As one who believed that Hillary Clinton deeply cared about the future of every American, while Donald Trump cared about his own future and the future of his brand (to be carried on by his children), I forced myself to watch as much of the Republican convention as I could stomach. After six years of research into burnout, and who it was hitting hardest, I never thought of the Trump candidacy as a joke, and have said so on Huffington Post.
The most interesting thing I learned at the convention involved Ivanka Trump. Much has been written about Ivanka's replacement role as hostess/First Lady while her step-mom remains in New York City. However, this is not how Ivanka has ever seen herself. Hearing her speech and seeing how little it related to the spoken agenda of her father, I thought to myself: "I get it. Donald Trump's favorite person in the entire world has just put her hat in the ring for the Senate."
But I was wrong. Oh, so wrong. The Senate is small potatoes for Ivanka. Yes, the plan for a $60,000 coffee date has been scraped, but scheduling it in the first place, coupled with examples that follow, show that the first daughter is shooting for the biggest possible big time: Ivanka Trump's hat is firmly in the ring to be the first woman president.
Let's all wake up and smell the coffee, or whatever you wish to call it. If you sense my distain, I will explain: I love -- scratch that -- adore watching woman who are not afraid to go after what they want. It's about time that this dream is understood as an absolute right, and there are so many of us who fought very hard so that our daughters and granddaughters did not face the ugly prejudice and ridicule we faced as we tried to balance responsibilities at home with our academic and professional desires. However, what drives me bonkers is watching a woman climb, while standing by saying nothing as her role models and friends, those who have helped to make her climb possible, are horrifically treated.
And this is precisely what Ivanka did, as her father spoke of Hillary, who has devoted her life's work to the well being of children and families, in the ugliest, rudest way possible. No one has more power over Donald Trump than Ivanka, and she could have done a great deal to tone him down. When he was his ugliest and the camera panned on her, there was no sign of disapproval, or even discomfort. How very, very sad!
This said, here are a few "Watch Ivanka Run" observations that show that her presidential hat is firmly in the ring, something her father, no doubt, has long dreamed about and supports with every fiber of his being. For what attained goal could further the Trump brand more!
1. Ivanka has told us that her father has told her that she should keep her expectations at the highest possible level.
2. Ivanka has always called herself a close friend of Chelsea Clinton, and her father invited the Clintons to his last wedding. Both he and she have been given opportunities to closely observe political power and see strengths, vulnerabilities and mistakes. They each and both took advantage of this extraordinary opportunity. Ivanka now is now even modeling herself as one who, like Hillary (all of her adult life!), is an advocate of children and working moms.
3. This ambition explains why she has been present at meetings with heads of state, such as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Argentina's President Mauricio Macri.
4. It also explains more about the reasons for the meeting she arranged for her father with Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio, two of the strongest possible advocates for protecting our environment. Here we see the "Good Cop-Bad Cop" phenomenon acted out. While Dad Trump has stated that he doubts the very existence of Global Warming, his favorite person in the world poses herself as an advocate of this necessary awareness -- as well as one who wants to assuage the anxieties of a frightened blue America.
5. Of course, the above example also shows Trump's crazy making /gas lighting capacities. His messages contradict and confuse, and he adores keeping us all guessing, as he pits people against each other. One of the ugliest examples is his treatment of Mitt Romney, whom he trotted out, dined with, and then discarded as if he were rancid meat - yes, it was pay back time for a decent man, who would have been a trusted and respected Secretary of State. Ivanka has for years been at her daddy's knee, learning how to treat those who dare to disagree.
6. Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, who has learned a thing or two at his own daddy's knee, are now reportedly house-hunting in DC, and it is also reported that Ivanka is looking for office space in the White House, where she can continue to learn and help execute presidential tactics and approaches in order to further the Trump brand.
7. Ivanka's stepmother, Malania, is very wise and knows where her bread is buttered. She will do nothing to compete with her stepdaughter's prominence in her husband's life, and a good case can be made that Donald Trump selected her, knowing this.
With the above in mind, to think of Ivanka Trump as First Lady Replacement is off the mark entirely. Think of her instead as the ultimate Trump Brand Extension, a Presidential candidate in training. Watch Ivanka Run!