Have you ever had a nightmare in slow motion? Maybe it’s that one where you’re watching a train bearing down on someone walking along the tracks. You try to warn them, but words won’t come. You’re powerless to help, and all you can do is stand by for the tragedy.

The good thing about a nightmare is that you wake up from it. If only our present reality was so easily dispatched. As it is, we have the purveyor of nightmares running as the GOP nominee.

I am wholly convinced that if you were to venture into that hay-like coif on the back of Trump’s head, parting the strands for the world to see, you’d uncover another face – Hillary Clinton’s.

I’m only half-kidding. Watching Trump’s rise, over conventional wisdom and over an amazing cast of candidates, any who would have been a more sane choice as the GOP candidate, is the stuff of nightmares. This was supposed to be the year we took our republic back. After 8 years of the most horrendous, anti-American president in our history, our patriotic duty should have soared, driving us to seek nothing less than the candidate who best expressed hope, a solid plan for moving forward, and unfettered love of country.

Several candidates embodied those characteristics. The people rejected them all, in favor of the least qualified, least hopeful, and least capable of offering anything other than cartoonish promises and a lot of angry rhetoric.

Just watching the strategy of Trump unfold is bizarre. On Wednesday, he suggested that the Russians hack his opponents’ emails. He doesn’t even seem to grasp why that’s a bad thing. Neither do his cult members.

The cloud of scandal and suspicion surrounding him at this point is also far more than what you would expect, or want, from a candidate.

His refusal to release his tax returns is nothing short of catnip for the media and the opposition.

From Newsmax:

Democratic talk of the taxes spilled onto the convention stage Wednesday night. Vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine, mocking Trump, said, “Believe me, there’s nothing suspicious in my tax returns. Believe me!” The crowd laughed.

There’s even a literally a bounty for the Trump documents.

Moishe Mana, a top fundraiser for Clinton, has offered to give $1 million to the charity of Trump’s choice if he makes them public. He joins an unnamed Republican donor working with Clinton ally David Brock who has made a similar offer of $5 million.

“Through his financial documents, we are trying to break into the image that he’s portraying to the American people,” said Mana, a real estate developer in Miami. “He says he’s a successful businessman who wants to do for the country what he did for his company. Well, go ahead, show me the money.”

Trump’s refusal to release those returns gives rise to many theories as to why. He claims it is because he is being audited, yet, the IRS says nothing should stop him from releasing the returns. If they’re not concerned, why should he be?

Conservative commentator, George Will, recently opined that should Trump release those returns, it may show he’s tied to Russian oligarchs.

Others have suggested that those returns would show that Mr. Rich-Very-Rich is maybe not quite as wealthy as he claims. To reveal that would shatter the illusion he’s worked to create, with his gilded furniture, plastic wife, and ostentatious presentations, all designed to make him appear as some mythical figure, rather than just a man.

And while He fights to keep a lock on what no other candidate has ever had an issue with revealing, he fumbles and stumbles through the most basic steps of campaigning. He knows little about world affairs, giving broad and general comments to cover questions about issues that will surely come up again during debates, and definitely during the tenure of the presidency.

Also, other than Hillary Clinton, who has been a longtime friend, he can’t even brush up on who his opponents are. Just as he confused the Kurds with the Quds during the run-up to the primaries, he confused Democrat VP pick, Tim Kaine, with former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean, who served from 1982 to 1990.

It’s these gaffes and inability to grasp really basic facts that open Trump up for ridicule and distrust. Kaine capitalized on the gaffe this morning, as reported in POLITICO:

“Yesterday he said I was a lousy governor of New Jersey. And he’s right. I wasn’t even ever governor of New Jersey,” Hillary Clinton’s running mate told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Thursday.

Kaine, who served as governor of Virginia from 2006-2010, noted that point before taking another backhand swipe at the Republican nominee.

“But look, basic civics, 50 states. You have to give a guy a break who’s only into politics the last few months and not that well-informed,” the Virginia senator quipped.

Asked how he would respond to the way Trump has conducted himself throughout the campaign, Kaine called “some of it … comical.”

This is the bed the voters have made this year. There are three months until the general election, which is precious little time for Trump to shape up and become a serious candidate, or plenty of time for his opponents to exploit and highlight every scandal, every flaw, and every gaffe.

This is our waking nightmare.