Donald Trump meets Uncle Sam the eagle. Credit: Time

This isn’t working for Donald Trump, and I’m concerned about him. No matter what he does he can’t stop running for president.

A man of his talents would be confined, hamstrung, suffocated by the Oval Office. He couldn’t fire the speaker of the house. He couldn’t hang his name in 20-foot letters over his doorway. He’d have to deal with the awkward matter that the pool of potential armed terrorists U.S. security officials are most concerned with aren’t Syrians or Muslims but his political base.

Trump knows this. And now that he’s made his point that he’s infinitely brighter and bolder than any of the actual Republicans who want to be president, it’s time to move on. He’s lost interest in what he’s been doing, which is what happens all the time to great men who hold themselves in the proper regard. They’re restless people.  

And yet, when Trump proposes to forbid any of the world’s Muslims to enter the United States, and the world predictably reacts:

Democratic rivals like Hillary Clinton saying “Hate is not an American value”;

Republican rivals like Jeb Bush calling Trump “unhinged”;

Republican neutrals like Paul Ryan saying Trump’s proposal “is not what this party stands for”;

Tenants of Chicago’s Trump Tower pretending they live somewhere else;

His unflinching supporters refuse to entertain the idea that maybe they need to look somewhere else for a president. It’s Trump or no one! And as their affection borders on the demonic, there’s no way in sight to bow out gracefully.

We’ve seen this before. It was episode ten, season four of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Mel Brooks, so sick of living with his hit Broadway show The Producers that he’ll resort to desperate measures to close it, casts Larry David in the lead part of Max Bialystock. But David is so much more incompetent than Brooks ever imagined—forgetting his lines, desperately ad-libbing as he wanders offstage into the audience—that he’s hysterical. To Brooks’s horror the show gets a new lease on life: it could run another five years!

At any rate, this is one way of interpreting Trump’s behavior. My theory might be flawed. It requires Trump to be just about as horrified that he’s leading the race for president as almost everyone else is, and I’m not sure that’s true.