An honest question: If Donald Trump were trying to lose the presidency, what would he have done differently? Not much, if you ask me.
No, I’m not suggesting Trump wants to lose so he can be a martyr and quit having to do any real work. This theory, which I see as the triumph of hope over optimism, continues to persist (at some points, the hope has gone so far as to suggest that Trump might even resign). Trump wants to win. It’s just that he’s pursuing a strategy that will probably guarantee he doesn’t.
Consider a checklist of recent decisions: He’s trailing in the polls, but he decided to withdraw from a debate because the organizers wanted to make it virtual. With just weeks to go before Election Day, he publicly walked away from a COVID-19 relief bill (until “after the election”) that would have sent government checks to desperate Americans. During a recent debate, he told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,” and during Thursday night’s televised town hall, he refused to criticize the QAnon conspiracy theory (CHECK, CHECK, CHECK!).