Saturday, November 12, 2022

A Shakespearean Trump

In the aftermath of Tuesday’s less-than-satisfactory election outcome, Donald Trump went all Shakespearean. That is, he dialed up the drama, made it all about him, and attacked fellow Republicans Gov. Ron DeSantis and Gov. Glenn Youngkin. 

At the very least, it was strange behavior. Calling DeSantis, DeSanctimonious was simply off. Criticizing Youngkin because his name sounded Chinese suggested that Trump had spent so much time marinating in his grievances that he lost the thread. His much vaunted capacity for diminishing his opponents suddenly started looking stale and unengaging.

After all, these two men were being touted as the future of the Republican Party. Donald Trump was raging because he had just been relegated to the past. Yesterday’s news, as it were.

It was not unTrumpian. After all, Trump chose and excluded candidates based on whether they accepted or rejected his assertion that the election of 2020 had been stolen. He may or may not have been right. And yet, it still begs the question: what should we do if we could prove that the Biden people had stolen the election. Erase the past two years and go back to the future? You know and I know that this is not going to happen. Still, nursing  grievance, whether it defines woke culture, or a stolen election, bespeaks a failure to engage with the present. 

To be fair, it makes for great drama, even great Shakespearean drama. Old King Lear, dispossessed of his ruling authority, naked on the heath, railing against the storm-- the one that he is powerless to influence.

The more pundits and politicians declare Trump to be yesterday's news, the more noise he makes, the more he tries to make it all about him. The fact that his epithets about his prospective opponents fall flat tells us that he is beyond his time. That he has passed from leadership to its theatrical representation.

After all, if you want to lead you need to bring people together. You need to convince them that you are all working together to a common purpose, a purpose that rises beyond personal self-aggrandizement. If you succeed at the expense of your colleagues, if you make it all about you and not about them, the chances are good that they, weighed down by insult and invective, are less motivated to do their best work.

If your boss views you with contempt, will you make the extra effort to make him look good?

Donald Trump divided the world into winners and losers. He understood that America had been declining because it could not win wars. It was losing out in competition because it had become too squeamish to compete.

Then again, there is more to life, and even to executive work, than winning. There is-- governing. Ron DeSantis rose above the din and turned Florida bright red because he took charge. He knew how to govern, and possessed a quality that is so rare among leaders who aspire to be petty tyrants.

Recall Hurricane Ian, a massive challenge for any executive. And recall the DeSantis press briefings about the storm. Without going into too much detail, you must recall that the Florida governor had a full and complete command of the relevant information, including a predicted damage assessment and all of the resources that the state would marshal to protect the citizenry. It was an object lesson in good governance. The governor rattled off facts and figures as though he was in charge. Clearly, the people of Florida were grateful to be in such good hands. There was no drama. He was not out on the heath railing against Nature with requisite macho bravado. 

We saw a governor who was working for the people. It made perfectly good sense that the people of Florida rewarded him and his party last Tuesday.


Bizzy Brain said...

You kinda sorta got your analogy backwards. Trump is David. You Never Trumpers will be sorely disappointed if you get your DeSantis wish and realize that he is not "Trump without the baggage," but simply a politician without as much fabricated baggage. He has not had the real world experience of Donald Trump, and heaven only knows where he comes down on energy independence and the border wall.

hayek said...

The object of elections is to win. There simply aren't enough Trump worshipers to win an election. DeSantis or Youngkin and perhaps others have the requisite abilities to build winning coalitions. I care about the country, not Trump's psyche.

James Lewis said...

Bizzy said it all.

Anonymous said...

Can you win an election without the Trump supporters? Well yes if you are Democrat in fact dividing the Republican party is exactly what you would do. So knowing that, why would Mitch McConnel not try to appeal to Trump supporters? Let me answer that: Mitch wins even if Democrats dominate the senate and POTUS. He still has power and he is making millions every year (doing god knows what) He and many like him are not in congress to make America great again or at all and they could give a shit less about you or America. Name the number 1 politicians who does want to make America great, cares about the citizens and the country. Yeah there is just one and THAT is why Trump supporters continue to support him.

We are on the verge of WW III, Nuclear war has never been more likely. Both China and Russia are considering war with us and the Biden puppet has in less than two years destroyed our military and it is doubtful we can win or survive WW III. Let me say that a different way; if WW III breaks out you and your family will die probably in a horrible way. And the only politician in the last 14 years who tried to fix this problem sends mean tweets and that is what you are afraid off!? Wake up! This shit is getting real.

IamDevo said...

Am I the only one whose support for Trump was premised, not remotely on him as a man, a leader or some kind of hero, but purely on the fact that he was the ONLY candidate not raised in and tainted by the corrupt behemoth that is the party system? As an outsider to this system, albeit an "insider" in many other ways, he was the only wedge that could be inserted into that toxic stump of malignity that our politics has become and split it open for all to see. I recognized that he was no Churchill, let alone a Caesar, but a tool for the destruction of the horrible system we have allowed to crush us under the weight of centralized government. Even so, I was happy to see many of the results he obtained during his short term in office and over the insane opposition mounted by the established political leaders in Washington, DC as well as their supporters in the Major Media (tm) and outright communists in the democrat party. Washington, Hamilton and Madison all warned about the dangers inherent in allowing political parties, or "factions" to arise. However, it soon became apparent that their warnings would go unheeded, but we can clearly see now exactly where this party mentality has left us. It's "us" against "them" on everything, all the time. Bipartisanship has come to mean "do what I want". Of course, we can thank those whose stupidity has convinced them to adopt left-wing (more accurately, communist/totalitarian) ideologies, with the emphasis on turning everything into a political struggle ("the personal is political" being their slogan) for having put the "factions" on steroids. I will continue to support any politician who I perceive to be inclined to dismantle the existing corrupt system, whether Trump or his potential successor. However, if no such politician emerges, then I shall support the one most likely to foster our ability to dissent from the system as the next best thing.