Monday, February 8, 2016

Trump's New Clothes

    In the classic tale The Emperor's New Clothes, a little boy ends up being the only one to point out the emperor's embarrassing lack of attire. Presidential candidate Donald Trump, on the other hand, has virtually been shouting for months, "I'm buck naked, you fools!", and yet the crowd (at least 30-40% of poll respondents, anyway) continues to envision a beautiful Republican Presidential Robe of the Future. Could any serious candidate really say "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters, OK?" and it actually be true?
    I've been arguing for months on Twitter that Trump doesn't want to win the Republican nomination, much less be president. Nothing else can account for the deliberately outrageous, self-destructive behavior he regularly engages in on the "campaign trail", a euphemism in Trump's mind for an extended screen test/contract negotiation. Trump is never happier than when he's on camera being Trump, and what better place to do that than on his own show?
    The Apprentice was a triumph for Trump, earning him a reported $213 million dollars over fourteen seasons (granted, Trump is the source of that figure.) Trump will turn seventy in June. Another TV show could carry him well into his eighties and secure the legendary status he desires (after all, what's left after being inducted into the WWE, World Wrestling Entertainment, Hall of Fame?)
    Who needs four (or eight) years of constant headaches, having someone else dictate your schedule and itinerary twenty-four hours a day? His tweeted reaction to his Iowa loss ("Ted Cruz didn't win Iowa, he stole it. That is why all of the polls were so wrong and why he got far more votes than anticipated. Bad!") is his last ditch effort to sabotage his chances in New Hampshire and grease the skids for a graceful (?) exit from the race and back to the studio.
    The only thing Donald Trump wants less than being elected president of the United States would be the humiliation of being selected as vice president. Trump is a political Peter Pan - he loves being a candidate, but growing up into the adulthood of office-holder would be the equivalent of the-boy-who-wouldn't-grow-up wearing a business suit or punching a clock every day. This is not to say Trump is not disciplined. He's had his share of success and failure and has so far has ended up back on his feet. Sheer force of personality has taken him far. But president? Not even Trump himself wants to go that far.
    But a lucrative, long-term TV contract to showcase his larger-than-life ego and personality? Now you're talking. When the right one comes along, Trump wants nothing better than to call together his senior campaign staff, point his finger at them, and yell, "You're fired!"