What nobody could predict, though, is the way that Trump would spin so spectacularly out of control, exacerbating the expected poll results and prompting the most epic media pile-on of his campaign. Including a social media pile-on (see our Wednesday post, "Donald Trump Has Become Twitter's New Favorite Chew Toy"), in which every bit of bad (sad!) news about Mr. Trump gets seized upon, gleefully amplied and turned into a meme.
Major GOP fundraiser Meg Whitman's Monday condemnation of Trump and endorsement of Clinton was bad enough (see: "#DumpTrump Roars Back to Life"). But this morning The New York Times is out with an op-ed by Michael J. Morell headlined "I Ran the C.I.A. Now I'm Endorsing Hillary Clinton." Mr. Morell notes that he's served presidents of both parties (three Republicans and three Democrats) during his 33-year career at the Central Intelligence Agency, and is neither a registered Democrat nor Republican. He says good things about Hillary Clinton, but when he gets to Donald, he goes ballistic:
Donald J. Trump is not only unqualified for the job, but he may well pose a threat to our national security. ... [T]he character traits he has exhibited during the primary season suggest he would be a poor, even dangerous, commander in chief.
These traits include his obvious need for self-aggrandizement, his overreaction to perceived slights, his tendency to make decisions based on intuition, his refusal to change his views based on new information, his routine carelessness with the facts, his unwillingness to listen to others and his lack of respect for the rule of law. The dangers that flow from Mr. Trump's character are not just risks that would emerge if he became president. It is already damaging our national security.
There's also a passage about how Trump's call for a ban on Muslims "clearly contradicts the foundational values of our nation [and] plays into the hands of the jihadist narrative that our fight against terrorism is a war between religions." And, most extraordinarily, a deconstruction of how Russian President Vladimir Putin has been playing Trump that ends with this line: "In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation."
It's worth noting that upon publication Mr. Morell's op-ed quickly became the top trending story on nytimes.com and that two other Trump-related stories hold the No. 2 and No. 3 positions as of Friday morning: "Trump, the Bad, Bad Businessman" and "Trump's Enablers Will Finally Have to Take a Stand."
Meanwhile, Politico's Steven Shepard is out with a story this morning titled "Insiders to Trump: Drop out" that begins,
Amid widespread chatter that Donald Trump could drop out of the presidential race before Election Day, Republican insiders in key battleground states have a message for The Donald: Get out. That's according to The POLITICO Caucus -- a panel of activists, strategists and operatives in 11 swing states. The majority of GOP insiders, 70 percent, said they want Trump to drop out of the race and be replaced by another Republican candidate -- with many citing Trump's drag on Republicans in down-ballot races.
And in case you missed it, here's an exasperated Megyn Kelly over on Fox News Wednesday night marveling at Donald Trump's Trumpiness:
Simon Dumenco, aka Media Guy, is an Ad Age editor-at-large. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.