Real estate divaloper Donald Trump constantly, insistently pledges that he's on the brink of running for office and that he's hella rich so he'd win and that America needs him and his leadership. To which we say, at long last: Do it. Put your alleged money where your constantly open mouth is, and run. And let's see what happens.
If you'd ever like to be retweeted by Trump, a man who covers himself and his hotels in expensive-looking facades, it's simple. All you need to do is suggest that he'd make a great president or, if you are a resident of the state of New York, governor. This is his new kick, by the way, that he's going to run for governor and it will be great. He went on the radio in Albany on Tuesday morning, doing his standard schtick: He'd spend $30 million to $50 million, and it's a 50-50 chance he'll run and so on. Trump has all this cash and all these ideas and all this support.
But his whole thing is that he never wants to actually have to prove that. He's never been interested in having to say how much money he has, as campaign laws mandate. (In 2011, he laughably suggested his net worth was dependent "on my feelings.") His ideas seem to be comprised of "wind turbines are bad" and "don't buy Chinese products" (unless those products are in his "signature" clothing collection) and "more European immigrants, please." In 2011, his rapid ascent in the Republican field was met with an equally rapid decline, meaning that even Republicans didn't love him quite as much as they did, say, Herman Cain.
What Trump does, to avoid having to prove his claims, is that he starts intimating that he might run well before he'd actually need a campaign to swing into action. Then he predicates his run on someone or something else: in 2012 it was the search for a better candidate; in the 2014 New York governor's race, it's the blessing of the state party chair. Then he generates a bunch of media for his ancillary products and laughs all the way to … the bank? No. Where do you keep massive, fragile stores of self-regard?
Consider this, then, an open letter to the one-time reality TV star. Mr. Trump, if you're reading this on a print-out one of your staffers provided to you, here's the challenge. Actually run. You sort of messed up this time; the November gubernatorial election is close enough that you should actually start campaigning, particularly if you want to unseat a generally popular incumbent.
So here's what you can do to demonstrate that, this time, you're actually serious.
- Stop making your campaign dependent on other people. You're a big tough-guy boss; decide for yourself. Tell the GOP chairman that if he doesn't like it, he can find a candidate that can beat you.
- File. File to run. Submit paperwork showing that you're serious. Begin collecting contributions within the boundaries of the law.
- Go outside of New York City. Becoming governor of New York means having to pick up votes in Syracuse and Binghamton and Rochester. Go to those places. Hold town halls. Let people ask you questions.
- Start doing outreach. People have a perception of who you are that essentially guarantees you'll lose New York City. (A purportedly rich Republican real estate developer? Come on.) You need to swing opinion, and fast. Do some mail pieces. Set up a campaign website. (We'd say "run a TV spot," but that wouldn't prove much of anything.)
- Develop an actual policy outline. Come up with a proposal that indicates what you'd actually do as governor besides redecorate the statehouse in imitation gold foil and try and repeal any restrictions on businesses you own. What's your homelessness plan, Donald? Twelfth floor condos?
That's the challenge to you, Trump. And the challenge to the rest of America is this. Media: Stop covering Donald Trump's claims that he'll run until he does several of the items on the list above. Everyone else: Insist that Trump shut up or run. And for God's sake, don't tweet to him about how great he'd be at a job that he's never been serious about and which he's never actually put any thought into.
This will never happen because Donald Trump is not a serious person. He is a TV star who is currently without a TV show and a man whose insistence on the fact that he is universally respected is as rooted in reality as his insistence that human beings naturally end up with orange hair.