But there’s even more to it than all that. Confronted with political violence in an election season, a president confident in their powers of persuasion and free of crippling fear of legal investigation would to push back on their most extremist supporters. Such a president would see an opportunity to win over persuadable independents by providing leadership and seizing the high ground. And even if it depressed the base and even lost a few seats in the midterms, it would be worth it in the long run for the president, their party and their place in history.
But Donald Trump cannot afford the risk. He and his party know that that they have already abjured most reasonable independent voters in favor of an extremist base mobilization strategy. More importantly, they know that they cannot under any circumstances afford what most politicians would consider the temporary setback of losing a single chamber in Congress after a period of unitary rule. They know that losing the House means investigations of the president’s likely criminal behavior as well as that of his cabinet members and his enablers on Capitol Hill. And they know that none of them can withstand the scrutiny.
So not only is the president simply unable by virtue of his personality defects to provide the country the counseling and solace it requires to avoid burning to the ground even if he weren’t the political wildfire’s principal arsonist. He also cannot help but take the most nakedly, aggressively partisan tone full of fear and hatred because losing even one chamber of Congress in November might put his presidency, his ill-gotten fortune and even his very personal liberty at risk.