For the last few months, people have kept their eyes on one figure in politics: Donald Trump. Love him or hate him, Trump has electrified the voting populace with his bold and frank persona. He represents independence from mainstream media and the political nobility, and like King Midas, everything he touches turns to gold. From previously taboo topics like immigration, to obscure issues like corporate inversion, Americans are now alive with dreams of how real change could occur in 2016.
“…like King Midas, everything he touches turns to gold.”
The ancient world, too, was no stranger to being shaken up by massively successful outsiders. One of the most famous is the father of Alexander the Great, King Philip II of Macedon. The Kingdom of Macedon was on the edge of the Greek world, and Greeks like King Philip were seen as rank outsiders in cities like Athens and Sparta. In a single generation, however, King Philip turned Macedon into a stable and unified powerhouse. Soon enough, the Greek political class was obsessed with his every move; his actions had the power to build up or destroy even the greatest career politician.
In a lot of ways, King Philip and Trump are similar figures. Both are renowned negotiators; Trump has built a fortune through negotiations, and King Philip used diplomacy to divide his opponents and march his whole army right into the Greek heartland. They also understood the greed of the established political class; Trump has given to politicians and speaks publicly about how they sell their support, something King Philip experienced when he funded his own political allies throughout Greece. There are other points of similarity, but they are not all so positive: both men have also been the subject of death threats because of their politics; in King Philip’s case, he was ultimately murdered by a traitor shortly after unifying most of Greece.
“…there’s a real chance that 2016 will be known as the Year of The Donald.”
Can Trump live up to the example set by King Philip? So far, Trump has enjoyed attention that few could dream of; it seems the voting populace is tired of noxious identity politics, dishonest media, and uninspiring political dynasties. Yet, can he go the extra mile and assume the highest office in America? King Philip was royalty, and as such he lived and died by politics; Trump is a businessman who has just now stepped into the lime-light of presidential politics.
Whatever the result, one thing is clear: there’s a real chance that 2016 will be known as the Year of The Donald.
This article was originally posted in 2015