Donald Trump walked onto the stage for the first time like a suit-and-tie bull in a china shop. If there is anything in particular his horns aimed at was everything, from trade deals to tariffs, to bad, bad Ford, China, ISIL, Muslims, and Mexicans. He brought with him the aura of a self-assertive bully, of the one who would change things, of the champion and the doer, while everyone else was a clown. Like Alexander who knew he would conquer the Persians and end their empire, Donald Trump strode in and unraveled the Gordian Knot like the great ancient king himself, with a swoop of the sword. He was the one who would upend the world, almost literally. All he needed to do was roll up his sleeves and hand-wrench it the other way. It is true what Donald Trump said when he decided to run for president, that he didn’t “need to do that”—meaning that he was the changer of all games. One only need to look at his life to know that he spoke the truth. If there is one thing Donald Trump is not, it is forgettable. In one fell swoop what we knew of him was blown to smithereens by the first tsunami that poured from his mouth. Whatever love the old-time gang of faithful followers had for him, disappeared in an instant. Whoever did not pay much attention to him before, paid attention, and either loved him or hated him.
—These words began it all. They are what shaped the Trump candidacy. It was the beginning of both his rise and his fall, and no one ever looked back. Although his fans (formed of both sides of the isle) might not believe that Mexicans are deserving of this charge, the insinuation from their new candidate had a profound significance: here was a man, whatever his poor choice of words, who would actually do something to contain illegal immigration. But this was only the beginning of the beginning (what many believed was the beginning of the end) of Donald Trump. The world was stunned, much of it angry. One can say anything about illegal immigrants: they’re taking advantage of the American system and her resources; they’re having “anchor babies;” they have broken the law (yes, even that some “may be” rapists)—and that Mexico must pay for the wall. But when you peg an adjective of that sort upon a group of people without any exclusion, you have gone further than anyone has gone before.
—The face of Trump changed forever, not in physiognomy, but spiritually. Something had been let loose: a new knowledge. No one ever called Trump a racist before, and now many are wondering if this has always been the makeup of the man. It is very likely (initially, at least), that he did not mean to say that all Mexicans were rapists, and that what he truly meant, poorly spoken, was that the danger of illegal immigration was the fact that some will be—just like some will be other types of criminal, etc., and that we must protect ourselves against the unknown. But when he said that “some of them I’m sure are nice,” he put the last nail in his coffin: he was deliberately saying that all illegal Mexicans were rapist. At least most. The nature of Trump is to never take anything back, but to double down on his heresies, and this may have been the symptom driving the “some of them I’m sure are nice” pronouncement. But people don’t think in these terms. People listen and believe. The offense, of course, would not go unanswered. I predict that he will get fewer Mexican-American votes than any other candidate in history.
—But like Alexander on the way to his conquests, Donald Trump did not stop there. His goal seemed to wish to offend the whole world. His cheerleaders cheered the more. Donald was letting us know that he cared for nothing but political correctness (or incorrectness), and that he would say anything to his heart’s content. Reading his book, one might learn a bit of his strategy—i.e., “hook them all up with disturbing lines, and get their attention.” Not a quote from the book, but evidently his book’s advice.
—If there is something Donald might himself suspect, is that his strategy might backfire. It is not lost to any sensible and rational visionary that this throwing of fiery bricks in the air might fall on the candidate’s own head, and that the man of The Art of the Deal may be soon known as, “The Man Who Lost the Deal.”
—One thing we can be sure of: having put so much on the line, things will never be same for Donald Trump should he lose the election. He has added more enemies to his public and even private roster than anyone should dream of. The lawsuit against Trump University—demonstrating the bias against an easy target—could be the first cough of the painful, end-of-all flue. No lawsuit or trial against Hillary Clinton is imminent, showing her vast protection (the head of the DOJ was appointed by a Democrat). With this sluggishness or deliberate inactivity in the email case against Hillary Clinton, the wall is building around Donald Trump rather than around Mexicans. Donald Trump himself seems to know that this is the make-or-break move of his life, the kind of move one undertakes when approaching the last spasm, when there is only thing left to do, the crowning achievement, in one’s long, life’s journey.
—It is true that we may never see him again, as he himself has said, should he not become president. Should he not hang his sneakers, or himself, there is only one route he would have to continue being relevant (and even that path seems closed): to continue being a politician. But he is too rich and enamored of his business empire to ever contemplate it. The question before us therefore is: will he end in fire or in ice?