As Vice President Joe Biden pointed out last night at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia; his rhetoric depends on blasting low-cost labor nations that supply his shirts and products. Donald Trump doesn't run a business. He runs a brand: his own. For a culture that the GOP often derides as narcissistic and contaminated by "moral relativism", Trump is the ultimate narcissist and moral relativist.
What "very, very successful" businesses he has run have largely depended on breaking contractural arrangements, stiffing clients and suppliers including many from the middle class he swears to protect if elected to the most powerful elected office in the most powerful nation in the world.
Trump's bull-in-a-china-shop approach to the White House appeals to American voters fed up with rules that reinforce the greatest wealth disparities in US economic history. But there isn't a shred of evidence that Trump understands the middle class or public arena except how to herd people into it by drumming fear and anxiety from behind.
"Blow the bridge up!" is the only feat Trump is capable of, and such is the resentment of a small segment of Republican voters that the theme has overtaken the GOP.
On every topic, Trump offers multiple views. Even his core issues; immigration and ISIS are subject to daily change. The wall will be twenty five feet high. The wall will be five feet high. The wall will be three feet thick. The wall will be built of Mexican cement. We will ban all Muslims. We will ban some Muslims. We will ban some terrorist nations. We will ban all terrorists nations.
That's not "breaking the rules": that's pathological. When, last night at the DNC, Biden pointed out that governing is not a reality TV show, it is reality, he pierced the popular resentments that are Trump's fuel and fire.
The only illumination Trump provides is to his own political party, the GOP. With Trump, ordinary Republicans finally rebelled against the party's "moral majorities" and "values voters" in service of oligarchs. Except they rebelled through a candidate who does, in fact, fly around in his own Boeing with his name blazoned on the side.
Trump is working the plot points from the popular "Hunger Games". He is the PT Barnum of our times; the circus empressario and small-town politician of mid-18th century America who famously paraded an elephant. (Not an elephant tail, cut from a safari conquest, like the one triumphantly held aloft in a trophy photo by one of Trump's sons. Who does that?)
The world's dictators are cheering the emergence of one of their ilk on the American presidential stage. For the broad American electorate -- including Republicans and Independents -- for that reason alone, the GOP, its leadership and candidates for high office who delivered Trump as the best in class does not deserve the popular vote.
These are trying times, but "blowing up the bridge" is actually what Republicans have been trying to do for decades under the guise of an agenda that virtually assures failure-by-design at every level of government.
The question voters ought to be asking: once the bridge is blown up and everyone cheers, hooray!, how will you get from one side of the river to the other, because on the other side of the river is where your job is, where stability is, where democracy is.
Put another way: Donald Trump and the GOP Senate are not pruning the tree of Democracy and liberty, they are sawing off the branches where the rest of us live.