Wednesday, July 03, 2019


I could make the obvious point about this:
An official with the Democratic National Committee told NBC News the organization has not received tickets to the VIP section for President Donald Trump’s Fourth of July celebration, “Salute to America,” as of Tuesday morning.

However, a spokeswoman from the Republican National Committee confirmed Monday that the RNC has already received their ticket allotment for the VIP section of the event.

This discrepancy was revealed just days before the typically nonpartisan Independence Day celebration is set to take place.
The obvious point is that the modern Republican Party simply doesn't believe that Democrats are Americans. It's true, that, as this story goes on to note, "The White House usually provides an allotment of tickets for White House events to each party’s national convention," citing events such as "Christmas decoration viewings and garden tours in the spring and fall." But when that happens under a Republican president in the current era, it reflects an old-fashioned view of the parties that actual Republicans no longer endorse, however much they may pay lip service to it on occasion. Republican-leaning pundits and voters certainly don't endorse it anymore.

That's why Trump doesn't feel that this is unfair. Trump lives in a Fox News bubble; he assumes everyone (or everyone who counts, which excludes white liberals and non-whites) agrees that Republicans have a monopoly on loyalty to this country.

Trump also, obviously, wants money from the VIPs. His campaign just announced a massive fundraising haul for the second quarter of 2019. He wants more. Also I'm sure he'd like a bit of cash in his own pocket. (As Charlie Pierce said to Chris Hayes on TV last night, it's quite likely that a lot of the VP ticket holders will be staying at Trump's D.C. hotel.)

But I don't believe money is Trump's ultimate goal. Sure, he likes it, and he especially seems to enjoy making it in ways that are ethically and constitutionally dubious. He gets off on white-collar criminality, especially when it's the kind that infuriates authorities and moral gatekeepers but isn't regarded as worth prosecuting.

On the other hand, he isn't making much money:
President Donald Trump’s income from his hotels, resorts, and golf clubs declined substantially last year....

Trump brought in about $352 million last year from 30 companies that own or manage those properties, down from nearly $387 million in 2017. That included seven-figure drops in income at some iconic Trump resorts. His Mar-a-Lago club brought in about $2.5 million less than it did in 2017. Income from the Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles dropped by roughly $3 million. And the Trump Organization’s hotel management arm saw its income plummet by nearly $16 million....
Plenty of autocrats use their power to make huge amounts of money. Look at Vladimir Putin. Some people contend that he's the richest person in the world. No one says that about Trump.

I agree with those who've argued that Trump wants the VIP section filled with his supporters for another very simple reason: He can't bear to deliver a speech while looking out at an audience that includes people who don't love him. Also, he wants their money not primarily to line his own pockets (though he'll certainly skim off some), but in order to win a huge victory in 2020, because maybe -- maybe -- if he manages that, it will get the voices in his said to say, at long last: Yes, Donald, you are loved. You are loved more than anyone on the planet is loved.

I don't know what tomorrow's event will be like. Trump might deliver a MAGA rally speech -- or, because the VIP audience will consist of rich people in expensive clothes, he might go for one of those anodyne speeches he reserves for "serious" occasions, the ones he delivers as if he's a non-English speaker who's reading them phonetically. The weather is expected to be bad. (Will he be willing to venture out if it's raining? Will he risk the hair?) The tanks won't move; the flyovers might be no worse than the ones at big football games. The biggest thing about the event might be Trump's unquenchable thirst for admiration.

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