And while it’s still funny and more applicable with every passing day it also got me thinking about how much these two men can be compared or paralleled. Even the lyrics proceeding the above scene, “Have you ever seen somebody ruin their own life? / His poor wife.” seem uncannily accurate.
Trump may go on after this election to still be a “successful business man”, but he has tarnished his reputation immensely with this run of his candidacy. He has exposed too much of the true person he is to ever be honestly respected again. His poor wife indeed. Not just Melania either, all three of his wives have had to relive their relationship and the more often than not disturbing history they have with him.
But even beyond that, how much do these two men have in common? Basing this on what we know about Hamilton from the musical and what we know of Trump from this election (yes I know I could and really should do more research but I didn’t have it in me to do that to myself) it’s easy to see some clear similarities and stark contrasts as well.
Hamilton was an immigrant who came from truly humble beginings. Trump is the son of an immigrant who would love to claim he came from humble beginings, but realistically started his career with a 1 million dollar loan from his father. Hamilton worked hard, non-stop if you will, to make a name for himself and to achieve greatness. Trump worked hard in his own ways, I unfortunately don’t think you can argue he didn’t at least do that to build what is his name and his brand today.
Hamilton had a reputation. Trump has a reputation. Hamilton could be at times seen as arrogant, pushy, manipulative. Trump is seen as arrogant as well, but also as racist, homophobic, sexist, ableist, underhanded, cheating, whiny piss-baby and so on and so forth.
Hamilton as a founding father helped to write The Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Trump as a current candidate for President was asked, along with his opposing candidate Hilary Clinton, in the most recent debate by moderator Chris Wallace how those important documents should be upheld and interpreted. They were asked if The Constitution should be upheld as the founding fathers meant it as they wrote it or does the document need to bend and lend itself to the current times? Donald responded that we need to honor those words as our forefathers saw them to be meant back then. Which I could not disagree with more.
When asked about the diversity of his show and the people of color cast to play historically white people Lin-Manuel says that Hamilton is about the United States as it was then being represented and portrayed by the United States today. And I think that is an excellent answer to Wallace’s question as well. The Constitution and Declaration of Independence are at the foundation of our country. They were created to honor and to protect our citizens, both then and now. But the world our founding fathers lived in and desired to keep safe and sound is not even remotely reflective of the world we are living in today and the one our future president has to think about keeping safe and sound. Those words and ideals have got to lend themselves to fit our times, our people, and our current predicaments. Which they are totally capable of doing, they are good bases, good foundations, to build upon.
Hamilton never saw a candidacy due to his own pride and determination to prove himself to the people who disproved and disagreed with him. Trump has managed a candidacy but likely won’t see a presidency due to his pride, ego, & arrogance. Both have managed to take themselves down and out of the race by their need to constantly be right about themselves and their nature.
However I like to think that had Hamilton ever gotten the opportunity to run for president and lost, he would have conceded with dignity and respect for the American people and their choice. We learned Trump may not be capable of in that same debate mentioned before. He refused to answer if he would respect the election outcome should he lose, stating rather that, “I’ll leave you in suspense.” Which is just deplorable coming from any candidate, but particularly from one already crying out about how rigged he believes this election to be. It’s hard to take someone serious (or perhaps harder in this case) when they are already being a sore loser 20 days before being given the opportunity to do so.
Hamilton died at 47 from a gun shot wound inflicted during a duel with then Vice President Aaron Burr. Trump is currently 70 and quickly on his way to a dying political career that most are not even sure how he got in the first place. Trump’s preemptive reaction to this death is a lot like Mr. Burr’s (sir) when Hamilton endorsed Thomas Jefferson over him in the election of 1800. It’s quick, over dramatic, and going to be his legacy. He will survive, but god I hope he pays for it.
So suffice to say that while both Trump and Hamilton are infamous, only one of them is historic.