You know what this is like? Brock Lesnar ending the Undertaker's Wrestlemania undefeated streak. WWE started playing up 'taker's Goldberg-esque "never loses at Wrestlemania" gimmick a decade ago, and year after year its mystique continued to grow until it reached such mythical proportions that it overshadowed any other match that could be booked for a WM card. Every late March/early April fans would speculate if that could be the year The Streak ended, is this opponent credible enough to make an Undertaker defeat credible. And still it just never seemed conceivable that "The Phenom" would ever lose on "the grandest stage of them all".
Until Wrestlemania XXX a year and a half ago, when the real-life Mark Calloway put over the former NFL lineman and current part-time Ultimate Fighter and part-time pro wrestler. Something that had, from a booking standpoint, to happen sooner or later but fans hated because they didn't want to see The Streak end no matter who did it.
In much the same way, Donald Trump has been leading the Republican presidential field since the day he announced his candidacy over four months ago, and in every press interview he goes out of his way to never let us forget that he's been leading the Republican presidential field since the day he announced his candidacy over four months ago. It's the self-reinforcing rationale of that candidacy: Donald Trump never loses, so vote for Donald Trump because he never loses. Trump is invincible. Trump is unbeatable. Trump is the Borg. Trump is the Undertaker at Wrestlemania.
And then along came the worst possible analogy to Brock "Bring The Pain" Lesnar:
Ben Carson has taken a narrow lead nationally in the Republican presidential campaign, dislodging Donald J. Trump from the top spot for the first time in months, according to a New York Times/CBS News survey released on Tuesday.
Dr. Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, is the choice of 26% of Republican primary voters, the poll found, while Mr. Trump now wins support from 22%, although the difference lies within the margin of sampling error.
The survey is the first time that Mr. Trump has not led all candidates since the Times and CBS News began measuring presidential preferences at the end of July.
No other candidate comes close to Dr. Carson and Mr. Trump. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida received 8% while former Governor Jeb Bush of Florida and Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive, are each the choice of 7% of Republican primary voters.
Remember when I wrote this just seventy-two hours ago?:
Maybe this is just Trump being Trump, and maybe this is him giving up on Iowa and playing to primary voters in other States who are more likely to like that crap. Which may not be a bad strategy since winning the Hawkeye State isn't any kind of nomination bellwether. But the risk it runs is that Dr. C's momentum keeps building and overflows into New Hampshire and those other early States. Doubling down on a strategy that has worked but is producing diminishing returns might constitute the beginning of the end for the Trump campaign.
But as limited a performer as The Donald is, he's pretty much confined to, as it were, "dancing with the one that brung him" to this "dance". Time will tell if he's playing with fire. [emphasis added]
Or leaking warp plasma. As Geordi LaForge liked to say every third week on Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Trump campaign is "losing anti-matter containment," and the resulting warp core breach can't be very far away.
Ah, here it comes now:
"Because I will make the best trade deals, I will be strongest and best on the military, I will get rid of ObamaCare.
I, I, I; even fruit flies don't have that many "I's". Sounds like an Obama press conference, except The One is much smoother about his cosmic narcissism.
You know, Ben wants to knock out MediCare, I heard that over the weekend," Trump remarked on MSNBC's Morning Joe, referring to a Politico report. "I think abolishing Medicare, I don't think you're going to get away with that one."
"And it's actually a program that's worked. So it's a program that some people love, actually," Trump said.
It's a program that is already "knocked out" by bankruptcy and is hemorrhaging larger and larger sums of worthless U.S. currency every year, burying us deeper and deeper in already crushing, lethal debt. Dr. Carson was courageous and spot-on in calling for transitioning to a private sector alternative; the only part he missed was that MediCare is unconstitutional.
And once again, Donald Trump is goaded into sounding like a Democrat. If Dr. C can do that enough times, some Tea Party Trumpsters might actually start connecting those dots.
Oops, there goes the other nacelle:
Ben Carson has "a lot of things in his past," fellow GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump said Tuesday, and "those problems are going to start to come out" now that the retired neurosurgeon is coming out on top of several of the latest presidential polls.
"When you're in first place, it's like a cleansing action," Trump told MSNBC's Morning Joe program. "Lots of things will come out, and we'll see how he holds up to the scrutiny. I've been there for a hundred days."
And it's finally caught up to Trump to bite him in the ass. It's precisely Dr. Carson's calm, professorial, ethical/religious manner that has contrasted so favorably with Trump's corrupt, decadent, buttheaded persona. A calm, professorial, ethical/religious manner that The Donald clearly can't touch if the best smear he can come up with is vague, almost hypothetical innuendo - something that just isn't his style at all. And besides, what "things in his past" hasn't Gentle Ben already publicly discussed? His violent assaults committed in his hardscrabble Detroit youth? He talks about that on a regular basis. If he had "a lot of things in his past," that wouldn't exactly line up with his "lacking energy" and being "boring," now would it?
My guess is that Trump is going to try and defame Dr. C with the Bill Cosby/Clarence Thomas gambit; paint him as a secret sexual predator who's been victimizing women - the mothers of his patients, perhaps? - for years "behind the scenes" to "augment his fees". Or maybe, since he WAS a pediatric neurosurgeon, slime him as a clandestine pedophile.
And it will backfire on the obnoxious plutocrat even more spectacularly than a warp core breach.
I'll say it again, folks: to regain the initiative, even stop the bleeding, Donald Trump needs to be smart enough to import the one trait of which there is no evidence that he is capable: humility. In short, he needs to be more like Ben Carson.
If Hairboy can manage that, maybe he CAN do anything.