Skip to main content
Open this photo in gallery:

U.S. President Donald Trump holds a protective face mask with a presidential seal on it, in Ypsilanti, Mich., on May 21, 2020.LEAH MILLIS/Reuters

The countdown on Donald Trump’s reign of error has begun, surely.

George Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter revival it sparked has helped isolate a remote, lonely leader even further. His gross mismanagement of the COVID-19 crisis has convinced some of his most ardent supporters he is no longer suitable to hold one of the most complex and demanding jobs in the world.

Even his Twitter feed, for ages a worry but also a deep fascination for many, now often reads like the rantings of a deranged lunatic. He recently gave voice to an unfounded right-wing conspiracy theory that the 75-year-old protester pushed to the ground by Buffalo police, causing blood to pour from his ear, was actually an antifa provocateur who staged the whole thing.

“I watched,” the President tweeted. “He fell harder than was pushed … could be a set up?”

It prompted the journalist and former television anchor, Dan Rather, to suggest on Twitter that the problem was not that Mr. Trump tweeted the comment, but rather that “he entertains this insanity.”

Polls, meantime, reveal numbers that would scare any president.

One conducted for NBC News and the Wall Street Journal released last week showed that 80 per cent of Americans believe things are out of control in their country. That number included 66 per cent of Republicans who were surveyed.

A wave of new polls aggregated by the New York Times also show that Mr. Trump’s support is waning fast. For instance, his net approval rating has tumbled to minus-13.8 percentage points among registered voters or people likely to vote, down from minus-6.7 points in the middle of April, according to estimates by FiveThirtyEight, the website that provides opinion poll analysis for the newspaper.

Democratic challenger Joe Biden leads the President by an average of 10 percentage points, according to FiveThirtyEight. The attrition in Trump support is evident across demographic lines, but is particularly acute among women.

So this is the beginning of the end, isn’t it? The swan song of the most unqualified man to ever sit in the Oval Office. The long goodbye of an individual (and the pathetic cronies with whom he surrounded himself) who led arguably the most chaotic and incompetent administration in the country’s history.

It will soon be time for the painful process of trying to piece back together the country that existed before Mr. Trump unleashed his dark forces on it.

It’s all over for The Donald.

Of course, even as I write those words I know them not to be true. Only the most naïve optimist would believe that Mr. Trump is finished. And we all know why.

“NASDAQ HITS ALL-TIME HIGH,” the President tweeted the other day. “Tremendous progress being made, way ahead of schedule. USA!”

Yes, that factor: the economy. The reason the President wants to see the economy reopen so quickly – virus be damned – is because strong job numbers, strong market numbers, provide him with the one and only path for re-election.

Yes, Americans acknowledge his glaring intellectual deficiencies, his destructive and divisive rhetoric, his gaping moral failings, his huckster’s instincts, but as long as he offers people the best chance of growing their retirement investments, well, you know, a person has to feed himself. And given the financial havoc COVID-19 has sown throughout the country, the economy will take on even more importance in the lead-up to the November election.

And remember that poll in which 80 per cent of Americans believe the country is out of control? It also showed that despite all the turmoil and tumult, the President’s job approval numbers remain firmly entrenched in the mid-40s. That is shocking, given everything going on in that country and is further evidence of the hardened partisan line that divides America.

The election is five months away, which is an eternity, especially in a world in which Mr. Trump is president. So much remains to be seen. And Mr. Biden has yet to be tested in the crucible of an election campaign.

If you’re a Democrat, your presumptive nominee has already begun to demonstrate some extremely worrying signs. He has, at times, seemed unsure of himself when speaking extemporaneously. Various gaffes and moments of confusion have many wondering whether Mr. Biden, who turns 78 later this year, is too old to be president.

In other words, the curtain should be closing on the Donald Trump show for good. But no one should be declaring it over quite yet.

Keep your Opinions sharp and informed. Get the Opinion newsletter. Sign up today.

Follow related authors and topics

Authors and topics you follow will be added to your personal news feed in Following.

Interact with The Globe