Trump 2015 vs. Trump 2023

We already knew this, but the CNN event with Donald Trump puts it in stark relief.

The Donald Trump of 2015, who descended the golden escalator into the history books, was talking about us. About the jobs offshoring, infrastucure lacking, terrorism ascending, illegal immigration worsening, health care costs inflating and politicians in both parties failing.

You almost couldn’t help but nod your head, either enthusiastically or unwillingly, because it was a surgical dissection of our politics and policies.

It was all stuff that matters to us.

That was a few weeks short of eight years ago. And that guy won.

The 2023 version of Donald Trump talks mostly about himself. And, that’s because now HE is the issue. He now defends himself against criminal and civil actions, defends and justifies his words and actions, and parries (or tries to) every jab from every hostile quarter. I get why he does it. It just doesn’t matter to me, or to anyone strangling under inflation, to hear that “my poll numbers keep going up”.

His stout, feisty defense of himself, while understandable, leaves little time and energy for us.

Last night, we saw a Trump and a CNN, neither of whom is what they used to be. The best parts were the audience questions.

His answers about abortion, Ukraine and Title 42 were low-energy and lackluster.

He had more passion denying knowing E. Jean Carroll.

He was definitely “on-brand”, right down to the red necktie and calling Kaitlyn Collins a “nasty person”.

Sometimes he flashed the old fire, talking about the pre-COVID economy in New Hampshire. Not much, though.

Other times, he was way too vague, suggesting an abortion limit “that would make everyone happy” and ending the Ukraine war in “24 hours”. As another guy likes to say, “c’mon, man!”

Why does he think no one speaks English in Chinatown? Or, why even say it, if you do believe it?

It was a show.

But it didn’t show me anything I didn’t already know.

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