Donald Trump does not just admire Vladimir Putin. He wants to be Vladimir Putin, American-style.
Putin's presidency provides him a monopoly of power and also control of the Russian economy. He has used that power to make himself, and a small group of insiders, very wealthy, to suppress criticism, and to exact revenge on opponents.
That is what Donald Trump has tried to do all his life. At his campaign rallies, he already cheers on his goons. With the presidency, and all that power, he can make himself very rich, and broach no criticism. What more could any narcissist want?
If one can stand the stench for a moment, put yourself into Trump's shoes. Born into the lap of luxury and taught that your sh*t does not stink (a.k.a., the making of a narcissist), he has no capacity for guilt, shame or remorse. And, he has admitted it without any qualms: when asked how he felt when bad things happen, he said "nothing matters".
He brandishes his wealth to push others around with lawsuits they cannot afford, and harassment. (A.k.a., a petty tyrant, and thug.) He deliberately surrounds himself with "unsuccessful" people so he will have their fawning respect. (E.g., the "latino outreach" chief of his campaign has filed for bankruptcy 14 times!)
Trump has no actual talent, and the attention span of a three-year old on any subject -- other than himself, that is... His uncle is an MIT professor, his sister is a judge and he is... what? Basically, a flim-flam man.
Narcissists generally "know" at their core that there is nothing really there, but they must reject that thought in less than a nanosecond, lest their entire psychological façade collapses. Ivanka Trump revealed a deep insight when, complaining about Kellyanne Conway's assertion that the campaign staff had "scolded" Trump for his debate performance, said, "no one scolds my father".
Meanwhile, it must grate on Trump's ego to have had to watch truly talented people make much greater fortunes by actually creating something of value, and without millions from daddy (one can gauge how much daddy's help kills Trump because he tries so hard to diminish or deny it): Apple's Steve Jobs (part Syrian background, how infuriating!), Michael Bloomberg (a Jew, also infuriating), Bill Gates (world's wealthiest man, a nerd), Carlos Slim (a Mexican!!), George Rathmann (a scientist!),while many of his own businesses have failed (as Penn Gillette said, "Trump could not sell steak to an obese nation"), and he has had to defraud people (Trump University) or stiff them (vendors and employees) out of millions of dollars. [By my rough calculation, Trump has made at least $40M by not paying vendors or employees what their contracts called for].
But, taking control of a government has made huge fortunes for other sociopaths. Vladimir Putin, his buddy Viktor Yanukovych (Ukraine) for whom a Trump campaign manager also worked, among other things, to undermine NATO, Gulf State rulers, the Sheikh of Brunei, Ferdinand Marcos, Saddam Hussein, and so forth. Name a despot, and one will always find a large fortune.
Power. Power for its own sake, power to exact revenge, and power to amass a level of wealth to which that he has always aspired. Most truly wealthy people either prefer not having it known, certainly not discussed, and usually give low-ball figures. Or, as Texas oil billionaire Lamar Hunt once said, "if you know how much you are worth, you are not very wealthy".
Not Donald Trump. This is the be-all and end-all of his existence. And, others must know about it, otherwise it does not satisfy his insatiable ego needs.
And, that is what Trump aspires to do. If, today, he has to win women's votes by concocting some gerry-rigged scheme he can call "child care," and allege that no one ever addressed it before he did, then he will do it. He could not care a hair on his diminishing pate about children, women, or care.
If he has to tell blue collar workers that he will bring back their jobs, he will tell them that -- but, what he will not do is bring back his own jobs because he can make larger profits by keeping them where they are. And, no one has ever explained how money trickles down from the enormous tax cuts to depressed regions -- it doesn't.
He told coal workers he would bring back their jobs -- despite natural gas undermining the coal market regardless of government regulations. He knows he can do nothing about it, but tells them anyhow.
So, here is what a Trump presidency will look like. Trump will be granted favorable tax breaks and other concessions in the US, and around the world in exchange for US foreign policy changes such as removing sanctions from Vladimir's friends, , and his "blind trust children" will use them to grow his fortune. He will administer the law however he chooses, and the Republican House will never impeach him. He will, e.g., tell businesses they can flaunt EPA rules, not abide by OSHA standards, and so forth.
How will he do this? Do we not have "checks-and-balances"? Not to Donald Trump who, as Mr. Khan said at the convention, has likely never read the Constitution, and certainly cares nothing for it.
First, all right wing despots move to control the judicial system. Why? Because unlike kings, who ruled under the "divine right theory", the despots have no legitimacy. Hence, they have to create it.
The fire-drill to take absolute control is frighteningly simple: Trump will fire all the US Attorneys and replace them with people whose only mission is to protect and extend Trump influence. He will demand, in advance, a signed letter of resignation that he can date whenever he finds them not doing what he wants.
The same will be true of judges, and even Supreme Court Justices. He will appoint some bozo to the Supreme Court whose only judicial philosophy is to help and protect Donald Trump.
And, there you have it. The complete takeover of the judicial system. With his other actions now protected by the imprimatur of "law", Trump will proceed to take over the economy and use monopoly of power for his own ends.
Most leaders who care about performing their jobs well look for people who are better than they are. Not Donald Trump. He wants inferior people who, therefore, will respect him. Translation: he will find people who will do what he says because they are thankful to have the power and prestige.
Through the National Security Agency, that monitors everyone's messages, calls, emails, and so forth, Trump will gain total control over society -- exactly the danger Eric Snowden sacrificed to expose. The head of NSA -- are you thinking Rudy Guiliani? The man responsible for police and firefighters' deaths by ignoring expert advice after the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, and placed communications hub back at the WTC, so that firefighters and police responding to 9/11 had no radio communications.
If Trump asks him to mine for information he can use against anyone or any company or any official, do you really think Rudy will deny him? After all, Rudy himself compared Putin favorably to Obama because Putin made "quick decisions", whereas Obama had to think about it, and also discuss it with others.
And, of course, do not forget the IRS. The Commissioner will be a Trump crony. Trump's back tax returns will be mysteriously "lost" on the IRS computers. And, while Lois Lerner was merely doing her job, determining whether special tax preferences for "social welfare" groups applied to organizations with names that included "Party", Trump's IRS will resemble nothing like we have ever seen. Critics will be audited, and prosecuted by Trump's US attorneys.
Again, any agency head that does not provide Trump with what he wants will be fired. Trump will have those undated, signed, letters of resignation in his back pocket, so it will all seem legal.
What about the media? Will they not be exposing all of these gross transgressions daily, and riling up the public? Of course not. The media will, at best, present "both sides of the debate" as if they had legal and moral equivalence, but, after a time, even that will become more than Trump is willing to stomach. As he has already in his campaign, he will simply deny access to himself and any member of the Administration. Without access, the medias' ratings will wither. And, thus, so will its financial viability. Rupert Murdoch, however, will do great.
And, then, of course, will come the renewals of FCC licenses. If you are a critic of Trump, or even air too many of his critics, do not bet on a license renewal.
Not all of this will happen at once. It will be a gradual, but deliberate destruction of the democracy and justice, of a balanced market system, all to serve the needs of our own "dear Leader" to whom, one of his sychophants, Amarosa, has already said, we will all bow down.
Donald Trump has never involved himself in any cause greater than himself, or even that did not help himself. His hotels and golf courses and condos are not affordable by ordinary Americans. He believes workers are overpaid, he stiffs workers and vendors, he lies about providing child care to employees, he will not even sacrifice some profits to bring his own businesses to the US and provide jobs for Americans... what makes anyone believe that he has the remotest interest in achieving anything for them unless it enhances the power and fortunes of Donald Trump?
People do not realize how close we came before to a destruction of our democracy. Had one man, crusty old Judge John Sirica, not been offended by recognizing the Watergate burglars were lying to him, and had two enterprising reporters for the Washington Post not dedicated themselves to ferreting out the truth, had a disgruntled FBA official not helped them, it is possible that Nixon's attempt to rig the election, suppress criticism, and take revenge against his enemies may have succeeded. They had fire-bombed the Brookings Institute, and burglarized Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist, and spread false rumors about John Kerry when he was merely a Vietnam veteran who spoke eloquently against the war.
And, Nixon had a much deeper understanding, and at least grudging respect for, democratic institutions. Donald Trump has none of this, and makes no pretense about it.
Trump's narcissism gives him an insatiable need for power and praise. His sociopathy enables him to do anything, absolutely anything, to obtain it.
Vladimir Putin is Trump's role model. Trump will strive to be a greater Putin, because he will control a country that is, already, bigger and greater.
No one will stop him.