Cheeto Jesus was going to fall to earth sooner or later. The laws of electoral physics had not been repealed nor had Americans gone totally crazy. The problem was whether he would run out of hot air before we ran out of calendar.
I take no pleasure in having long ago predicted the outcome we are now on the verge of realizing: A mighty Election Day rebuke 15 days hence in the form of a popular and electoral vote landslide victory for Hillary Clinton, who bless her goodhearted if troubled soul, might well have been defeated by any number of Republicans fitter than Donald Trump.
I take no pleasure in having gotten it right because that has not spared me the wrenching ordeal of someone who bleeds red, white and blue and has watched his beloved country teeter on the precipice because of a sociopath's overweening lust for acceptance beyond his closely-proscribed orbit of celebrity and glitz and his consuming anger when that acceptance is not forthcoming. Such as at the Al Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner the other night in what Esquire's Charles Pierce called "the Los Alamos of after-dinner speeches" when he was lustily booed by New York's glitterati because of his bitterly tone-deaf remarks about Clinton.
Oh, the night sweats I endured as Trump seemingly closed the gap in early September before those laws of electoral physics finally kicked in. Then, having flown too close to the sun, his wings began to melt, his descent commenced and accelerated.
But while Trump may have been the Icarus of modern-day American politics, he was no Pygmalion. Despite repeated promises from his campaign that he was going to pivot and become a contender with honest-to-goodness appeal to more than angry white men, he was pathologically incapable of making any such out-of-character transformation.
Trump has cared only about himself, while his supporters with their Make America Great baseball caps have been merely stage props in a stratospheric flight of fantasy by a spoiled brat with a propensity for reckless cruelty, someone who we now know may never have done an honorable or honest thing in his life. Trump has drilled so far into our heads that we failed to understand that the election has been just another business deal for him. That it was just another sad chapter in the devolution of the Republican Party has been obvious. What hadn't been obvious until the final debate in Las Vegas last week is that Trump had stopped running against "Lying Hillary" and was now running against democracy.
Actually, the Icarus analogy is pretty lame considering that Trump has spent the entire campaign in the gutter. And this certainly is no time for high-fiving, because we now have to consider the implications of his crash landing, which could be a good deal messier than the proverbial cleanup in Aisle 5.
I would feel a lot better about the mess being contained had the Republican Party not gifted us Trump in the first place and, lest we forget, its abominable record on "respecting" presidential election results.
Since 1992, there have been two Democratic presidents, each twice elected. After Bill Clinton was first elected, then-Senator Bob Dole made a big deal out of saying it was the job of his party to represent the people who did not vote for the president, and then the party tried to throw Clinton out of office when he was re-elected. The GOP has been openly brazen about trashing Barack Obama, and historians will long ponder how much greater his successes would have been -- and how much healthier and more secure the country would have been -- had the opposition not been so unrelentingly disloyal to the point of outright treason.
Having said all that, I cling, perhaps naïvely at this late date considering the Trumpkins' blanket disconnect with reality, to the belief that there will not be anywhere near the chaos that The Donald's intemperate remarks are encouraging.
This is because:
* There is no evidence that Trump's supporters are planning to lock and load and double-step down to the nearest inner city polling place to make sure the Coloreds are on their best behavior.
* There may not be protests after the results are announced because Clinton's victory will be so great, including wins in some red states, that the legitimacy of the vote won't be in dispute.
* There is the possibility that Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell, the two top elected Republicans, will concede for Trump if he refuses to do so in the face of an overwhelming loss.
If the Republican Party's goal has been to destroy Obama, Trump's goal now seems to be to destroy the presidency. But there is no margin for a chastened GOP leadership in trying to prevent an orderly transition of power by balking in the face of Clinton's victory.
Trump's view of America has turned out to be as small as his hands, while the only thing he has been good at is making excuses. (His latest whopper is that he has kept bringing up Bill Clinton's indiscretions because Michelle Obama did it first.) There simply is no excuse for the party that gifted us Cheeto Jesus to prolong the Trump Agony beyond Election Day.
Republican Party leaders should want it to be over as quickly as the rest of us do.
POLITIX UPDATE IS WRITTEN BY SHAUN MULLEN, A VETERAN JOURNALIST AND BLOGGER FOR WHOM THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN IS HIS 12th SINCE 1968. CLICK HERE FOR AN INDEX OF PREVIOUS COLUMNS.
© 2015-2016 SHAUN D. MULLEN