Why isn't Trump trying to win?

All he has to do is announce his intention to sign a second major economic relief bill—a CARES Act II, essentially—and count on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to muddle through. Such a law would almost certainly improve the financial state of countless families at a time of mass desperation, and just weeks before the election.

But, oddly, the White House has expressed practically no interest in supercharging the economic engine that could drive the president to victory. With no pressure from the top, Senate Republicans rejected the HEROES Act, the multi-trillion-dollar stimulus package that Democrats passed in the House, and countered with a stingy—or “skinny”—stimulus that did not include another round of checks for taxpayers or state and local government aid.

What in the world is Trump thinking? I don’t ask the question rhetorically. I desperately want to know, as I cannot imagine why an incumbent president, without any ideological commitment to government restraint, facing imminent judgment over the struggling economy, would lose interest in stimulating it.

According to several conversations with Republicans, the answer is that the president is stuck in a Pollyannaish fantasy of his own making.