I've tried hard not to write about Donald Trump. He's a circus act, and the only thing he cares about is himself. He blathers on, talking "tough" and insulting everyone in sight, but it's all a show, and it's all about him. Despite all that, if he breaks from the Republicans and runs on a third-party ticket he will deliver the presidency to Hillary Clinton. Is it time for despair? I don't know. I've had high hopes for a while (years?) that we'd get a great, patriotic president in 2016, but maybe it's just a fantasy.

And while happy talk (some of which I've indulged in myself) may dismiss Trump as this year's flash-in-the-pan like the 2012 Republican also-rans, right now he's more likely a version of Ross Perot in 1992 -- the man who got Bill Clinton elected. Perot managed to convince people he was only in it to talk about the deficit and the national debt when it was probably more the case he was running out of a long-standing personal animus toward George H.W. Bush and a desire to deny him the presidency based on an imagined slight. Trump doesn't even have a real issue to bring in Democrats and Republicans dissatisfied with their choices. Trump is Trump's issue.

These are unhappy times in the United States, and unhappy times generate unhappy political outcomes. Last week I made the case for despair following the Iran deal. I know people always want commentary that offers a path forward, a way out of trouble, a hope for something better. Sometimes, though, you just have to sit back and despair at the condition of things, and maybe from the despair some new wisdom may emerge.

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