Donald Trump is stuck in the wrong endgame crisis

Last night’s bombshell report about the FBI counterintelligence investigation into Donald Trump is the latest sign that Trump’s time is nearly over. The Feds wouldn’t have leaked something this sensitive unless Robert Mueller is nearly ready to pounce. Because Trump is a lifelong schemer, he was always going to manufacture a crisis at the end. The trouble: he got stuck with the wrong crisis.

We’re long past the point of Donald Trump having the political muscle to start a war, or anything that drastic. He simply has no leverage these days. But let’s say that his endgame plan was always to have Kim Jong Un pretend he was about to attack the United States, as a way of trying to get Americans to rally behind him instead of ousting him. Trump can’t do that now, because he’s mired in a government shutdown he can’t end.

Keep in mind that Trump never wanted this shutdown to begin with. He agreed to keep the government open without any funding for his imaginary border wall, and he was gambling that his racist base would continue to buy into the notion that he’d build the wall someday. But the likes of Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh insisted that he shut things down in an effort to get his wall funded, and he couldn’t afford to lose his base, so he cowered and did the shutdown.

If Donald Trump wanted something like a faux-war with North Korea to work, he’d have to cave on the wall and end the shutdown first. But he can’t do that, because his base would turn against him for it. So Trump is stuck with the shutdown as his final crisis, and that’s bad news for him. The idea was for his endgame crisis to rally mainstream Americans around him, and the shutdown is merely convincing them that he needs to be ousted.