There’s a joke that the three most important things in real estate are location, location and location. In like fashion, the three qualities that define Donald Trump are bullshit, bullshit and more bullshit. You probably read Trump’s Twitter tempest Thursday, when the SCOTUS ruling came down 7-2, that Trump’s financial records could be released to the Manhattan D.A. The reason Trump came unglued is not just the legal ramifications of his finances being known, but something far far greater. He can’t handle losing the image of the big shot billionaire. That is what’s killing him. He figures he can somehow buy his way out of doing time, but the tarnishment of his brand is a different kettle of fish altogether. Daily Beast:
What really bothers Trump, what unsettled him to his core, is that the decision to reveal his taxes to the New York grand jury comes at the same time his political fortunes have taken a nosedive. He knows that as early as January, he could be a former president without Bill Barr running cover for him. He knows that even if he ekes out an unlikely victory in November, Congress now has a pathway to launch a forensic financial colonoscopy of his business affairs.
He has no ambition to truly lead, and God knows he doesn’t give a damn about any kind of policy whatsoever, but is running to save himself.
Trump doesn’t want to win again. He needs to win again.
Give Barr four more years, he thinks, and the Interior Minister will choke out every investigation, and end any hope of understanding the web of lies, venality, and corruption that define this presidency and the man.
The preservation of his image is so high in Trump’s hierarchy of needs that nothing else rivals it. And to be honest, that bullshit image got him a long way; too far, in fact.
Bear in mind, Trump only exists on TV and Twitter. He lives for the spotlight. He’s the opposite of a vampire, that combusts in sunlight. No, Trump is only alive when the lights and the camera are on. Twitter is the yard he plays in, but TV is his mansion. You take Trump off TV and he’s homeless. He’s got nowhere to go and nothing to do. He’s only alive when he’s creating a digital presence for “all those lovely people out there in the dark” as Norma Desmond put it in Sunset Boulevard.
Pretending he was too rich to be bought was absolutely central to his success in 2016. But Donald Trump would chase a dollar bill on a string through a trailer park, and he’s sold this country on the cheap since his election. That’s why the coming exposure of his finances has shaken Trump. He’s thinking about the actual audits, and real financial and potentially even legal consequences, awaiting him in his post-presidential years.
Trump’s obsession with his image and his brand emerges from his weird, abusive childhood. As details from his niece Mary Trump’s new book emerge, we see a man imitating his father’s fixation on the image of wealth and power. Like Fred Trump, Donald finds the tabloid ideal of himself more appealing than any reality.
Trump’s comeuppance is a’comin’. That’s a verity. How long until it happens we don’t know. Don’t be sad about the SCOTUS ruling, because we were never going to get Trump’s financials before the election in any event. The fact that Congress can get them at some point is a victory.
But Trump would do well to acknowledge that he, himself, has pulled the levels of his own doom and of course he never will. He’s the architect of his own adversity. If he had handled COVID-19 responsibly, by stepping back from it and letting the experts handle it, when he found out about it in November, he could have claimed that as a victory and he could still play the economy card, which is the only one he had in the deck — but it would have been enough, most probably. As of January, Wall Street was betting that Trump would be reelected. That is not the case in July. They’re betting on Biden.
Trump is in an existential battle now, that very few can appreciate, beyond the fictitious Norma Desmond. He’s got to save his image and he’s got to stay on TV.
Problem is, he’s pitching woo to an ever dwindling base of voters. He’s doubling down on immigration in stupid ways, like threatening to deport college kids here on student visas, if they attend online classes. And his racist pitch to preserve America’s “heritage,” read Confederate past, is bouncing off more than he thought it would.
America’s task right now, if she is to regain control of the reins of government and preserve democracy, and that literally is what this election is all about, is to resoundingly defeat Donald Trump. Only a victory by a large enough margin to be unquestionable will do the trick. May the Gods of war be with us. We cannot lose.