In some ways, conservatives are more to blame than are liberals. Lefties have been the leaders in expanding government’s size and scope, but in elevating the presidency, the Right has a good share of the responsibility. It is a not-unnatural extension of conservatives’ love of country and tendency to respect authority.
Mankind’s natural craving for a good king and leader is easily transferred to a president, even though we should know better. When a Democrat is president, the Left will sometimes join in—remember how we were all supposed to “respect the office of the presidency” when Bill Clinton was wantonly besmirching it?—but usually their disrespect for authority is more befitting a free people.
Solnit compares Trump to the careless rich of “The Great Gatsby,” but being president is a level of isolation unlike that of even a Silicon Valley billionaire. There are private homes more ornate than the president’s palace on Pennsylvania Avenue, but none are more removed from normal society. Private jets? The president has Air Force One. Limousines? The president’s motorcade will shut down a whole highway. Bodyguards? He has an entire branch of law enforcement devoted to his protection. That’s not rich: it’s royal.