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Opinion | Let Us All Now Weep for Donald Trump

He whined operatically as November 2016 approached and it seemed that he’d lose to Hillary Clinton. “The election is going to be rigged,” he pouted, ever the victim. Then he beat Clinton — and still whined, insisting without proof that she’d done better in the popular vote because of millions of illegal ballots.

Woe is he, the object of a “witch hunt” regarding Russian assistance to his campaign, the butt of a “hoax” about improper pressure on Ukraine, the commander in chief of armed forces that the whole world takes advantage of.

In a key passage of the new book “A Very Stable Genius,” by the Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, Trump rants at top military brass about what he perceives as America’s exploitation by South Korea and by NATO allies, barking, “You’re a bunch of dopes and babies.”

It’s disgusting. It’s also part of his political genius. He has turned himself into a symbol of Americans’ victimization, telling frustrated voters who crave easy answers that they’re being pushed around by foreigners and duped by the condescending custodians of a dysfunctional system.

He’s their proxy, suffering on their behalf, and in that way he collapses the distance between a billionaire with multiple golf resorts and displaced factory workers struggling to hold on to their one and only homes.

But while it’s a fact that they’ve been dealt a bad hand, it’s a farce that he has. His fortune began with money from Dad. He has stiffed creditors, evaded taxes, attached his name to a bogus diploma mill, skimmed money from a fraudulent philanthropy, run afoul of campaign finance laws, signaled receptiveness to Russian interference in the 2016 election and tried to obstruct the investigation of that — all without any commensurate punishment.

Thanks to Republicans in the Senate, he’s poised to evade punishment again. We should all be such victims.

I invite you to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter. You can follow me on Twitter (@FrankBruni).

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