The inevitable fall of Donald Trump

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has been accused of a number of sexual assaults Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst


Major poll aggregators now show Hillary Clinton with a lead between five and eight points over Donald Trump in the presidential election in the United States, which is her best advantage in quite a while. As a historical reference, since the dawn of modern polling, no presidential candidate has won after trailing by this much with four weeks remaining.

So, does Trump still have any chance of winning the presidency? The short answer must be no. After making significant gains on Hillary Clinton in September, he has suffered a dismal two weeks, kicked off by a poor debate performance and a series of ill-advised tweets about a former Miss Universe, followed by the bombshell release of a decade-old recording of him making lewd comments about women that has resulted in a chorus of calls among Republicans for him to drop out of the race. Then on Wednesday, The New York Times reported on two women who alleged that Trump had assaulted them. A number of allegations of sexual assault against Donald Trump have surfaced since. For his part, the Republican nominee has denied the accusations, taking to Twitter to vent his frustrations. His lawyer has sent a letter to The New York Times demanding that the newspaper retract the story.

In a wild, conspiratorial speech on Thursday, he blamed a "concerted, coordinated, and vicious attack" by the media and the Clinton campaign. He explained that his campaign represented an "existential threat" to "those who control the levers of power in Washington," and "the global special interests," and it was their counter attack that was behind his current troubles. If he loses, he said, it will be because the system is "rigged".

In short, it seems everybody and everything, real or imagined, is to blame for the all too predictable implosion of Donald Trump, other than the man himself. "At some point, you have to look in the mirror and recognise that you cannot possibly justify support for Trump to your children - especially your daughters," a Missouri business executive, who contributed more than $2.5m to Republicans from the 2012 campaign and opposed Mr Trump's bid from the outset has said. Another New York investor and philanthropist who with his wife has given $2.7m to Republicans over the same period, was just as blunt. "He is a dangerous demagogue completely unsuited to the responsibilities of a United States president," he said. "Even for loyalists, there is a line beyond which the obvious moral failings of a candidate are impossible to disregard. That line has been clearly breached."

With friends like this, the Trump for President Campaign, and indeed the wider Republican Party, is in deep trouble. The American conservative, with libertarian views, PJ Rourke on BBC Newsnight, last week announced that he would be voting for Hillary Clinton: "I mean, she's wrong about absolutely everything, but she's wrong within normal parameters," he said. In its own way, this comment could be interpreted as the much derided establishment - the Republicans and Democrats - combining to push back against the populist movement which has caused such upheaval in the political system worldwide, not unlike, dare we suggest, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail here, which were last week both adamant that the "centre must hold". It is a view that this newspaper would fully endorse.