We should consider the possibility that Donald Trump is not really running a presidential campaign at all—that this is not politics, but psychotherapy. Trump has always been a figure of fun among those whose respect he most craves — the New York business community and the editors of the New York Times — and he obviously desires to be something more than a reality-television grotesque: a figure of significance. His presidential campaign is his bid for self-actualization, and it has taken along a great many gullible and credulous people — and a major political party — for the ride.
There is in the South an expression, “waving the bloody shirt,” which derives from a legendary episode involving a Massachusetts congressman displaying the tattered, gory garment of a thrashed Ku Klux Klan victim during a speech before the House of Representatives. (It’s a good story, but it never actually happened.) Trump doesn’t know much, but he does know showmanship, and he knew when to wave the bloody shirt and whose to wave: the one belonging to murder victim Kathy Steinle, killed by an illegal alien who was a seven-time felon. Presidencies have been built on less.
But anybody who believes that Trump is sincere in his beliefs — which change by the minute — is a sucker.
If you want a good indicator of how unserious Trump is and what his real motives are, consider that even as he is losing in practically every swing state, many by large margins, he announced last week his intent to concentrate on . . . Connecticut. Connecticut hasn’t gone Republican since 1988, it’s as Democratic as New Jersey and Massachusetts, and Trump is well behind Clinton in the polls there, unable even to break 40 percent. Connecticut has a grand total of seven votes in the Electoral College, meaning that it would be a very small prize even if it were won. It is, however, home to a great many New York City moneymen and assorted magnates, poobahs, and tycoons. (British tax refugee Keith Richards has long lived in a quiet country home there.) It’s also a place where Trump can campaign and still sleep in his own gilded bed at night, and perhaps pop in for dinner at Jean Georges.