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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

“Why’s everybody always pickin’ on me?”

— The Coasters from “Charlie Brown”

Donald Trump has a victim mentality.

If the term sounds familiar, it’s because it has long been the preferred conservative riposte when black people complain of being strangled by housing discrimination, economic injustice or police brutality. The likes of Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh often use it to belittle and dismiss African-American concerns.

But really, who has ever had a greater sense of themselves as a victim than Trump? Who has ever been a bigger whiner, excuse maker and all-out crybaby? Who has ever been more in need of lectures about personal responsibility than the Republican candidate for president?

If that were not obvious before, it became excruciatingly clear last week as the Trump Train left the rails and careened headlong into the gorge. Trump has long claimed the election was “rigged” against him, apparently by state officials who insist on letting people vote and then counting the ballots, and by media, who keep stubbornly reporting things he has said and done.

In last week’s debate with Hillary Clinton, Trump went even further in knocking out the pillars of American democracy. He explicitly refused to say he would respect the results of the election. “I will keep you in suspense,” he said, making instant fools of surrogates who had promised he would abide by the will of the voters.

For the first time since 1860, we are left to wonder what the refusal to abide by the results of an election would look like. Are we talking street riots? Armed militias?

These are the unsettling (but no longer unthinkable) questions we are now required to ask because of the right wing’s infatuation with a towering baby man who serves, and can conceive, no cause higher than his own gratification. For Trump, even the stability of the nation is subordinate in importance to his ego.

Faced with a looming blow to that massive edifice, he rationalizes by assuring himself and the rest of us that it isn’t really happening, that he is the victim of powerful, unseen forces cheating him of victory. But as Clinton noted, this is a pattern for Trump. Whenever things don’t work to his satisfaction, he claims to have been treated unfairly or conspired against.

Multiple women accusing him of sexual assault? It’s a political plot.

A federal judge might rule against him? The judge is biased.

The polls show him way down? The polls are a scam.

The FBI finds no criminal wrongdoing in Clinton’s missing emails? The FBI is corrupt.

His TV show fails to win an Emmy? The Emmys are unfair.

He’s about to lose the election? The election is rigged.

He whines, he whines, he whines. And he accepts responsibility for virtually nothing.

It is important to note that Trump did not spring from nowhere. Rather, he is the logical byproduct of a GOP that has spent the last quarter century telling its acolytes they were victims: of “media elites,” Hollywood values and science, to name just a few. And if you’re looking for election rigging, look no further than the party that has thrown up arbitrary legal barriers designed to make voting harder for African-Americans and other non-Republican constituencies.

Donald Trump, in all his preening infamy, is the end result of the GOP’s years of hypocrisy and reality avoidance. Shame on anyone who takes seriously his piteous moaning about the vast forces conspiring against him.

American democracy is the only victim here.

Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla., 33132. Readers may contact him via e-mail

Photo: U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Delaware, Ohio, U.S. October 20, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst


Actor as Donald Trump in Russia Today video ad

Screenshot from RT's 'Trump is here to make RT Great Again'

Russia Today, the network known in this country as RT, has produced a new "deep fake" video that portrays Donald Trump in post-presidential mode as an anchor for the Kremlin outlet. Using snippets of Trump's own voice and an actor in an outlandish blond wig, the ad suggests broadly that the US president is indeed a wholly owned puppet of Vladimir Putin– as he has so often given us reason to suspect.

"They're very nice. I make a lot of money with them," says the actor in Trump's own voice. "They pay me millions and hundreds of millions."

But when American journalists described the video as "disturbing," RT retorted that their aim wasn't to mock Trump, but his critics and every American who objects to the Russian manipulations that helped bring him to power.

As an ad for RT the video is amusing, but the network's description of it is just another lie. Putin's propagandists are again trolling Trump and America, as they've done many times over the past few years –- and this should be taken as a warning of what they're doing as Election Day approaches.

The Lincoln Project aptly observed that the Russians "said the quiet part out loud" this time, (Which is a bad habit they share with Trump.)