Richard Fulton

The life of Donald Trump seems to me to echo a game of Monopoly. He started his life with a pile of cash, which he did not earn, nor take too seriously, that he could play with as he liked.

He took that money and played a cutthroat game of accumulation of “hotels” and other “properties” in the playing grounds of New York City.  Hard to tell how talented he was at the game, but he surely was a lucky player.

He’d role the dice and buy a casino, and let it go bust, but still came out of the affair with enough cash to continue accumulating real estate. All you have to do is go around once and the banker would give you more cash to keep playing.  

There he was in the social whirl of New York with money coming in (and going out) with the frequency of a bookie. How could he continue this game? He would buy and sell without worrying about debts that simply would either not be paid back or shuffled off to his father.

If deals went a little south, he would simply walk away from them and get re-financed by shady foreign banks. Because of this, he always seemed to have access to borrowing for the next big real estate deal.  Juggling deals was his thing.

If debts seemed to creep up on him, he simply stiffed the poor sucker who he owed money to. After all, each deal was only a card with a real estate name attached or some other investment deal. He could simply set it aside and move on to the next roll of the dice.

One of his ventures was into the casino business. Now there’s an industry known for its even handed dealings and its ownership of venues by, shall we say many of questionable income sources.  

But Trump could not keep up with that crowd, so his casino went bust. Ah well, on to the next hotel site.  After all, casinos were no where to be found on the Monopoly play boards.  

It was fun. He had no scruples about the game, indeed he seems to have had a “get our of jail free” card up his sleeve at all times. He has been one lucky guy. 

Donald always had a big personality. He opined on all kinds of issues, was on TV shows frequently as a “man about town.”  Donald had viewpoints on every issue and his flamboyant style drew news hawks to him like a fly to sticky tape.  

His ego remained large throughout his life. This led him to ponder many times whether or not he could be president of the United States. He talked about that out loud many times.

Who knew that Republican “king makers” would take him seriously and invite him into the ring? After all, he had hotels on Park Avenue. Not sure about the Utilities and Railroads, but he sure seemed to have lots of cash — ask him.

Billions. (Maybe.)

Anyway, what better resume to attract Republican kingmakers? Here was a guy who could bring cash to the campaign and a bold personality combined with unending ambition.

A perfect Republican candidate for president. Of the United States, no less. In a world that needed money to flourish, Donald had millions (just ask him). He had ambition, and a boldness that seemed to attract people.

After decades of thinking about it, Donald decided to up his game and throw his hat into the middle of a bigger game. Who knew that America was ready for a brash, seemingly financially shrewd, supremely confident newcomer? Who knew millions would see him as just like them only as a shrewd businessman that could help the country deal with its financial problems?  

Who knew? Well, scoff if you will. But there he is. President of the United States. But he has to go around the board again, and many a winner the first time around lost big on the “jail” landing and never recovered.

Richard Fulton is an emeritus professor of political science.