Trump Wins By Wearing You Down
Maggie Haberman’s essential, definitive Donald Trump biography Confidence Man is full of never-heard-before anecdotes and subtle, smart insights about the man, all delivered in a relentlessly readable package: I suspect of all the Trump books, it’s the one that will stand the test of time. (Unless he becomes President again, in which case he’ll probably just end up banning it.) But there’s one moment in the book that I speaks most powerfully to our current moment, specifically the midterm elections, which, increasingly, look like they’re going to go Trump’s and the Republican’s way.
It’s early on, when Trump was still just a cocky real estate bro trying to starting out and buying up high-profile real estate in Manhattan. He had long wanted to build on the Upper West Side side, specifically a section of rail yards that had been made available in a bankruptcy of a company called Penn Central. He’d lost the option to buy the yards back in 1979, but the option was still available, and everyone else had forgotten about it. But Trump hadn’t. And thus he used one of his superpowers:
While long-term planning was not in him, Trump was well-versed in the habit of obsessive thought, a continued private focus on something from which others had long ago moved on.
If you will remember, in the early days after Trump left office, there was this idea that he might just … go away. Trump appeared to have lost the nation’s collection attention: He was just a pathetic old man wandering aimlessly around his haunted Florida mansion, interrupting random people’s weddings.
That’s a pathetic human being right there, and more to the point, he looks like a pathetic human being. You don’t need to pay attention to that guy. He’s not the President anymore: What a waste of time. So we moved on. This was the promise of the Biden Presidency. Not abundance, not unending wealth, not foundational reform: Just a normal President that we didn’t have to think about every…