In the Midst of Study

I had such pleasing productive moments today that I twice rewarded myself with enjoyable reading. I read the NYT essay on Donald Trump and the Rolling Stone one. I love the snide way they hack at him. The substance of both essays was to say that this is crazy and cannot last, but we understand why it is happening. They have to know, after all, and they do it very nicely.

Trump is lasting longer than anticipated, it seems, and now becoming more than a sideshow. He’s a source of anxiety. I like what he’s doing–though I did avoid reading the New York Magazine (I think)’s take on how he’s something-ing (ruining) our democracy. Please. He’s making politicians sweat and scramble and providing excellent entertainment out of the otherwise over-prolonged drama of a presidential election nowadays. I like the drama, but a certain fatigue sets in. Trump has ingeniously added a kind of rocket-booster stage to make it work longer, it seems to me. Or course he’s gotta cave, the professional machine will overcome, and when it comes down to the conventions (a more normal, I’d say, election season) he will have a hard time. I’m avoiding the term substance because I don’t think for most of us who are voting what is usually called substance really matters as much as people who talk about it think it does. Substance is the kind of thing we want to think sways us since we are principled participants. I think the candidates we get, the ‘debates’, the televised newscycle belie our pretensions to substance, and am not altogether convinced it makes all that great of a difference who the president is. They’re not a bunch of scoundrels running for president, but they’re the next best thing.

They are all playing the game for reasons that do not flatter any of us in our leadership. Except for Trump, that is. He’s not playing the game, and that’s what’s so fun. He’s louche, he’s unprepared, he’s cunning, unrepentant, and he is absolutely incapable of self-reflection. Self-promotion? Yes, but how unlike Jeb Bush’s boring statistical self-promotion, or the smarmy whatever it is Cruz does. But one thing Trump is not doing is playing the game. He’s neither pathetic nor prepared. He’s . . . Trump.

Don’t you think it would be great if he were sawing at the democrat end of things and not just the republican? He should switch at some point, before one of the rare democratic debates say, and do unto them what he hath been doing to the republicans. The most fun of all would be Trump vs. Biden, head on. It is so entertaining a possibility I’m almost tempted to give money or time to a political cause. Of course, our politics will no doubt disappoint us even in that, but at least for this moment, I can dream.

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