“There’s one chance, one opportunity left – and that’s to get on bended knee and project the image of contrition. … That’s not going to happen,” said one GOP operative who still backs Donald Trump. | (AP Photo)
“There’s one chance, one opportunity left – and that’s to get on bended knee and project the image of contrition. … That’s not going to happen,” said one GOP operative who still backs Donald Trump. | (Evan Vucci/AP)

We begin this Sunday with a national deathwatch on disgraced Republican Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump.

Alex Isenstadt and Glenn Thrush say this on on Politico:

No candidate has entered a presidential debate so cloaked in disgrace or deeper in a hole than Donald Trump – and no candidate has ever been less prepared to face the most searing trial of his public life than the shaken Republican nominee.

The walls were already closing around Trump before the Friday release of a video showing him blithely describing, in lurid and demeaning language, his efforts to seduce a married woman and how he would kiss and grope women even if they didn’t want him to. Those walls have now fallen in on him – and what aides were describing last week as an opportunity to rebound is now being cast as one final shot at survival.

More than 25 Republican members of Congress & GOP governors are calling on Trump to quit the race and let vice presidential candidate Mike Pence finish out the final month of a campaign in tatters.

Sen. John McCain, who endorsed Trump even the billionaire questioned his bravery as a POW in Vietnam, withdrew that support Saturday.  Speaker of the House Paul Ryan told Trump to stay away from a campaign event in Wisconsin.  Pence was scheduled to go in Trump’s place but decided not to, saying he was disheartened over what is happening in the campaign.

Trump, for the most part, stayed hidden away inside his tower penthouse in New York, emerging once briefly to mingle with a crowd outside and issued a “hell no, I won’t go” declaration to The Washington Post in a phone interview.

If Trump leaves the race, it will have to be his decision.  Republican National Committee lawyers searched in vain Saturday for a way to force him out under committee rules and found it all but impossible.

Is Trump done?  Many within the GOP felt the campaign ended after the first Presidential debate when Trump stumbled, rambled and came apart, then added insult to injury by going on a Twitter rant about a beauty contest contest’s weight and unproven claims of a “sex tape” that wasn’t.

Sources inside the Trump campaign say he is “floundering” and “coming apart.”

Others say he will rebound, as he has in the past, with a strong debate Sunday night in a town hall style debate in St. Louis, an event with a lot of drama because of the events leading up to it.

When I left the political circus in 1993 after a dozen years as an operative, campaign official and political programs executive, I walked away depressed about the state of government in Washington and the flawed system that drove it.

Today, 23 years later, the system is even more of a shambles, destroyed by hardcore partisanship and conflicting hidden agendas controlled by money and lusts for power. Voters today face two candidates they don’t like.  Many feel disenfranchised.

Trump tapped into that dissatisfaction and anger with promises he couldn’t keep and lies that sounded good to the uninformed.  He played on the inherent racism and bigotry that controls too many angry Americans and colors any little reason that is left.

He may limp to the finish of this campaign system because his massive ego will not allow admission of failure.  Whatever he does is moot.  He is finished.

What he leaves behind is an America more divided, more partisan and more hateful, driven in large part by the false hopes he gave to those who looked beyond his many failings because he appealed to their basic instincts of fear, ignorance and anger.

Donald Trump is, always was, and always will be a boorish, greedy, conniving opportunist who sought to fatten his wallet and his ego by milking the country as he has thousands of investors he had defrauded, hundreds of small businesses he stiffed, women he abused and others he treated as “marks” to be taken advantage of his many cons.

His fall from his self-perceived grace is long overdue and welcome in an America that deserves better.

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