You might think you’ve seen it all. The racism, the misogyny, the antisemitism of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign team. You have watched his mind lurch from segue to segue like a punch-drunk monkey on a ten-speed racing bike and you have taken the measure of the man. He is like a cold you’ve already had, he is the ex girlfriend who broke your heart. You’re immune.
Or so you think.
All Roads Lead To Trump
The engine that drives Trump, runs on pure, unleaded ego. It’s unstoppable; it’s relentless. It passes through solid objects and logic in much the same way an out of date wiener passes through a sick dog. He is the mass at the centre of the universe. He is the sparkle in every woman’s eye. He is the yin and the yang, and if he happens to think those two things are some kind of Asian fruit, who among his compadre dare tell him otherwise? Nothing is too outrageous, nothing is too egregious. Nothing shocks anymore.
Until he compares himself to two of history’s greatest military minds.
That’s kind of shocking to be honest.
This was no election pitch, no plea to those worried that a man with the attention span of Calvin and the skin tone of Hobbes was unfit to be commander-in-chief.
Instead, it came from a sixteen year old Australian pizza advert in which he said:
“Napoleon, Alexander the Great, Donald Trump, we’re all cut from the same cloth. And that cloth is very, very large.”
Say what you like about Trump, his self appraisals never let you down. More narcissistic than a coked-up peacock in a hall of mirrors, the sheer weight of his vanity would bring a lesser man to his knees. Still, the question has to be asked. In what sense is Trump like either of these people?
The Gifted Dictator
Napoleon Bonaparte was something of a self-made man. Born in Corsica in 1769, he was the younger son of a moderately affluent attorney. He attended the military academy at Brienne-le-Château until the age of fifteen before becoming an artillery officer in the French army. Having conducted a series of increasingly brilliant military victories, he overthrew the lawful government in a vicious Coup d’état, set himself up as dictator of France, and then proceeded to wage endless wars with the rest of Europe.
Alexander The Great
Alexander was born in 356 BC in Macedonia, schooled by none other than Aristotle himself and as a young man, conquered half of Asia. Although he also inherited a fortune, he is not thought to have undergone a single bankruptcy, let alone the four that Trump has filed for.
The Spoiled Rich Kid
Trump in contrast, inherited vast wealth from his father, a man who had himself inherited a fortune from his own tax-dodging pimp of a father. Trump’s academic credentials include an allegedly nepotistic four-year stint at Wharton, where he made so little impact, that the Yearbook made no mention of him. His only brush with a military career was a near decade-long attempt to dodge the draft.
It is almost impossible to comprehend the arrogance of a person who is comfortable suggesting that he is cut from the same cloth as such historical figures. Then again, Trump’s claims are so absurd, that initial reactions must eventually give way to a more reasoned thought. Maybe he is like those guys and we can’t see it yet? Maybe we just need to think outside the box
Donald Trump Is Stuck In the Past
The luminaries of the past are always products of their time, remembered fondly only within the context of contemporary values. Queen Elizabeth I was a consummate politician yet somewhat fickle, murderous and vain. George Washington owned slaves. Napoleon Bonaparte was a genius, yet also, a tyrant. His attempt to impose his will upon Europe cost some three million lives. He died in exile, an embittered, broken man, a persecuted, lonely and flawed genius.
Alexander was learned, driven, and possessing of a keen intellect, Trump’s complete opposite really. However, he was also rash, impulsive and intimidated by the successes of his father. His temper was legendary and in later years, the very qualities that led to success in his early life, degenerated into megalomania and paranoia.
Perhaps that’s what Trump meant. Perhaps he was alluding to a very real correlation between his own deeply flawed temperament and the worst traits of the tyrants he most admires. Perhaps he was trying to warn us.
Perhaps we should heed him.
Watch Donald Trump sell pizza and compare himself to Alexander the Great
Featured image via YouTube screengrab.