For those of us who wish for an early and complete collapse of the Trump presidency, the stalled health care bill is an intriguing moment. Trump does, alas, have the capacity to reinvent himself. He did so during his business career. He failed at real estate development, vastly overpaying for marquis properties like the Plaza in New York, then loading them up with debt, then being unable to service the debt through operating revenue. He failed at the casino business — for a more astute operator, practically a license to print money. He then focused full time on what he does best: build himself as a brand. His company shifted to licensing deals where the name TRUMP was plastered onto buildings that he didn’t build or own, but whose developers saw value in the price bump they got from buyers who wanted to be associated with the Trump name. He then branched out to selling shoddy branded products of all kinds, including the infamous Trump University.
So what does he do now, in the wake of the stalled health care bill? Trump isn’t going to get into the weeds of policy and help McConnell-Ryan figure out what can pass — too intellectually taxing. Maybe Trump continues along the path of playing a reality TV president, blaming legislative failures on Congress while he continues to convince hard core voters that he’s on their side. Whether they will believe him or not, when nothing in their lives gets much better, remains to be seen.
I read an interview with a core Trump supporter, who said that the more the media dumps on Trump, the more he loves his president. “What people don’t like about Trump,” said this voter, “is the same thing they don’t like about me.” The comment lingers, although I’m not sure how to interpret it. Is the Trump presidency a call to arms for latent bullies, for the poorly educated, for the fearful and anxious? Who knew there were so many people like that out there who actually vote?