Trump Bonaparte

Above: “I’ll be back.” Below: “I’ve been here before.”

In the first week after his boastful, self-congratulatory chatter about not getting charged for conspiring with a foreign adversary to win his election and avoiding charges of obstruction of justice, Donald Trump made a couple of stupid decisions that took the wind out of his bilious sails.

His pompous promotion of the idea that the Republicans were going to end Obamacare and create a great health care system that would be cheaper and cover everyone was made to disastrous effects. Dems said let’s see it. Republicans encouraged him to let it go and talk about something else. So he did by saying the new Republican plan would come out after the 2020 election. Right.

If that wasn’t bad enough, he immediately jumped into another mess by proclaiming loudly that he was fed up with Mexico and ready to close the border. He wasn’t kidding, he said. He was serious. Before the week was over – after Republicans urged him not to do something so stupid, something that would seriously hurt the economy – he backed off on that proclamation and said he would give Mexico another year to stop immigrants from coming to our southern border.

Interestingly, Trump’s behavior to promote aggressive acts, then back down is strikingly remindful of what the French historian and diplomat Alexis de Tocqueville wrote about Louis Napoleon in his Recollections of the Revolution of 1848 and the French Second Republic. Napoleon “changed course frequently, first advancing, then hesitating, then pulling back, to his great detriment.” His mind “was inconsistent and confused, filled with large but ill-assorted ideas which he borrowed (from)…very different and often contradictory sources.” He was “fond of flatterers” but nevertheless “trusted in his own star.”

Sound familiar?

The comparison and quotes from Tocqueville were adapted from an essay entitled, “Tocqueville’s Recollections in Trump’s America,” by Cheryl B. Welch, senior lecturer on government at Harvard.

Interestingly, Huffington Post published an article Aug. 2, 2016, Trump vs. Napoleon, comparing and contrasting the two leaders. The author William Dietrich, concluded that Trump matches up with Bonaparte on plenty of the bad, but not much on the positive side. For example:
 Both were pugnacious as children and combative as adults.
 Both prided or pride themselves on negotiation skills
 Both went to military school, Trump as as teenage disciplinary problem and Bonaparte as a Corsican immigrant who graduated as a French second lieutenant.

Dietrich writes:

“Both were opportunists, Napoleon seizing chance in the military realm and Trump in the business world. By the same token, their strategic planning was fluid, seeking power and success more than any philosophic plan. Neither has claimed much of a moral compass.

“Both were or are vague about religion and morality while not hesitating to appear before religious audiences in hopes of using faith to their advantage. Napoleon was a deist who could act ruthlessly without concern for the afterlife, and Trump does not seem affiliated with any particular denomination or creed.

“Both enthusiastically pursued women romantically and sexually but had a clumsy tendency to insult. Both expressed misogynistic disdain for female ability or achievement.

“Both have boasted of their womanizing. Both have divorced.

“Both were, or are, narcissistic, obsessed about themselves to the point of limited empathy for other people – be they battlefield dead on Napoleon’s part or immigrants and refugees on Trump’s part.

“Both were obsessed with “building their brand.” In Trump’s case the use of his name has been a lifelong business strategy. Napoleon stamped his initial ‘N’ and his symbol of the industrious bee across his empire, because he was acutely aware he was not of royal blood and needed acceptance of his family as a new dynasty.”

Dietrich also wrote: “Trump does mimic Napoleon’s ornate Empire style. His gilded Manhattan penthouse is very much as over-the-top as were some of Bonaparte’s palaces. But the general spent a lot of time on an iron campaign bed, dressed modestly, and led armies from horseback in bad weather. He shared his soldiers’ hardships.”

We don’t think Trump likes to go camping. Has he ever? And thanks to his vanishing bone spurs that allowed him several deferments from the draft, he hasn’t stepped on any active battlefields.

Finally, here’s a scary link that some pundits have suggested might happen if Trump is defeated in 2020. Napoleon III was the first elected President of France from 1848 to 1852. When he could not constitutionally be re-elected, he seized power in 1851 and became the Emperor of the French from 1852 to 1870.

Trump knows that he might face criminal charges after leaving the presidency, and for that reason some have suggested that he will do everything possible to stay in power and delegitimize anyone who  beat him at the polls. We will see.

P.S. The quotes with the pics at the top were, of course, written in jest.



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5 Responses to Trump Bonaparte

  1. Nancy says:

    He has certainly exposed the racism that was simmering just below the surface. I have been gobsmacked by comments made by people I have known my whole life that exposed their concealed distrust/animosity for “others” (not white). The last few years have been an eye-opener.

  2. lauren raine says:

    What americans need to be asking is how did this corrupt, illiterate, vulgar and completely unqualified man get to be put into power in the first place, and next, how can we talk about “democracy” when we apparently have a petty dictator, who behaves like a petty dictator, and gets away with it? How has this country degenerated to the point where such a man can arbitrarilly create a non-existant “border crisis” because he wants to build an expensive wall, and no doubt because he has lots of contractors paying him to do so on the taxpayer’s dime, and also has the power to close a border, destroy international goodwill and the economies of millions, because he basically is
    having a tantrum? The longer this goes on, the more I no longer feel we have anything like the America I grew up with, or that the founders envisioned. Or that even behaves according to what the laws of the country are. The longer this goes on the more certain I am that the no longer united states will ever recover from this.

    • Trish and Rob says:

      My sense is that trump represents the darkest pockets of the American psyche. He has exposed the underbelly of hate and racism and is he wins a second term, then I think we probably won’t recover for decades.

  3. Todd says:

    The parallels are disturbing.