Yes, Donald Trump's Second Amendment comment about Hillary Clinton was inexcusable. Yes, you knew that it would be used by Trump's detractors as yet another "last straw" argument against his very candidacy. Yes, more elected Republicans are likely to use this as an excuse to withdraw their support for him or endorse Clinton.
Get used to it.
No, Trump is not going to stop making outrageous statements. No, Trump is not going to drop out of the race. And the reason is simple: If he follows all the "rules" Congressional Republicans, Democrats, and the news media, (what's the difference between the latter two?), want him to, his best-case scenario is losing the election by a "respectable" margin along the lines of Mitt Romney in 2012. That's literally not a way to win and as such, Trump's candidacy and campaign has been a "Hail Mary" affair from day one.
In football, a "Hail Mary pass" is a long-shot long pass when a team feels like it has nothing to lose. The phrase was coined in 1975 after Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, a Roman Catholic, said of his mindset before he threw a 50-yard game-winning touchdown pass in a playoff game against the Vikings, "I closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary [prayer]."
Throughout much of the 1980s and 1990s, it seemed like every Super Bowl ended up being a blowout. After a while in every one of those games, there seemed to be a point when the losing team realized it didn't have a chance to come back and win unless it took some very risky chances. Inevitably, those risky attempts backfired and deficits of 10 or 14 points ended up being final scores of 55-10, 52-17, 38-16, etc.
In essence, Trump came into this election knowing that he and every other Republican stood no chance to win even against a weak candidate like Hillary Clinton. The only chance to win was to blow up the GOP message, not play by the politically correct rules, and try to shake up the electorate in all 50 states. Of course, with that strategy came the risks of going overboard and turning too much of the relative evenly split polarized electorate against him. When Trump makes comments like he did Tuesday night, the latter scenario seems to be unfolding in spades.
But anyone who's really studied the results of the last six presidential elections should be honest and realize that Trump has been taking — and should probably keep taking — risks. That is, unless they think his goal should be to lose in a respectable way.
So, don't expect Trump to back away from shocking comments like what he said about Hillary Clinton and the Second Amendment. Expect more outrageous statements on the campaign trail and even in the debates beginning in September. This is his brand. This is his gambit. And it's no coincidence that his Second Amendment comment came just a day after he delivered his extremely traditional economic policy speech in Detroit that was met with generally negative indifference by the same news media that keeps "advising" him to be more traditional.
As far as the Republican endorsements, and lack thereof go, consider this: In politics, people don't endorse candidates to help those candidates, they endorse them to help themselves. Elected Republicans endorsing Clinton are either trying to save their own jobs, or enhance their own power. You could argue that Congressional Republican leaders have been secretly rooting against any GOP candidate, not just Trump, ever since they won control of both the Senate and the House in 2014. Choosing between being an underling to a fellow Republican in the White House or being the leading outspoken opposition to President Hillary Clinton isn't really a hard choice for anyone who craves more power and fame. Remember the names of those Republican leaders when George W. Bush was president and the Republicans controlled the Congress until 2006? Of course you don't.
There's another reason Trump is going to keep being Trump no matter how angry the already anti-Trump/in-the-tank for Hillary news media and liberal establishment jumps up and down about his latest series of inappropriate comments. And that's because the nature of campaigning for president right now isn't really campaigning at all. When the process for running for president comprises speaking at a microphone at one canned rally after another, doing an occasional TV interview, and tweeting, the only thing you can do to move the needle is to say something memorable. Gone are the days of actually going out among the voters. Also apparently extinct is the practice of visiting the streets of devastated neighborhoods like Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan famously did in 1976 and 1980. All the candidates do now is verbal posturing. It's a process tailor-made for a bombastic and loud candidate like Trump to excel, and also crash and burn in fantastic fashion.
Right now, Trump is apparently crashing and burning. Right now, it looks like Trump's risky behavior could more likely lead to an unusually larger win for Clinton in November. But in this atmosphere, his strategy could just as easily swing in his favor with more than 90 days to go until Election Day.