I am currently reading John Farrell’s definitive study on the life of Richard Milhous Nixon and finding some eery comparisons to that of Donald James Trump, his most recent successor in the White House. What these two American commanders-in-chief have in common, while not the subject of this very probing and sensitive work, helps illuminate how the quest for political power plays on serious character flaws. While I agree that Trump is no intellectual match for Nixon in how he tries to master the bloodsport of politics – they are just not in the same room – finding out what they share in their individual journeys to the top can be very enlightening. Both men come to the job with an embedded anti-elitist attitude that is derived from feeling slighted earlier in life. For Nixon, it came from not belonging to the Brahman establishment of the east coast where money, influence, and pedigree counted for everything. For Trump, it was the fact that the New York elite never quite warmed up to his ‘success’ as a real estate mogul. Consequently, for both of them, life became a quest to become successful in their own right, even if it meant screwing people to get there. When I look at the friends and associates that Trump and Nixon regularly hung out with along the way, not a lot of blue blood to count on for support. Just a few shady pals and mentors (Rebozo and Cohn) to jumpstart their fledgling careers. Over the years in the public limelight both figures became notorious for using coarse/vulgar language when referring to their perceived enemies such as the main stream press already well chronicled. Nixon and Trump were not above indulging in dirty tricks to get an advantage, whether out of a need to control others or make money. Anyone getting in the way of their respective public careers, either ideologically or personally, could expect creative, ruthless and surreptitious pushback of the Machiavellian variety. When it comes to lying, Nixon and Trump turned it in to an artform to be used to deny complicity, collusion, or culpability. With Nixon, such a response will be forever memorialized in those words he publicly pleaded during the Watergate investigation: “I am not a crook.” For the past six months, I have heard a steady barrage of denials from the Trump White House amounting to potential falsehoods and factual distortions about Trump’s involvement in alleged Russian tampering in the 2016 election. In both administrations, the taint of political corruption was and is being subject to a thorough congressional and judicial investigation, equipped with independent prosecutor and a passel of topnotch federal attorneys. As Trump fights back on a number of fronts, much like his predecessor, he appears to be lashing out with threats, denials, dismissals, counter-allegations, and ‘good-news’ reports, all meant to backfoot his opponents. As this latest scenario plays out, one of two things can happen like it did back in 1973. Either Trump, unlike Nixon, will weather the storm or, like him, will be abandoned by the GOP and will resign before being impeached.