The true loss for Trump: sta­tus among the fa­mous

Toronto Star - - ENTERTAINMENT & LIFE -

Don­ald Trump ran for pres­i­dent on a plat­form of lies.

From small fibs to toxic whop­pers the size of Mace­do­nia, he spent the bet­ter part of 18 months giv­ing the truth a wedgie. He put re­al­ity in a head­lock. On Tues­day, as the U.S. elec­tion comes to a mer­ci­ful end, Trump could hold up a pic­ture of a tri­an­gle, call it a cir­cle and his sup­port­ers would chant, “Yeah, a cir­cle! Lock her up!”

Win or lose, this is Trump’s legacy: he stum­bled into pol­i­tics, a field not ex­actly marked by lush hon­esty, and car­pet­bombed every fact in sight. He hi­jacked the party of Abra­ham Lin­coln and an­i­mated it with the in­stincts of a shame­less as­bestos sales­man. He made Lance Arm­strong, Stephen Glass, James Frey and Ryan Lochte look like clergy by com­par­i­son.

Or as Barack Obama put it on Sun­day, re­fer­ring to the way Trump bla­tantly in­vented a tale about how the U.S. pres­i­dent “screamed” at a pro­tester when he was de­fend­ing the man: “He thought it was OK to just lie. Wasn’t even try­ing to be sneaky about it. That says some­thing about how un­ac­cept­able be­hav­iour has be­come nor­mal . . . (Trump) said the ex­act op­po­site of what hap­pened.”

This is Trump’s modus operandi and rai­son d’être, all rolled into a Jolly Rancher farce star­ring a racist Pinoc­chio.

If it emerges that Trump is worth only 500 bucks or that he once sex­u­ally as­saulted the Statue of Lib­erty or that his name is Dave, no­body would gasp with hor­ror.

Not now. Not af­ter this elec­tion cy­cle ex­posed the bot­tom­less depths of his un­ac­cept­able be­hav­iour.

If he loses on Tues­day, it’s tempt­ing to be­lieve Trump will melt into a pool of in­tro­spec­tion and au­dit his pro­found short­com­ings as a hu­man. But this too is a lie. So­ciopaths don’t have the ca­pac­ity for re­morse. The truth is, Trump never re­ally wanted to be pres­i­dent. That’s not a great life for any­one with the at­ten­tion span of a new­born.

You can’t suc­ceed as com­man­der-inchief when you have the self-con­trol of a bonobo chimp in heat. You can’t plot mul­ti­lat­eral agree­ments or chart do­mes­tic pol­icy when you’re too busy slur­ring en­e­mies on Twit­ter.

Trump just wanted the ego hit in know­ing he could be pres­i­dent.

For a man ob­sessed with sta­tus, this was al­ways the se­cret prize.

But what Trump will re­gret is that he is now a pariah among the fa­mous. He’s a joke to the rich.

He is ra­dioac­tive to the celebri­ties who turned out in glit­ter­ing droves to sup­port Hil­lary Clin­ton: from LeBron James to Katy Perry, Lady Gaga to Shonda Rhimes, Steven Spiel­berg to Robert De Niro, Ge­orge and Amal Clooney to Jay Z and Bey­oncé, Ellen DeGeneres to Amy Schumer. The list is end­less and it touches every de­mo­graphic.

On Mon­day night, Bruce Spring­steen ser­e­naded Clin­ton fans in Philadel­phia. “Born in the U.S.A.” is now an anti-Trump an­them and you just know irony must be killing him.

By con­trast, who stumped for Trump? Chachi? Ted Nu­gent?

Con­trary to the big­gest lie Trump tried to pass off — that he’s a cham­pion for the work­ing class — he’s never cared about “ev­ery­day” Amer­i­cans. Most of his diehard sup­port­ers wouldn’t even get in­ter­views for en­try-level jobs at his com­pany.

Trump cares about poor peo­ple in the same way he cares about book learn­ing.

But what he’s al­ways cared about — and why run­ning for pub­lic of­fice was such a colos­sal per­sonal mis­take — was the be­lief he was part of the very cul­tural elite his fol­low­ers dis­dain. That he was a TV star, a suc­cess­ful ty­coon with­out peer, a one-man brand pow­er­house, all of which is now demon­stra­bly un­true.

Does Trump re­ally care about mov­ing into the White House? No.

And that’s why he was al­ways dis­pro­por­tion­ately un­hinged by the Satur­day Night Live sketches, by the daz­zling con­certs for Clin­ton, by the mock­ery from late-night co­me­di­ans, by the dis­mis­sive jabs in life­style and fash­ion mag­a­zines, by the now con­sen­sus in Hol­ly­wood that he is an evil nar­cis­sist with an in­sa­tiable need for at­ten­tion.

Com­ing from Hol­ly­wood, that’s say­ing some­thing.

If his vot­ers, many of whom have le­git­i­mate eco­nomic anx­i­eties, be­lieve Trump will re­main as their de facto voice in the event of a Clin­ton vic­tory, they are even more delu­sional than pre­vi­ously imag­ined. Trump spent zero days in pol­i­tics be­fore his can­di­dacy and he’ll spend zero days af­ter the dust set­tles. Screw the vot­ers. Screw Amer­ica. Now it’s time for his Mis­sion Im­pos­si­ble se­quel: Make Trump Great Again. vmenon@thes­tar.ca

Vi­nay Menon

DOUG MILLS/THE NEW YORK TIMES

Don­ald Trump is ra­dioac­tive to the celebri­ties who turned out in glit­ter­ing droves to sup­port Hil­lary Clin­ton, in­clud­ing Bey­oncé.

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