Like a lonely giant from a children’s fable, the one thing that Donald Trump has coveted is the one thing he has always been denied: respect.
But it turns out it was never about our love, nor was it was never about his own fame or fortune or the trappings of ephemeral celebrity. For decades what Trump nursed was a secret desire to be a feared (which to him means respected). To become another cold-eyed strongman in the Vladimir Putin mold.
So now when he looks across the globe toward the basin of the Volga, like one of Chekhov’s three sisters, he pines for Moscow and for the kind of fearful authoritarian grip that rules there. He respects that unchallenged power because he cherishes what it offers: untrammeled authority. He probably can’t name a single American president that he actually admires.
If you look you’ll see that Trump’s entire adult life has been a lonely, uphill quest to ensure that the people who once laughed at him, in particular the genteel Manhattan elites who sniggered at his nouveau riche vulgarity, will finally have the smiles wiped off their faces when they see who’s in charge.
We are potentially closer to that tawdry denouement than we have ever been, closer to Trump’s all-new autocratic ruling style rather than another democratic presidency, and we’re closer to having him erect a giant gold Trump sign outside the White House and the USA - which means over the world.
How do you like them apples now, Manhattan elites?
Media commentators who lament Trump’s disinterest in American international diplomacy mistake him for a politician. He’s not a politician, he’s an amoral street hawker, a man prepared to say or do anything to grab your attention and make the sale. His interest is in making lucrative deals for himself not delving into diplomacy. For him this election is just another high stakes deal.
To win this power he has wrapped his populist pitches around him like a security blanket. Yes he is a racist and yes his racism is the centerpiece of his repulsive agenda, but all that hides what is really in play: this is a private corporate takeover of America’s political system after a hostile takeover of the Republican Party by a man who actually doesn’t care which party wins as long as he calls the shots by the end of it.
Trump has already spelled out exactly what his Putin-like autocratic presidency would look like if we just care to take a look: human rights will be whatever Trump says they are, the same with workers rights and civil rights. Billionaires tend not to put other people’s rights before their own.
The media reports all of this with increasing dread and incredulity, because their alarms are not being heard. This election is not like others they say, this candidate is the most dangerous we’ve seen in the history of the republic, but out there in the country where the daily news glancers are barely paying attention, the sheer scale of the threat to the country has not been adequately discerned.
For once it’s the people with the most to lose who will lost the most: those well heeled grandees of New York City who treated him like a minor character in the Russian plays they like to laugh at. With his jaundiced skin and his attention grabbing antics he was anathema to them, and he burned at their cold rejection. Now the tables could finally turn.
Trump is not really running to make America great again, he’s running to show New York and America and everyone who underestimated him for a lot of years and that it's payback time now - and you know what they say about payback.