Rachel Maddow has put forward the argument that Donald Trump is basically running for president as a scam. The video is well-evidenced and well-reasoned and well worth the ten minutes she spends going through both the evidence and the context. Basically, he is spending a lot of money on his own stuff and a lot of time promoting his own goods. Finally, a lot of shady Republicans run on this model.
I do not completely buy it, though.
I think that Trump just does not know how to run for president. He’s running on a book tour model not to make a ton of money, but because that is what he knows. I think the fact that he is making a ton of money off it is the cost of doing business for him—precisely because it is typical on a book tour. And between the fact that he is notoriously hard-headed and no one questions large sums of money being thrown at them the way they should…he keeps on doing it.
It is possible this is an explicit racket. But it just looks an awfully lot like not knowing how politics works to me. People have been saying from day one that Trump cannot be serious, but the simpler explanation has always been that he is an incompetent hothead who happens to say what people want to hear.
Which, to be fair, is not actually comforting.