And in the game played today for the U.S. presidency, nobody is personally richer than Donald Trump.
Not counting Hillary’s offshore assets.
Trump’s wealth and his willingness to use it is why he’s still in the game, even though so many of the tried-and-true players don’t want him there, and the GOP doesn’t want him on its team.
Wasn’t the upcoming 2016 election supposed to be the coronation of Republican Jeb Bush, by the hereditary right of divine kings?
After all, Jeb’s brother was president, their father was president, and their paternal grandfather wanted to be president. And Jeb had done the Bush family thing and gotten himself elected governor of Florida, and he did a good job at that, just like his brother had done a good job being governor of Texas, and it seemed like it would all be a shoo-in love fest and Bar and George would go back to using the White House as their retirement condo and zipping around Maine with Secret Service personnel in tow.
Until it all went wrong.
Now, angry, resentful Jeb heads up the “Dump Trump” movement, and to hell with what “the little people” want.
The alternative coronation was that of former First Lady Hillary Clinton, a lawyer who has had only one real ambition since her college days, and that is to be the first woman president of the United States. To get to the White House, though, she married a man whose arrival was far more certain than her own, even though they seemed sorely and mystifyingly mismatched as a couple. A daughter appeared, and so did lots of babes. Some of these were for Hillary’s hubby– the kind with big hair and big other things. The Clinton’s handler, James Carville, used to call it a “Bimbo Eruption.” But then, whispers began that Hillary had some bimbos of her own– a rumor that helped Clinton create a very modern, liberal constituency. Until her older years, Hillary was mostly a first lady– first lady of Arkansas, a state for which she evinced no particular affection, when her husband became governor, and then first lady of the nation when he became president for two terms.
Her work as a Yale lawyer ended somewhat ignominiously in the Rose Law Firm scandal. Subpoenaed documents that she could not locate somehow miraculously appeared, and her former law partner who’d come to Washington with her was found shot to death under mysterious circumstances which were officially ruled “suicide.”
And since it is official, it must be true. Right?
Hillary then moved to Chappaqua in upstate New York– a place that oozes quaintness and is mostly now a commuters’ bedroom community full of charming places to hang on the weekends. Hillary became a New York senator and then was appointed Secretary of State, and gave us the Bengazi debacle. Her questionable use of her own cell phone and email server for confidential government communications is still at issue.
It’s almost as bad as being born in Canada.
But then, along came Bernie Sanders, who emerged from the Socialist fringe to now running almost neck-and-neck with the woman who, like Jeb Bush, was considered to be a shoo-in because...because...because, uhm, well, just because she wants it and it is her turn to wear the crown and carry the scepter and people really, really liked her husband and isn’t it time that America had a woman president because Germany’s got one and Great Britain had one and Hilary isn’t getting any younger, you know.
So, there was to be a coronation. Of someone– Jeb or Hillary, take your pick.
Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump were never expected to be more than just the court jester and stable boy in this royal contest.
And these two heirs to the throne, Jeb and Hillary, were going to just go through this little technical matter called a primary, where the soldiers on the playing field are taken down, one by one, and the true competitors– the heirs to the throne– emerge. And then, Jeb and Hillary would each try to pull the sword from the stone, and whoever could do that would automatically be crowned king of England.
I mean, America.
I mean, United States of America. As opposed to Canada, Mexico and everything south.
But in America, every once in a while, someone– a stranger– rides into town on a great white horse and shakes the place up.
And just when everything was going according to the grand plan of the heirs apparent.
Suddenly, there’s a shoot-out at noon on the main drag in front of the saloon, and it no longer matters whether you are the son of a former president, the brother of a former president, or the wife of a former president.
What matters is how straight you can shoot.
This election cycle, there are two white-horse riders: Socialist Bernie Sanders, and rich businessman Donald Trump. Two decades ago, Bernie might have won the popularity of the young (but little else) on a “Save the Whales” environmental ticket. But former presidential candidate Al Gore unsuccessfully tried that a while back. Today, winning the young is about Socialism with a capital “S.” Bernie, an elderly Share the Wealther from super-liberal Vermont by way of super-liberal New York, is riding on a “share the wealth” platform promising free college education and free medical care– similar to what European countries achieved for their citizens after deciding after World War II that wars of foreign intervention were just too expensive, and the money could be better spent at home. Hillary, whose own national health care program went down in spectacular flames during her husband’s presidency (a barely remembered moment), has been caught completely off-guard by the “Feel the Bern” phenomenon.
Young people love underdogs, and young people love Bernie as much as young people loved Senator George McGovern way back when. And although McGovern lost the presidency to Richard Nixon, McGovern at least had the considerable satisfaction of watching his Republican rival go down in flames over the White House tapes and Watergate break-in scandal while the rest of the electorate scratched its heads and wondered how Nixon, who won rather handily, could have been so insecure that he had to tape everything he said on the telephone and use dirty tricks.
Bernie has now gone from a fringe candidate to a man who, like Donald Trump, wants to win.
And he’s not afraid to stick a knife into fellow democrat and liberal Hillary to do it.
Hillary is wondering, “What happened? Why can’t I pull the sword out from the stone? Where is my crown? Where is my robe, my scepter? Why is there a knife in my back?”
Jeb is pondering the same, and because his routing was much earlier, was more publicly humiliating, and disappointed his parents, he is openly vengeful.
Jeb is using whatever means left to him to ensure, through the Republican Party, that Trump is defeated this fall.
Because to the Bushes, politics is a rich man’s game– one where, even when you lose, you can still keep playing from the sidelines.
Just keep throwing those knives.