The very fact that Donald J. Trump continues to aim his campaign rhetoric at the same Xenophobic folks who are already his ardent supporters — not trying to expand his message for the general election — tells me his aim is not to win the presidency as a Republican but rather to build a base for a future third “Trump” party.

He can do this in two ways. He can simply run off with a huge chuck of the current know-nothing Republican base as his own personal extremist party, or he can try to keep expanding the crazy Republican base and simply squeeze out the traditional, Wall Street establishment wing. At the moment he seems to be engaged in the latter strategy — by continuously trampling over traditional conservative Republican “values.”

If Trump does somehow end up heading an odd mix of extremist right and left folks, he may in good times control no more than 28% of the electorate. This, however, can change in a heartbeat with another economic nosedive. Of course at 70 years old Trump doesn’t have time on his side, unless, perhaps, he is hoping to set the table for a son to take over.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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