Meanwhile, Donald Trump -- Donald Trump -- is now the Republican candidate for President. I am baffled by this to a degree that I find a bit hard to articulate; it's one of those things that makes me wonder just when we slipped out of the real timeline and into this bizarre alternate history. Still, Trump could not have secured the nomination if he didn't seem like a reasonable choice to a significant portion of the electorate, and I am not prepared to dismiss that portion of the electorate as merely "stupid" or "bigoted" or what have you.
But -- and again, this is merely my personal take on it -- Trump kind of scares me. And it's not because of his politics; it's because I'm not entirely convinced that he actually *has* any politics, in the sense that normal, reasonable people would use the word. To put that a slightly different way, I don't think he has much at all when it comes to studied, considered views on matters of policy. What he has, I think, is more akin to a sales pitch.
Trump has been a public figure for my entire adult life. During that time, he has always hovered on the edge of being a joke: an apparent narcissist and manic self-promoter, whose primary claim to success was that he was able to keep telling people how successful he was. He has always struck me as the sort of person who would be a small-time hustler with a shady past, trying to get you to buy in on his latest Get Rich Quick scheme, except that he was born into enough money and influence that the usual rules and consequences didn't apply. He went on from there to become a Reality TV star, which strikes me as something that a successful real estate developer shouldn't have time for. He seems to have essentially one strategy, which he uses for everything: lay down enough razzle-dazzle to bring in the investors, then let them do the work and pay the bills, collect the profits and get out before the bills come due, and bluster and threaten if anybody objects. That seems to have served him well enough to keep him afloat (again, given the advantages he was born into) but it's not what I want in our President.
I watch him in interviews, and what I see is this:
1. He thinks of everything primarily in terms of how it relates to him. I don't see that he has any other perspective, or any awareness that there might be other perspectives worth considering.
2. He weighs everything in terms of power balances, and his primary goal is to make sure that he's the one who dominates.
3. He has the attention span of gnat on crack. I can't even begin to imagine him sitting down for an hour-long situation briefing; I think he'd get bored, "take charge", and start giving ill-considered and uninformed orders in the first ten minutes.
Unfortunately, this man has a decent chance of actually becoming our next President... so I really, really hope I'm wrong about all this.