This conclusion spells near-certain doom for Trump if it persists. Trump’s reelection strategy has clearly been to rerun the 2016 campaign: hold the Trump base and coalition together and demonize the Democratic nominee, terrorizing the voter in the middle to reluctantly choose him again. That person, however, is unlikely to do that if he or she has already concluded that Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine are so bad that he should be removed from office through impeachment.

Trump’s character made him famous and gave him the presidency. Unless there’s more behind the mask he has created, however, it will also likely lead to his political demise.

That’s not going to happen, though, because it runs counter to the pattern of Trump’s entire adult life. He built his public reputation as the man whose skill and will get him what he wants. Whether it’s in business, dating and marrying beautiful women, or “draining the swamp,” the entire Trump mystique is built around the idea of the daring, infallible “stable genius” who lives the life of power and luxury that most people only dream of. This is the character he has created for himself, and he is incapable of changing the script now.

This is also why he has committed so many unforced errors in the past month. Angered by the impeachment inquiry, Trump needed to show that he could still exert his will and skill to move events. His decision to peremptorily withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria is simply an application of that principle, as was his since-retracted decision to award the contract for the Group of Seven summit next year to his own property near Miami. That both elites and average voters might be outraged by these decisions never entered his mind because he rarely tries to persuade people rather than sell himself to a niche market.

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