In the end, it may be Donald Trump’s sheer meanness that sinks his reelection bid.
After three years of enduring his casual cruelty, misogyny, bigotry, and egocentric disregard for anyone but himself, it’s difficult to believe that the American public will sign up for another four years of id-driven negativity and relentless divisiveness.
Trump exhibited today another prime example of his natural tendencies to choose the least graceful, most offensive option when faced with a situation that he could either have remained blissfully silent about or at least respond as cordially as the winner of a tennis match would be to their vanquished opponent.
The example in question is the president’s tweeted reaction to the announcement by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) that he was dropping out of the race for the Democratic nomination for president.
It’s with a full heart that I share this news—I’m suspending my campaign for president.
To my team, supporters, and everyone who gave me a shot—thank you. I am so proud of what we built, and I feel nothing but faith in what we can accomplish together. pic.twitter.com/Fxvc549vlJ
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) January 13, 2020
Whatever your opinion about Senator Booker and his qualifications for the presidency, his decision to leave the race after failing to generate the same level of enthusiasm in an overcrowded primary field as some of the other candidates surely doesn’t deserve the malevolent sarcasm and vicious mocking that Trump insisted on leveling at the retreating potential opponent.
Really Big Breaking News (Kidding): Booker, who was in zero polling territory, just dropped out of the Democrat Presidential Primary Race. Now I can rest easy tonight. I was sooo concerned that I would someday have to go head to head with him!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2020
Contrast the president’s mean-spirited reveling in the defeat of one of his now-vanquished rivals for his current job with the responses from some of Senator Booker’s opponents in the race for the Democratic party’s presidential nomination.
Thank you, @CoryBooker. You've always been a powerful voice for justice and equality, and you've made this primary stronger. I know you will continue to be a leader in the fight to defeat Donald Trump and build a stronger future for America. pic.twitter.com/5rAwSS2wPR
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) January 13, 2020
I will miss my friend Cory Booker so much on the campaign trail. We were friends before this started and are even better friends now. The one thing about Cory—he never stops standing up for what is right…so, the best is yet to come! pic.twitter.com/XBv2OYTucv
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) January 13, 2020
Thank you @CoryBooker for running an inspiring campaign to make this the country based on love and justice we know we can become. I look forward to working together to defeat Trump, end his hatred, and lift up working people everywhere. pic.twitter.com/Zs7TlFNlub
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) January 13, 2020
Senator Booker's commitment and love for the country is clear. He’s right that uniting as a people is how we tackle our biggest challenges. I know he's going to continue to lead in this fight.
— Tom Steyer (@TomSteyer) January 13, 2020
Cory, you campaigned with joy and heart, and instead of just talking about bringing people together, you did it every day. You made our politics better just by running. Grateful to you and looking forward to your continued leadership.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 13, 2020
The graciousness and genuine warmth expressed by each of Booker’s former rivals makes Trump’s crass tweet seem even more repulsive than if it had been issued in a vacuum.
With Trump’s erratic and anti-social behavior generating ever greater levels of disgust in the American electorate, it’s difficult to see how he can win another election without massive voter suppression, foreign interference, and dirty tricks — his winning template from his 2016 victory — if, that is, he makes it past his impeachment trial.
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.