Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are very different men in most ways.
One a born to the manor real estate mogul and TV star who rode a populist wave into the White House and, with his complete ego then unleashed, managed to accomplish great things while trashing his own brand with bombast and childish behavior.
The other, a career intelligence officer who saw his career and ideology crushed, only to reinvent himself as a government bureaucrat on the way to ultimate power in his reconstituted and supposedly defanged country.
They have not worked together and do not have the same interests, regardless of what Democrats and the Left have to say. In fact, Putin wanted and needed Biden to be elected to put his current Ukraine plan into place and probably covertly aided Biden in 2020.
But they both believe, with all their hearts, in a lost cause. For Trump it is his loss in the 2020 election and his quest to prove he actually won. For Putin it is the fall of the Soviet Union and his need to bring back Russian glory with a new empire. Both dreams come from deep personal trauma exerted onto a national and world stage.
Both men, Ahab-like, will stop at nothing, nothing, to find redemption and lost power. Thus, both men are dangerous. They are psychologically reminiscent of Adolf Hitler, lying blind in a hospital bed and learning of Germany’s defeat in WWI, vowing an everlasting oath of revenge.
Trump, in 2019, had it all. He had the Democrats on the run. Yes, he lost the 2018 midterms. But his administration was an economic juggernaut and because of that he was making inroads into traditional Dem base voters like blacks and latins. The United States was respected around the world and few dared trifle with Trump. Just ask Qasem Soleimani. Trump was smart money for reelection.
But the virus and Trump himself changed all that. As 2020 began and the virus took hold, obnoxious Trump traits tolerated before now became overbearing. The rambling discourses got worse, as did the midnight tweets. It all took a toll. So when he lost his psyche couldn’t acknowledge the reality. Hence his lost cause, his inner demon, his tragic flaw. Today he is a haunted man, forever trying to claim a victory that never was.
For Putin it was worse. It was everything. Career, ideology, country, all gone. Can you imagine if Sanders and AOC had control of the United States what we would think about it? That happened to Putin. In several tumultuous years his life was tossed around and then discarded like yesterday’s rubbish. Imagine the personal trauma, the sleepless nights, the rage, the bitterness. Now, because of Western weakness and incompetence, he has a chance to rewrite the plot and emerge whole, to a point.
Trump will never have a win, or have a win acknowledged ex post facto, in 2020. He may, like Putin now, win in 2024 and quell the interior rage a bit. But both men will still be driven by their separate obsessions to turn back the clock to before their traumas. Ultimately, both men will fail.