Mr. Trump gave one of his stemwinder, freestyle, stream-of-consciousness speeches last night in The Woodlands, Texas which is – I think – a particularly conservative Houston suburb. From what I can tell most of it was his usual collection of one-liners, but the closing two minutes – captured here by CBS – are worth watching because it offers an insight into the fantasy world of Donald Trump. Watching him, I can’t help but think he actually believes “winning” is an act of will and that he will simply compel the country to win and the rest of the world to go along with that decision.
From working with and watching politicians for much of my life I know that every politician has an ego and it’s usually huge. This is an observation independent of party affiliation, office, success at the ballot box or other personal qualities. I’ve seen ego in the most liberal politicians and the most conservative. Those professing to be “servant leaders” have egos every bit as big and demanding as those branded elitist and imperious. It is a necessary component for running for election – a brutal process – and for governing. Obama has it, as does Sanders, the Clintons, the Bushes, Cruz, Kasich and any other candidate you care to name.
Ego, however, that’s so overwhelming that it’s delusional is not healthy and it’s not a quality we should want in our elected officials. The presumptive Republican nominee has one that should send all of us running for exits.
PS – The other thing that’s worth noting from the clip is Mr. Trump’s mood; he’s clearly very happy to be among his supporters and in large numbers. I’m not entirely sure of this point, but I get the impression that his rallies have been somewhat smaller over the last couple of weeks – smaller crowds, no lines to get in, etc. – and this event was apparently packed with people turned away (though the exact number varies according to those covering the event). If you want to watch the entire event – including the warm-up speakers – it’s available here.