If Donald Trump’s political odyssey were analogized to a roller-coaster ride, it would be the greatest theme-park thrill ride of all time, with more vertigo-inducing loop-the-loops, sudden stomach-grabbing plunges, and dizzying ascents before a new cycle, all producing more screams, howls, and terror than Jurassic Park crossed with The Shining. (“Heeeere’s Donny!”)
A year into this thrill ride, and I still can’t figure out whether Trump is a genius (Conrad Black’s hypothesis), or a kind of idiot savant, like a Chauncey Gardiner come to life, or a towering egotist who just happened to catch the mood of the yuuge number of disaffected voters at precisely the right moment. It is hard to imagine Trump’s act working in 1988, or 2008, for example.
For a long time you had to wonder whether this whole thing wasn’t just a huge brand elevation exercise for Trump—the biggest business marketing move of all time. This morning I received two Trump emails offering the following deal:
It’s hard to believe. It’s been almost 30 years now since my first book, The Art of the Deal, was published in 1987.
You may remember how it became an instant sensation, reaching #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List and staying on the list for 51 straight weeks. To this day it remains one of the best-selling business books of all time, with more than a million copies sold.
It’s a book about thinking big and taking action to succeed – its lessons are more true than ever, and exactly what our nation needs in this time of crisis and hardship.
Friend, I’ve signed an out-of-print, hardcover copy of The Art of the Deal just for you, because I want you on board with Team Trump! JOIN the movement today, with a contribution of $184 or more, and my assistant will drop it in the mail to you.
Seriously? We’re using a presidential campaign to move a 30-year old book? Must have been a lot of hardcover copies remaindered.
And then what are we to make of Trump’s behavior in the last 48 hours, especially his refusal to offer endorsements for the re-election of John McCain and Paul Ryan? You can chalk this up to ego and narcissism, but in a country where independent voters outnumber Republicans or Democrats maybe Trump is calculating that there’s more to be gained by striking an independent “to-hell-with-all-of-them” pose to voters who really don’t care much about partisan unity—the people who tell pollsters and journalists that that “just want people to get together in Washington and get things done.” This is a silly trope, but perfect for someone who claims to be the master of “the art of the deal.” And it’s so crazy it just might work!
The thing about the Trump roller coaster ride is that it does not have any safety harnesses for the riders. Stock up on Dramamine.