Eugene O’Neill, the famous American playwright, said that: “There is no present or future-only the past happening over and over again.” Never has the validity of this wisdom been better demonstrated than in the 2016 American political campaign unfolding before our eyes. One has to go deep into the past, back to the days shortly after the crucifixion of Jesus, to find another prominent figure whose narcissism matches that of today’s probable winner in the U.S. presidential race. I’m talking, of course, about Caligula, the emperor/tyrant that ruled the ancient Roman Empire for a brief period before he met an untimely death.
Caligula’s bloodline was that of the Caesars that so despotically governed Rome when it was at its acme of power, around the time that Jesus was preaching his sermon on the Mount. He thus inherited the throne in 37 A.D. but only ruled for 4 years. For the first few months of his reign, Caligula was considered almost a breath of fresh air by the Roman populace because they had been treated so cruelly by previous despots. But there was one problem. Caligula was a total narcissist who could not by abide having his ego bruised. He lashed out at those that offended him. After those first few months of goodwill, he became known for his focus on cruelty, sadism, extravagance, and sexual perversity, and as a person who would kill his perceived opponents, often on a whim. He unconstitutionally further concentrated the political power of the emperor to the point where his proclamations became absolute law. He was described by scribes of that era as an insane, power hungry emperor, constantly angry and self-absorbed, who treated any criticism as treasonous that subjected the critic to execution. His despotic reign became so poisonous that even his inner circle could no longer tolerate his erratic behavior. He was finally murdered in 41 A.D. by his own guards, after 4 years of tyrannical rule.
But, if, as Eugene O’Neill said, the past keeps repeating itself, we see it happening in the U.S. 2000 years later when another total narcissist is just weeks away from becoming the most powerful figure on the planet. That Trump’s narcissism was established early on during this presidential campaign is beyond dispute. That he lashed out at Megyn Kelly, Ted Cruz, the parents of a dead soldier who died in Iraq fighting for the U.S., a sitting judge because of his Hispanic heritage, and many, many others, is beyond dispute. That, once in office, he intends to concentrate all political power in the office of the presidency, the way Caligula did as emperor, is also quite evident. How do I know this? Just look at the people Trump has surrounded himself with.
His new campaign manager is a man named Steve Bannon who has a history of spousal abuse and anti-semitism. He was hired from an extreme right-wing fringe group known as Breitbart News. Years ago when his wife, (now his ex-wife) wanted to send their children to a certain private school, he refused saying the school had “too many fucking Jews.” She also claims he was physically abusive toward her. Trump’s second in command is a fellow named David Bossie who made his extreme right-wing chops by singularly pursuing and publicizing the extra-marital affairs that Bill Clinton supposedly had over the years. Some were true, some were pure fiction. Previously, Trump’s campaign manager was Corey Lewandowski, whose ties with Trump goes back to the 2012 campaign, when he advised Trump to seek the White House by becoming a “birther,” i.e. someone who believed that Barack Obama was born in Kenya rather than in the U.S. When that effort fizzled, Lewandowski was back in 2015 urging Trump that his path to the presidency lay in demonizing undocumented Mexicans as “rapists and murderers.” In that, he appears to have hit the nail squarely on the head. Taking the lowest possible mud-slinging road finally paid off for Trump. Although Lewandowski was ostensibly released from the Trump campaign after the primaries were over, he is said to still provide input and advice.
You think that men such as those, once they’ve acquired the taste of power inherent in the Oval Office, would ever agree to relinquish such power? Look for 2016 to be the last ostensibly democratic election to occur in the U.S. Once Trump plops his body down on the bed in the Lincoln bedroom, even the faux democracy we live under now in the U.S. will come to an end. Rather Trump will emulate his buddy, Vladimir Putin, that I’ve written about earlier in a piece called “A Fine Bromance.” As I’ve stated before, Putin rules Russia Mafia-style, where he’s the godfather or boss of bosses. He runs a system of crony capitalism, where his cronies get all the capital and the rest of the populace is left to drown their sorrows in Russian vodka. He’s responsible for the deaths of thousands in the Ukraine, and outright took the Crimea from that hapless country through military adventurism. Just last week, Putin also threw into jail a blogger that was critical of his actions. Yet, Trump, on several occasions has expressed his admiration of Putin’s leadership style. To reciprocate, Putin has also expressed his fondness for Trump.
Russia does have presidential elections, but they are so fixed that it’s a forgone conclusion that Putin will be re-elected each time. Look for that same system of phony, rigged elections to be incorporated into the American electoral process once Trump becomes president. After all, he has to reserve access to the “throne” for sons Eric and Donnie Jr. when he decides to finally retire. Hence the Trump dynasty will begin.
Of course, the Democrats are making easy for Trump’s ascendency, as they seem to be coming apart at the seams. Hillary Clinton is probably the worst political campaigner of all time. Mired in a bundle of political scandals and health issues, which she has failed to properly address, she also is lackluster on the campaign trail. She totally lacks husband Bill’s easy-going facility in connecting with masses of people at political rallies. That she’s even remotely in the game thus far is a minor miracle in itself. But in the end, the total narcissist will probably win. And remember, like Caligula, he really, really hates to allow his ego to be bruised.