve been there before, please don’t put us back there.

  9. Alan G. Humphrey says

    Yes. SCOTUS not saying anything in *this* decision says everything about the centuries of SCOTUS decisions about federal supremacy at the US border.

  10. birgerjohansson says

    This case is ‘merely’ about money, but if Trump ever has to be dragged away in handcuffs after another court failure, his image as ‘winner’ will be sunk. His cult followers regard him as an alpha* and if he becomes an obvious, pathetic loser much of his attraction will evaporate.

    *Yes, I am aware that modern studies of wolf packs no longer use this nomenclature as it was based on a flawed study.

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