Donald Trump entered the race to become the 2016 Republican nominee for president yesterday. And to that I say thank you because Donald will be a hilariously bad candidate.
This is not something I merely think, this is something that I’m confident I know. Because Donald is a full-blown narcissist.
Sadly for me I had to grow up with one of these screwed-up people, and so I have become something of an expert on them. And I can tell you that not only will Donald not win the nomination, he will barely compete. The odds are actually pretty good that he’ll never even file the papers to officially become a candidate for president. It’s much more likely he’ll delay the filing, and then he’ll delay it again, and then he’ll find some excuse to bow out – like family matters, health interventions or business callings.
Why? Because narcissists frankly have it hard. For them the prospect of failing in public is a nightmare of epic proportions, the worst possible disaster. So Trump will be less than enthusiastic about pressing a campaign if his nomination isn’t already in the bag. He will be completely uninterested in spending months traveling the country and competing for votes, especially if it ends up being against a viable candidate. It’s only the current prospect of a cakewalk against the likes of Carly Fiorina and George Pataki that’s finally sucked him into the game. But when he finds out tomorrow, to his surprise, that his announcement did little to change the polling or improve his chances he’ll already be in trouble.
You can ask Newt Gingrich about that. In the earlygoing of the last election, in December of 2011, he became the early frontrunner for the Republican nomination. And I wrote this and this in response. In short: Newt Gingrich will not win the nomination.
Narcissists do very poorly managing responsibility, and fewer things are more difficult than successfully carrying something as large as an entire campaign for a year. Great men regularly fail at this. Flawed men almost always fail at it.
The interesting thing for us with regard to Newt the Great is that narcissists are utterly predictable sorts. While he’ll likely fail, we can make some pretty fair predictions about how he’ll do it. Starting with this:
1.) Newt will eclipse his own campaign. The need to impress upon you his greatness will kill the campaign’s messaging. Gingrich has surely been telling his staff that talking about himself is the same as talking about the campaign (it isn’t). And the ways Gingrich will hype himself will come twofold: bragging and gargantuan ideas.
Get a load of the bragging Trump did Tuesday.
And remember the $5 billion [Obamacare] website? $5 billion we spent on a website, and to this day it doesn’t work. A $5 billion website.
I have so many websites, I have them all over the place. I hire people, they do a website. It costs me $3…
I sell apartments for— I just sold an apartment for $15 million to somebody from China. Am I supposed to dislike them? I own a big chunk of the Bank of America Building at 1290 Avenue of the Americas, that I got from China in a war. Very valuable.
I love China. The biggest bank in the world is from China. You know where their United States headquarters is located? In this building, in Trump Tower…
And the one thing is that when you run, you have to announce and certify to all sorts of governmental authorities your net worth.
So I said, “That’s OK.” I’m proud of my net worth. I’ve done an amazing job…
So I have a total net worth, and now with the increase, it’ll be well-over $10 billion. But here, a total net worth of—net worth, not assets, not— a net worth, after all debt, after all expenses, the greatest assets— Trump Tower, 1290 Avenue of the Americas, Bank of America building in San Francisco, 40 Wall Street, sometimes referred to as the Trump building right opposite the New York— many other places all over the world.
So the total is $8,737,540,000.
Now I’m not doing that…I’m not doing that to brag, because you know what? I don’t have to brag. I don’t have to, believe it or not.
Of course – because bragging is for little people. And what about gargantuan ideas? The kind that are laughably unlikely? Try this:
I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively, I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall.
Mark my words.
Nobody would be tougher on ISIS than Donald Trump. Nobody. [note – from two weeks ago: “Trump said…he knows of ‘a way of beating ISIS so easily, so quickly, so effectively, and it would be so nice.’”]
I will find — within our military, I will find the General Patton or I will find General MacArthur, I will find the right guy. I will find the guy that’s going to take that military and make it really work. Nobody, nobody will be pushing us around.
I will stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. And we won’t be using a man like Secretary Kerry…who’s just being tapped along as they make weapons right now, and then goes into a bicycle race at 72 years old, and falls and breaks his leg. I won’t be doing that. And I promise I will never be in a bicycle race.
At least he can deliver on the bicycle race part. But of all the things he said, this is the best. This is how a narcissist makes a sincere argument to win your vote.
I would call up the head of Ford, who I know. If I was president, I’d say, “Congratulations. I understand that you’re building a nice $2.5 billion car factory in Mexico and that you’re going to take your cars and sell them to the United States zero tax, just flow them across the border.”
…I would say, “Congratulations. That’s the good news. Let me give you the bad news. Every car and every truck and every part manufactured in this plant that comes across the border, we’re going to charge you a 35-percent tax, and that tax is going to be paid simultaneously with the transaction, and that’s it.
Now, here’s what is going to happen. If it’s not me in the position, it’s one of these politicians that we’re running against…They’re not so stupid. They know it’s not a good thing, and they may even be upset by it. But then they’re going to get a call from the donors or probably from the lobbyist for Ford and say, “You can’t do that to Ford, because Ford takes care of me and I take care of you, and you can’t do that to Ford.”
And guess what? No problem. They’re going to build in Mexico. They’re going to take away thousands of jobs. It’s very bad for us.
So under President Trump, here’s what would happen:
The head of Ford will call me back, I would say within an hour after I told them the bad news. But it could be he’d want to be cool, and he’ll wait until the next day. You know, they want to be a little cool.
And he’ll say, “Please, please, please.” He’ll beg for a little while, and I’ll say, “No interest.” Then he’ll call all sorts of political people, and I’ll say, “Sorry, fellas. No interest,” because I don’t need anybody’s money. It’s nice. I don’t need anybody’s money.
I’m using my own money. I’m not using the lobbyists. I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich…
After I’m called by 30 friends of mine who contributed to different campaigns, after I’m called by all of the special interests and by the— the donors and by the lobbyists— and they have zero chance at convincing me, zero— I’ll get a call the next day from the head of Ford. He’ll say. “Please reconsider,” I’ll say no.
He’ll say, “Mr. President, we’ve decided to move the plant back to the United States, and we’re not going to build it in Mexico.” That’s it. They have no choice. They have no choice.
And politics is supposed to be hard.
If you just want the short version of Trump’s salespitch, here it is: “Why does everybody else fail? Why do I succeed? Because I’m me.” Donald deserves to win your vote beyond all the other candidates not because he knows politics, or studies the issues, or is even aware there are actually three branches of government (Congress imposes tariffs). He deserves to win for the best reason of all: Because he exists. It’s the same reason he’d easily be the world’s best bowling-ball juggler, or lunar astronaut.
Because of that amazing fact what little campaigning we’ll see of Donald will consist entirely of the ‘candidate’ showing up before the voters, engaging in rudderless rambling about himself, about how great he is and how stupid the other candidates are, and in general being an utter and glorious mess. Or, in political terms, acting like a complete loser. Don’t count on seeing him do it for very long.