Call me crazy, but I think Hillary and Donald are in love. If you look carefully behind her candidate persona, which she performs with as much nuance as a snowplow and a voice like a car alarm, you can catch her hanging on his every word. She is eager, expectant, eyes wide open in anticipation of the next faux pas to come tripping off his tongue like a sugar plum fairy. There is awe in that moment. And sexual tension.
Meanwhile, Donald plays the schoolyard ruffian with dirty words, scowls, arms whirling like a windmill. He is intense, bullying, crude. He calls her names, mocks her behind her back, and pulls her hair (metaphorically), all the while knowing that she loves the attention. He loves it, too. He parades like a peacock, strutting on an international stage with no purpose other than to impress her. And so he circles her, shadows her, woos her.
This is a dance. They are dancing right in front of us and we hardly notice.
Remember their responses when asked what they like about each other? For him, it was her determination. “She never gives up,” he said admiringly. She spoke about how great his children turned out and that he must be a good father. But you could almost hear her say, “If you weren’t standing at the opposing podium, Donald, and a hundred million people weren’t watching, we could take a carriage ride through Central Park right now. Don’t worry about Bill. He’s preoccupied with those women you invited. Clever, that.”
These two are not like Brad and Jolie, who are but children. They are more like the Boomer icons, Dick and Liz, unleashing their sexual torment with imperial force like the characters in Joseph Mankiewicz’s Cleopatra. Hillary will arrive at Trump Towers by floating down the Hudson River on a golden barge, her minions plying her with dates and cooling her with ostrich feather fans. Make ready the legions, Donald. If you love me, you will go to war. Whither Syria?
This is not to say that they wouldn’t kill each other if given the chance. Hatred and love are separated only by degrees of familiarity, perhaps whim. Did “The Donald” make fun of my pants suit? I’ll twist his testicles and then blame the Russians! Did “Crooked Hillary” roll her eyes at my joke? I’ll appoint a special prosecutor to show how she is run by the Saudis.
How fragile is their dance, whose greatest effect is that it gives the rest of us permission to act out without fear of consequences. Scratch the surface and you will find intolerance and ideological fanaticism on both sides. The Left is prone to acts of violence, which now involve the Secret Service, because that is the nature of Marxism, which forces everyone into a planned society. The Right is still looking for Reds under the bed. Conspiracies abound, including assassination and Satanistic rituals. Considering the demonic celebration of the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland last summer, they may have a point.
I am sorry to see the election come to an end this Tuesday. I am probably alone in that, but I am attracted to a good love story. What can I say? I am a romantic. This one contains not just the sturm und drang of love but the gore of a train wreck: emails, sexting, pedophilia, bribes, betrayal, fraud, taxes, intelligence, espionage, mysterious deaths, Julian Assange holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London, and Russians.
With all of that going on, it is understandable that people miss the subtle cues. What are they? Her look lingers just a bit. He watches from the corner of his eye to see if she notices him noticing her. Then they both look away.
Call me crazy, but people will say they’re in love.
Haven’t had enough? Go to Robert Brancatelli. Top photo David Goldman, AP; middle photo John Locher, AP; bottom photo 21st Century Wire. Note to self: I am the Invisible Man, nonexistent (Letters from Culver City). Electoral College prediction: Trump 289, Clinton 251.