During the election, I often asked acquaintances just what they thought Trump’s racket was.
Was it all an advertising campaign to build his brand? Was it a joke that went too far? Was he an Alex Jones-style anti-globalist, a KKK Grand Wizard, a deranged person? All of the above?
One particular acquaintance suggested a different theory, one which re-entered my mind last week as Trump’s tax cuts moved towards reality.
They proposed that Trump was acting as a jilted member of the elite, someone who so badly wanted to be part of the highest of high rollers, but who was always too boorish, too “new money” for acceptance.
They pointed to his adversarial relationship with the elite in his home city of New York. They pointed to the creation of his beloved Mar-a-Lago, during which he was opposed by the oldest of Palm Beach old money. They pointed to his constant boasts that he donated money to political candidates from both parties — They may have rejected me but they still needed my money.
What I failed to work through at the time were the implications of this theory; how it might play out.
People with a vendetta are usually seeking revenge, and it was possible Trump was seeking revenge against those who had excluded him from the one thing he most desired.
Instead, it has been the opposite, with Trump making one more grandiose attempt to curry favor with the elite.
Every President since Ronald Reagan (at least) has cut taxes and/or regulations on the 1%, but Trump is doing so in such a flamboyant way as to almost be satire. Even sources in the mainstream media are calling Trump’s tax cuts — approved by Congress and signed by the President December 22 — the biggest wealth grab in modern history.
It’s as if Trump is saying, “Ok you guys, if I give you everything you ever dreamed of and more then can I be in your club?”
It’s kind of a sad story really, though I suppose it works well with Trump’s insecure, bullying personality.
One additional thought on Trump’s tax cuts:
Much has been made last week over Trump’s claims that companies are “showering their workers with bonuses” as a result of his tax cuts. It is true that some companies have given workers Christmas bonuses. There is debate over whether in the big picture these bonuses amount to “crumbs,” as Nancy Pelosi suggested, and what the long-term effects of the cuts might be.
It has been nearly 40 years of Reaganomics, though Trump does represent the ideology in its most naked form. But when discussing crumbs and long-term effects, really only one trump card needs to be played:
Quote of the Week: