Does Trump really want to be president?

Earlier in the campaign, Trump seemed to be stumbling onto a politically coherent challenge to conservative and liberal orthodoxies: European-style nationalism. But over the past two months, he has slowly backed away from or disavowed his own policy agenda on immigration or trade. He has described his own rhetoric on these issues as a kind of opening gambit in a larger negotiation, rather than the announcement of some kind of principle. He has telegraphed over and over again that he doesn’t intend to deliver, that these bold positions were merely an expediency toward standing out from a crowd of 17 candidates.

The lack of principle extends to his campaign. Trump has promoted himself as a man who isn’t going to be bought by the special interests because, to this point, he has been self-funding his campaign. But that is not his strategy for the general election, according to reports in The Washington Post. Much of the money Trump has spent on staging rallies and flying around the country has been loaned to the campaign from Trump. That means if Trump begins fundraising in earnest for a general election challenge, Trump will direct donated campaign money back to himself. And yet, according to a detailed look inside the Trump campaign by Gabriel Sherman, Team Trump has barely organized a financial committee or fundraising operation. Either Trump is expecting Republicans, in desperation, to build him a fundraising apparatus from scratch or he expects that free media will be enough in the general election. Or perhaps he doesn’t really anticipate being the nominee.

Trump doesn’t even bother to understand the positions he takes cynically. See the mess he made of abortion.