The New York Times has an interesting piece about what motivates Donald Trump, written by his biographer Michael Barbaro. According to Barbaro, Trump is driven by a fear of losing status, of appearing irrelevant and a failure.
Trump, according to the article, claims never to have failed because he always turns failure into a success.
Based on Barbaro’s assessment, here’s what I think Trump will do on November 8, assuming Hillary scores a clear win:
He loves controlling the news cycle. Once the major networks have called the election for Hillary, Donald will delay conceding. His campaign, under a barrage of contacts trying to find out what he is going to do, will delay, simply say he isn’t ready yet. Having Mike Pence/Paul Ryan/Mitch McConnell concede on his behalf is a last resort, something they will be loathe to do out of fear of further enraging the Trump base. The Trump campaign won’t say that he refuses to concede, which would make the duty of Pence/Ryan/Mitchell clear. The campaign will say he’s not ready. They’ll give the same message to the Clinton campaign. “Not never, just not now… “, making her seem tacky and presumptuous if she takes the stage and claims victory. Trump will stretch the suspense out as long as possible, trying to keep all eyes on him rather than on the president-elect.
Once forced to concede, or once a concession is made on behalf of the Republican Party, he’ll claim a win because he is the first candidate to make money running for president, making him smart and everyone else stupid. Actually, he is the first candidate to use a presidential election as a money grab — a lot of campaign funding has gone to reimburse Trump companies for services rendered.
And after that? He says he’s not interested in Trump TV. He isn’t going to be very well received by the New York glitterati who booed him at the Al Smith charity dinner. The Republican Party is going to be in a frenzy trying to regain control of the base, and they won’t be asking Trump for help. The Trump kids are running the business. Does he travel the country on his own dime, with his own security, holding rallies to oppose the new administration? I doubt it. He isn’t really charged up by hanging around working class America; they were simply the group most willing to give him uncritical adulation. I think he’s going to be at loose ends, braying to whatever media will listen about how he really is the winner in a rigged system. But at night, alone in Trump Tower, looking out at the lights of New York, I think the feelings he most fears are going to creep in, and those fears are called failure.