Trump, Ego, and the Presidency
It was only a week or so ago that I made (with the help of the estimable Ben Ziegler) a short video entitled What Do We Do About The Donald? (also here). It was intended to be a goof, riffing on Trump's supposed presidential ambitions and suggesting a better use of his abilities, i.e. to take over the United Nations, turning that useless institution into the "Trump UN," a potentially hugely successful, if admittedly vulgar, luxury hotel.
Little did I know that Trump is yet more serious about his presidential aims to the extent that the TV personality/real estate tycoon has already bolted the Republican Party. From ABC's The Note:
Trump took another step in that direction on Thursday, switching his party affiliation from Republican to “unaffiliated,” according to a source close to the reality television star.
According to the source, he did so because he is “disgusted” with the way Republicans are handling matters in Washington, including the recent payroll tax cut deal. But the move also sets Trump up for a potential third-party run for president — a possibility he began talking about almost as soon as he told his fans in May he wasn’t running.
The smart money is betting this is no more than another publicity stunt to keep The Donald in the public eye and forever a fixture on the Greta Show. And that's probably right and for that reason this column plus my video are just more grist for Trump's mill. (I'm waiting for my check.)
Still, the smart money is often wrong. And Trump's ego is, as I noted in the video, the size of Brooklyn. He may really run.
Which leads me to my main subject, the role of egotism in politics. It is one of the perils of democracy, especially a modern one in a giant country like ours. Who but an egomaniac would have the desire and the sense of entitlement to think he or she should lead the United States of America?
In this election season, we are in the midst of a festival of egomania. Some candidates hide it better than others, but it is always there.