Way back in July, a seminal Donald Trump campaign moment occurred in the above video. Trump attempted to defend his immigration stance to CNN’s Don Lemon, and the infamous “somebody’s doing the raping” comment came to light. At that point, it was difficult to predict how Trump could keep quadrupling down on his own controversial comments, but he’s consistently done so in an almost awe-inspiring streak.
This past week, especially, has seen Trump refuse to behave like a serious presidential candidate. He’s been delivering epic burn rants on his fellow candidates for some time, but now Trump has jumped toupee first into self-immolation territory. No longer is he simply making uninformed comments about burkas. Instead, Trump’s theatrical performances have progressively escalated in the following ways:
- Trump made a number of bizarre claims about 9/11, including how he saw people leaping from the Twin Towers and witnessed Muslims celebrating the destruction. Oddly, Trump was able to observe both of these things at once;
- Trump called for a Muslim database in addition to continuing to back his famed “wall” on the Mexican border. He also voiced his opinions against Syrian refugees as “a Trojan horse,” and he did so without a trace of irony;
- Trump argued with Bill O’Reilly in such a way that O’Reilly looked like the voice of reason on a number of issues, including Syrian refugees and ISIS;
- Trump called for removal of a Black Lives Matter protester from an Alabama rally, and he praised the violent actions of attendees after they “roughed up” the man, who was “disgusting” to Trump;
- Trump mocked a disabled reporter, Serge Kovalevski of the New York Times, while speaking in South Carolina. Trump (who had spent time with Kovalevski) delivered an “impression” of Kovaleski’s condition, arthrogryposis, which renders his arms inflexible.
Trump later denied making fun of Kovalevski and demanded an apology while insulting NYT‘s alleged decline in quality.
The last point is a lesson in Trolling 101. That is, Trump was confronted with something (or someone) that he didn’t like, so he claimed the news source was going downhill fast. Trump is campaigning for the highest office in the land, and his tactics may have finally had a negative effect. According to the latest Reuters poll, Trump’s poll numbers hit an abrupt downswing this week:
U.S. presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s support among Republicans has dropped 12 points in less than a week, marking the real estate mogul’s biggest decline since he vaulted to the top of the field in July, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.
Trump was the favorite of 31 percent of Republicans in a rolling poll in the five days ended on Nov. 27. That was down from a peak of 43 percent registered on Nov. 22.
Reuters ties these lowered numbers to all of the aforementioned recent moments of messiness. The poll also shows Ben Carson (whose own attempts to generate controversy and home shrine to himself could not overcome his campaign’s disregard for basic geography) falling to 15% with Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz coming in next with 8% apiece. The big news here, of course, is that Teflon Trump finds himself swiftly losing ground.
Is this the beginning of the end for GOP candidate Donald Trump?