This is the end, toxic friend. The end of your elaborate plans, no safety or surprises, the end. I will not look into your eyes again, the end.
Bruce Springsteen may well have been inspired by The Doors when he predicted on Wednesday night that the end of "flagrant, toxic narcissist" Donald Trump is near. No smell of early morning Napalm, no choppers whirring in the background. Apocalypse Now. It is the end, ta-ta Trump.
All across the US, it is getting clearer by the day that Trump's late night appearance in the final presidential debate may well have been his swan song. Nobody played The End in the background, but Jim Morrison's ghost seemed to be singing in everybody's ears.
The question, as polls show Hillary Clinton surging ahead by 5-10 points, now is whether Trump will go down. The suspense now is this: How much and who he will take down with him?
Will he, for instance, take democracy as the US knows it with him – his takeaway threat during the debate when he said he may not accept the verdict? Will his rabid, virulent followers create anarchy at polling booths, mayhem at counting centres once the inevitable verdict is out? That's the question the US appears to be debating, not Trump's poll prospects.
As Springsteen said: "He has a lot of people’s ears, and I don’t think he’s going to go quietly, gently into the good night. He's going to make as a big a mess as he can. And I don't know what that's going to mean but we'll find out shortly."
Trump's decline began soon after his locker room talk established him as a p***sygrabbing, opportunistic predator ready to feast on his celebrity status. When the charges were repeated by at least half a dozen women, the US expected Trump to be contrite, penitent and apologetic. But, instead of reaching out to angry voters, Trump did what he does best: Unleashed the vengeful, egoistic bully inside him, seeking a patina of justification by dragging Bill Clinton in the malevolent sexpool with him. That day marked Trump's end.
By the time the final debate began, Trump had already pushed himself out of the race, going back to where he had begun in January, trailing Clinton by a humungous 10 points. Nobody in the post-Ronal Reagan era has hobbled so far behind in the US presidential race. It won't surprise anyone if Trump gets the biggest-ever drubbing in recent US election history.
The final debate then turned into a mere formality. A sort of inquest into Trump's post-poll plans that the US has now begun to fear. And, typically, Trump did not disappoint his critics and followers by remaining faithful to his toxic, divisive agenda that has been the hallmark of his politics and campaign. Many critics have called the election "Normal vs Abnormal". Trump gave several reasons to vindicate them.
During the debate, like always, he was full of himself, making the election look like a caricature of Jim Carrey's 'I, Me, Myself.' He stuck to his paranoia that the results may be rigged and grandiloquently announced to keep the suspense alive on his acceptance of the final outcome.
Many suspect Trump used the opportunity to test his post-defeat plan of launching Trump TV, a jingoistic, loud, brash enterprise rooted in xenophobia and hatred, a tool that may be used for rabblerousing and catering to his supporters. As soon as the debate began, his Facebook page went Live with the message: “If you’re tired of biased, mainstream media reporting (otherwise known as Crooked Hillary’s super PAC), tune into my Facebook Live broadcast. Starts at 8:30 EST/5:30 PST -- you won't want to miss it. Enjoy!"
So, as Springsteen argued, even Trump knows he is going down.
But, in spite of the predicted defeat, the threat of Trumpism looms on the US. In defeat, Trump may turn out to be a bigger adversary for Clinton than he was as a rival.
Maybe, it is still not the end, toxic friend.
Updated Date: Oct 25, 2016 10:52:21 IST