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Hey Look - A Whole Other Trump Disaster

It's hard not to fixate on Donald Trump's string of galactic unforced errors on the campaign trail. But there's a whole different story playing out on the campaign mechanics front - and one that has Republicans rightly worried. According to this new story out from AP, the Trump campaign estimates that it currently has a nationwide field staff of 30 people. 30. This in a country with 50 states.

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Understanding the Turbulence Buffeting the Trump Train

I noted earlier this week that Donald Trump is uniquely reliant on strong poll numbers. Every candidate is dependent on good poll numbers for morale, fundraising and more. But Trump's platform isn't abolishing Obamacare or lowering taxes or kicking more ass in the Middle East. His platform is "winning." So if he's clearly not winning, it's uniquely debilitating. But there's another way to understand this phenomenon, a broader framework for understanding Trump's current rough patch. It is the inherent turbulence faced by a bullshit-based candidate making first contact with an at least loosely reality-based world.

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Trump's Not Doing Poorly; He's Not Even Running

I was online last night when I saw someone say, 'Just think how differently this would be going if Rubes or Kasich were the nominee.' I actually think Clinton would be doing much better in those contests than a lot of people realize. But the counter-factual jarred me into a sudden realization: It's not just that Trump isn't doing well. He's barely running a campaign at all.

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That Seems Interesting

TPM Reader JA sends in the following passage from Wikipedia in response to my recent discussion of narcissistic injury ...

Kohut explored a wide range of rage experiences in his seminal article 'Thoughts on Narcissism and Narcissistic Rage' (1972).[17] He considered narcissistic rage as one major form among many, contrasting it especially with mature aggression.[18] Because the very structure of the self itself is weakened in the narcissist, their rage cannot flower into real assertiveness;[19] and they are left instead prone to oversensitivity to perceived or imagined narcissistic injuries resulting in narcissistic rage.[20]

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This Should Worry Republicans a Lot

Donald Trump has had a terrible few weeks, largely self-inflicted, as I noted here. But as he gets less popular and gets sterner rebukes from Republican endorsers, he's actually getting more scattered in his speeches, darker and more apocalyptic in his imagery. This afternoon he compared America to a terminally ill patient and a country that would seem be like Venezuela. Check out these quotes.

The pivot appears to have finally arrived ... but it's toward a crazier, more fire and brimstone Trump.


Senate Democrats are now filibustering to demand action on gun control post-Orlando. Watch.

How Long Can This Last?

I'll try not to be as callow or preening as Donald Trump, taking congrats and high fives. But I do think the last few weeks confirm a point I made back in early Spring. There's no magic to Trump's political showmanship. The magic we saw through the Spring was a unique bond, a sort of mindmeld of white backlash and derp Trump built on an inspired intuition into the mind of the base of the Republican party. Provocation and offense didn't hurt Trump because, as I argued at the time, he was preaching to an audience that yearned for both as positive goods. Campaigning in front of a general election audience today it's all working quite differently. Over the last two days I heard report after report from our team on Capitol Hill about Senators who were refusing to answer questions about Trump, simply walking away when asked about him, or in a growing number of cases, after his harrowing and unhinged speech on Monday, openly attacking him. The Post has a good roundup of the latter out yesterday evening.

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