When Donald Trump phoned his pal Bill Clinton a little over a year ago, and asked his advice about running for President, I doubt that either of them thought that Trump would get as far as he did.
I have no way of knowing Trump’s thinking, but I suspect that he figured that he had everything to gain and nothing to lose.
At worst, he would promote the Trump name and add value to the Trump brand. At best, he would show up and pay back politicians and journalists who treated his political ambitions as a joke. Coming in a strong second or third for the Republican nomination would have accomplished that.
But did he think he actually would be nominated? I’m reminded of the Mel Brooks comedy, The Producers, in which two characters hatch a Trump-esque scheme to make money from a losing Broadway play. They choose a script, “Springtime for Hitler,” which they think is sure to fail. But, much to their consternation, it succeeds.
Unlike the Mel Brooks characters, I think Trump will take his own “Springtime for Hitler” production as far as it will go. But if he loses, which at this point seems likely, I can imagine him sitting down a year or two from now with his friends, the Clintons, and having a good laugh about the whole adventure.
Inside the Fraternity of Haters and Losers Who Drove Donald Trump to the GOP Nomination by McKay Coppins for Buzzfeed. Coppins thinks his ridicule of the idea of a Trump Presidential candidacy may have goaded Trump into actually running.
36 Hours On the Fake Campaign Trail With Donald Trump by McKay Coppins for Buzzfeed (2014). This is the article that Coppins thinks may have set Trump off.
Donald Trump’s ghostwriter tells all by Jane Mayer for The New Yorker. Donald Trump as seen through the eyes of the ghostwriter who wrote The Art of the Deal.