The Orange Man Donald Trump has so much noise around him, it's as though he permanently walks in the midst of an angry beehive. Just this week alone, he's fought with Gold Star families, called Hillary Clinton "the devil," claims that the New York Times "don't write good," and then publicly shamed someone who brought a baby to one of his speeches. That's just this week. And after Clinton's convention bump erasing pretty much any and all gains that Trump has made so far in the general, it's becoming clear that there isn't going to be some last-minute change to Trump's demeanor, personality, or story that will vault him over Clinton. This is what we're getting, and the American people are rejecting him. No one is happier to hear about this than Donald Trump.
As his poll numbers start to slide and the Electoral College math turns out to be a real thing you can't just handwave away (seriously, every four years people talk about the Electoral College as if it's something new, and not the system we've used since the founding of our republic), Trump now gets to return to what he does best: telling white people that the world is unfair to them, and embodying entitlement as though Aaron Sorkin had written the part specifically for him.
The reality is that he was never intending to be president. Our collective mistake was taking a look at a joke candidacy and giving it all the attention it didn't deserve. Attention, of course, is the utlimate goal for Trump. Attention expands his brand — which isn't as rich as he says he is — and creates the potential to build upon his media empire that all surrounds Donald Trump. Winning the presidency would only put a damper on those prospects. The thing about becoming president is that you have to actually be president. And if John Kasich's people are to be believed, he's been trying to get out of actually governing as president should he win.
But there's no money in being President of These United States, and the one thing Donald Trump loves more than Donald Trump is cold hard cash, something he can never seem to hang on to despite being born on third base with a long lead toward home. As Clinton's poll numbers rise and popular politicians on both sides of the aisle have resoundly condemned Donald Trump's candidacy, the Orange Man is already preparing his exit strategy: to claim that the elections are "rigged," and that he is a victim.
That way, when he is beaten or simply quits the election, he can continue building his media empire under the narrative of "I could've been president, but…" and have a million reasons why he isn't leading the country, allowing his followers all the fan fiction fantasies in the world. Trump the President is far more powerful in the minds of bigoted professional victims than it is in reality.
Because if Trump becomes president, the mask will be ripped off, and his people will realize that Trump doesn't view his supporters as a constituency to help, but as a cash machine to withdraw from.