Trump brand goes from winning to whining

Story highlights

  • Julian Zelizer: Many are questioning Trump's image
  • Trump's campaign seems out of control, Zelizer writes

Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University and a New America fellow. He is the author of "Jimmy Carter" and "The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society." The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own.

(CNN)Donald Trump's campaign has always been about Trump. It hasn't been about the party and it hasn't really been about policy. It's been about the man himself. And for many months, it seemed that there was ample room in the GOP, and even in broader parts of the electorate, for his renegade style.

But in recent weeks, the value of the Trump brand has been plummeting, especially since the release of the "Access Hollywood" tape. Polls show that the distance between Hillary Clinton and Trump is growing.
Congressional Republicans are seriously worried about the possibility of Democrats retaking control of the Senate and possibly the House. Trump's campaign theme seems to have switched from "Make America Great Again" to "I'm a victim."
    The New York Times reported that several major donors are urging the Republican National Committee to separate themselves from the Republican nominee for fear the party will suffer irreversible damage.
    Trump delivered a conspiratorial -- and, some thought, borderline anti-Semitic -- speech in Palm Beach: "Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plan the destruction of global sovereignty in order to enrich these global interest powers."
    This speech, combined with his scorched-earth attacks on Bill Clinton's sexual past, have led many to conclude that his campaign is literally spinning out of control.