Magazine | April 25, 2016, Issue

Choose Your Adventure!

The Republican Party Edition

BEGIN HERE

Republican-party front-runner Donald J. Trump pads into the “thinking room” in his elegant, palatial Palm Beach estate, Mar-a-Lago. As he sits on his gilded and intricately carved seat, beneath the impish grins of the constellation of cherubs carved overhead, his eyes narrow and his lips pooch out. He sighs loudly.

“What am I going to do?” Donald J. Trump asks himself, unexpectedly aloud.

There’s a knock on the door. It’s his loving wife, Melania. “Donald? Donald? What is happening in there? Are you in distress?”

“I’m fine, dearest,” he answers.

“You are talking to who?”

“I’m musing aloud, dear one,” Donald J. Trump responds to his wife. “I’m thinking. I’m sitting and thinking and tweeting.”

“Tweeting? That is what, now?”

Donald J. Trump sighs again. His wife is, in many ways, the perfect woman. But her English still isn’t as fluent as he’d like. She’s trying, he tells himself. You must learn not to be so hard on people, he thinks.

“I’m on Twitter, love of my life. But I’ll be out in a moment.”

He hears her expensively shod feet clickety-clack away on the marble floor. The imported marble floor. And he goes back to his thinking.

He never expected it to go this far. He thought, like everyone else, that he’d dip into the race, maybe stick around until Iowa, then drop out dramatically and be done with it. “I’m just going to sell some steaks,” he told his family. “This whole thing will give me great insight when I assume the chair of the political-science department at Trump University.”

But now, on the eve of the Republican convention, he’s faced with a dark and impossible choice. He’s close enough to the magic number of delegates to wheel and deal his way to the nomination. But sitting here in his most favorite “thinking place,” among the cherubs and the high-end air fresheners, alone, he’s torn. Does he really want to be president? With everyone yelling at him and nagging him all the time? With the trick questions? It’s bad for his health, all of this campaigning. He’s tense and his skin is itchy. And even right here, in his favorite “thinking place,” he realizes that the pace and strain of campaigning has made even this once-restful part of the day another painful ordeal.

On the other hand, think of the licensing opportunities!! Think of the brand extensions and the logo items!!

“What’s it going to be, Donald J. Trump?” he asks out loud, using the special nickname he uses for himself. “Do you want it or not? Do you go for it?”

CHOOSE NOW

YOU HAVE CHOSEN: DO NOT GO FOR IT

Donald J. Trump reaches for the phone that sits on an ivory cradle next to his solid-gold seat. “I’m so glad I had this special charger built in,” he thinks to himself. “It’s called good planning,” he says as he dials the phone.

He realizes that he’s in an amazing and unprecedented position. His followers, it dawns on him, will do whatever he asks. They are devoted to him. His delegates, now assembling in Cleveland, are his to direct. That makes him a kingmaker.

“I like the sound of that,” he says to himself. “Kingmaker!” Just saying the word makes him feel tingly –  although that might be his leg going to sleep. It happens sometimes in this very position.

“Hello?” comes the voice from the other end of the line.

“Hello. This is Donald J. Trump,” says Donald J. Trump. “Who am I speaking to?”

CHOOSE NOW

YOU HAVE CHOSEN: CONDOLEEZZA RICE

Donald J. Trump lays out the scenario. He doesn’t want to be president. But someone smart and brainy and basically a 6 or 7, let’s be honest, should be president. He knows the former secretary of state a little — didn’t they do an event together, for that charity that does the thing for the disease that makes your skin like a toenail or whatever?

“You mean scleroderma?” asks former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.

“Yeah. That,” says Donald J. Trump, shifting a little on his seat. But as he lays out his thinking, he can sense that she’s warming to the idea. He announces that he’s dropping out and tells his delegates to throw their support to her. She then accepts and announces her running mate.

“And who would that be?” Condoleezza Rice asks Donald J. Trump.

CHOOSE NOW

YOU HAVE CHOSEN: PAUL RYAN

“Let me conference the three of us in,” says Donald J. Trump.

“It sounds very echo-y where you are,” says former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.

“It’s called Italian marble, dear,” says Donald J. Trump.

YOU HAVE CHOSEN TO STOP NOW. PRESS YES TO SAVE AND NO TO RETURN TO THE BEGINNING OF THE STORY.

In This Issue

Articles

Features

Books, Arts & Manners

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

Why Banks Hate Bucks In his piece “The Abolition of Cash” (April 11), Andrew Stuttaford left out the “drag” on the economy imposed by the “cut” that the banks and processing ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Lindsey Graham has proven he’s willing to do just about anything to stop serving in the Senate alongside Ted Cruz. ‐ Could Paul Ryan emerge from the Republican convention with ...
The Long View

Choose Your Adventure!

The Republican Party Edition™ BEGIN HERE Republican-party front-runner Donald J. Trump pads into the “thinking room” in his elegant, palatial Palm Beach estate, Mar-a-Lago. As he sits on his gilded and intricately ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

WHO IS THE STRANGER WHO OVERTAKES ME Who is the stranger who overtakes me On a dark street and taps me on the shoulder? I turn and there is nobody there but me, And ...

Most Popular

White House

Trump and the ‘Racist Tweets’

What does “racist” even mean anymore? Racism is the headline on President Trump’s Sunday tweets -- the media-Democrat complex assiduously describes them as “racist tweets” as if that were a fact rather than a trope. I don’t think they were racist; I think they were abjectly stupid. Like many ... Read More
White House

The Trump Steamroller

As we settle into high summer and the period of maximum difficulty in finding anything to fill in hours of television news, especially 24/7 news television, two well-established political trends are emerging in this pre-electoral period: The president’s opponents continue to dig themselves into foxholes that ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Ilhan Omar Is Completely Assimilated

Beto O’Rourke, the losing Texas Senate candidate who bootstrapped his way into becoming a losing presidential candidate, had a message for refugees who had come to America: Your new country is a hellhole. The former congressman told a roundtable of refugees and immigrants in Nashville, Tenn., last week: ... Read More
Sports

We All Wanted to Love the Women’s Soccer Team

For the first time in my life, I did not root for an American team. Whatever the sport, I have always rooted American. And if those who called in to my radio show were representative of my audience, many millions of Americans made the same sad choice. It takes a lot for people like me not to root for an ... Read More
U.S.

The ‘Squad’ Gives a Gift to Donald Trump

On Sunday, Donald Trump gave the Democrats a gift -- comments that indicate he thinks native-born congresswomen he detests should “go back” to the countries of their ancestors. On Monday, the four congresswomen handed Trump a gift in return, managing to respond to the president’s insults in some of the most ... Read More
U.S.

Men Literally Died for That Flag, You Idiots

The American flag’s place in our culture is beginning to look less unassailable. The symbol itself is under attack, as we’ve seen with Nike dumping a shoe design featuring an early American flag, Megan Rapinoe defending her national-anthem protests (she says she will never sing the song again), and ... Read More