The Slatest

Today’s Trump Apocalypse Watch: A Serious Man

Outside a Donald Trump campaign rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on April 21.

Mark Makela/Getty Images

The Trump Apocalypse Watch is a subjective daily estimate, using a scale of one to four horsemen, of how likely it is that Donald Trump will be elected president, thus triggering an apocalypse in which we all die.

The big story in Trumpworld in the wake of Tuesday’s New York primary victory is his alleged general-election pivot: He’s looking more dignified and presidential, people are saying, and he’s hiring more experienced staffers—including a speechwriter who’s helping him prepare one of those vaunted “foreign policy addresses” you’ve seen other candidates give. 

One would imagine that acting more presidential and hiring people who know what they’re doing would increase Trump’s chances of winning the Republican nomination and the presidency, but there are some catches. One, as Slate’s Isaac Chotiner points out, is that Trump is really only behaving in a “dignified” way by his own very low standards. He’s in a deep hole as far as the general public’s perception of him goes, and occasionally not calling Ted Cruz “Lyin’ Ted” is probably not going to help him get all the way out of it, especially given that his abrasive personality is a major part of his appeal to the people who actually like him. Moreover, Josh Voorhees writes, hiring speechwriters and campaign operatives and meeting with lobbyists might help Trump avoid a few gaffes here and there, but it also undermines his more or less legitimate previous claim to have been an outsider who wasn’t influenced by the hated Establishment.

In other words: It remains to be seen how much this stuff will really help. For today, our danger level will remain unchanged.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Getty Images, Wikimedia Commons