Remember the summer and fall of 2011, and the run-up to the last presidential election cycle? How the Republican nominating crowd took turns topping the polls, one after the other, in rapid succession, one week Michelle Bachmann, the next Herman Cain, then Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, et al., in a rollercoaster ride to nowhere, all in a vain attempt by the hardline fringe to avoid the inevitability of establishment candidate Mitt Romney’s nomination?
Well, it’s Silly Season for the GOP again, as the discontented masses of the extreme right cast about among the rival candidates, searching for a savior from the Jeb Bush juggernaut. The current darling of the disaffected is real estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump, who has risen to the top of the polls and held a sizeable lead almost since his announcement in June. Despite repeated gaffes and a bombastic debate style that borders on bullying, Trump’s dominance seems unshakeable, and although he’s only polling in the low-to-mid-20th percentile, he’s head and shoulders above the rest of the 17-contender field.
Born 10:54 AM EDT on 14 June 1946, in Jamaica, New York (Rodden rating AA), “The Donald” (as he was famously nicknamed by first ex-wife Ivana) is a true American success story. Should he become President by some act of God or natural disaster, Trump would be the third US Chief Executive to be born within three months in the summer of ’46 (George W. Bush and Bill Clinton being the other two).
Donald Trump is the second son and fourth child of real estate developer Fred Trump and Mary Anne MacLeod, a Scottish immigrant. Trump’s paternal grandparents were poor German immigrants, but the family had a knack for sensing social trends and capitalizing on them, beginning with the Klondike Gold Rush, where the senior Trump catered to the dining, lodging, and (allegedly) other needs of lonesome miners. His son made a name for himself by pioneering the supermarket concept, and made his fortune building barracks for World War II-era soldiers, followed by cheap post-war housing.
Donald Trump graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in 1968. His first major development projects began while he was still in college. In 1971 he moved to Manhattan, founded the Trump Organization, and began his focus on high-profile, architecturally pleasing structures, many of which bear his name. He bought his first casino in 1988, Atlantic City’s Taj Mahal, and acquired several more in the ensuing decade, though these have often been a losing proposition.
In 1996, Trump bought the rights to both the Miss USA and Miss Universe beauty pageants. However, after his disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants in his announcement speech in June 2015, both NBC and Univision television networks severed ties with the Miss Universe organization, and will no longer televise the pageants.
In 2015 Forbes magazine estimated Trump’s net worth at $4.1 billion, but in financial disclosure statements made in late June after announcing his candidacy, Trump himself declared his worth to be $8.7 billion. The discrepancy is apparently due to Trump’s own valuation of himself as a “brand”. His name graces such varied enterprises as Trump Financial (a mortgage firm), Trump Sales and Leasing (residential sales), Trump Restaurants, GoTrump (an online travel website), Donald J. Trump Signature Collection (a line of menswear, men’s accessories, and watches), Donald Trump The Fragrance, Trump magazine, Trump Golf, Trump Chocolate, Trump Home (home furnishings), Trump Productions (a television production company), Trump Institute, Trump The Game (1989 board game), Trump Vodka, and Trump Steaks.
Trump has been a household name for nearly three decades, but what brought Donald into national prominence was his involvement in the reality TV shows, “The Apprentice” and “The Celebrity Apprentice.” Trump won two Emmys for his work on the series. Beginning in 2003, Trump produced and hosted “The Apprentice,” which features up-and-coming executives vying for a spot in the Trump Organization. “The Celebrity Apprentice” followed in 2008. The shows’ format features one contestant eliminated in each successive week, and in 2004 Trump filed a trademark application for his tagline catchphrase, “You’re fired!” In February 2015, NBC announced “The Apprentice” had been renewed for a fifteenth season, but Trump was unwilling to commit to hosting due to his presidential aspirations, and his connection to the show officially ended when he and NBC cut ties in June.
Trump’s birth time gives him a 29 Leo Ascendant, a “critical degree” often conferring a sense of urgency, which is frequently associated with crisis, jumping into situations blindly, poor decision-making, and overcompensation. Despite his phenomenal successes, these traits are very apparent in his biography, with several cash flow or bankruptcy crises and failed enterprises, as well as chronic “foot-in-mouth” disease. The overcompensation practically exudes from his pores, in such traits as his bombast, inability to admit fault or mistake, and excessive self-aggrandizement (as in the inflation of his already stupendous net worth).
Also with the Ascendant is Mars at 26 Leo, and this provides the impetus for Trump’s overriding public image, that of a blustering, belligerent bully, albeit one with boundless energy and all the hallmarks of a born leader. Trump’s aggressive, domineering style is a direct outgrowth of this placement, and while it may endear him to some, it also caricatures him as a bombastic, almost clown-like self-lampoon.
But there are two other points to consider in regards to the Ascendant, points which may well make this run at the presidency more than just a rich man’s plaything. These are asteroids America, at 27 Leo, and Truth, at 7 Virgo.
America on the Ascendant marks Trump as a sort of mini version of the US to others, especially foreigners—and unfortunately, he combines some of the worst traits Americans are known for. But it also gives him a powerful self-identification with the country, perceptible in his campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again!” This pairing is also the likely source of why middle-class voters identify with him, as portrayed in a recent Bloomberg News focus group of likely New Hampshire GOP primary voters. Comments such as “he’s one of us”, absurd on its face when comparing a struggling waitress to a multi-billionaire, were common, as well as a sense that Trump was speaking for them, against the established political hierarchy.
Asteroid Truth has a role to play in that familiarity. In addition to its placement on the Ascendant, Truth is tightly sextile Mercury at 8 Cancer. The Donald is definitely a truth-teller, as he defines the truth, and he’s not afraid to impart his version of it. That comfortableness within the skin of his own perceptions is what draws voters to him—he “tells it like it is”, uses “common sense”, and is perhaps the least politically correct character imaginable. After his injudicious sparring with Fox News anchor and first debate moderator Megyn Kelly, when pundits far and wide declared his candidacy dead, Trump actually decried political correctness as one of the things crippling and destroying the country. Despite the crude and brutal nature of his comments on Kelly, a darling of the far right, Trump’s numbers ticked up in subsequent polls.
So, Truth on the Ascendant, but the cosmos doesn’t play favorites; it’s the supreme arbiter of “tell it like it is.” For Trump also has asteroid Lie featured—on the 24 Taurus Midheaven from 17 Taurus. His public pronouncements (MC) can’t be believed, he’s adept at falsifying or padding his reputation (also MC, as with the inflation of his net worth), and makes constant statements, without basis or documentation, that he’s the best at everything, beloved by everyone, and best suited to fix what’s wrong with America. That self-promotion and self-aggrandizement is likely increased by the conjunction of asteroid Narcissus with Lie at 15 Taurus. For Trump, it’s all about himself, there is nobody else in the room, and he’s so naturally self-assured that, any evidence to the contrary, he appears to consider himself the “be all, end all” of human accomplishment and aspiration.
Lastly, that 29 Leo Ascendant is also just a degree off a Black Hole, a deep space anomaly with a gravitational attraction so strong that not even light can escape it. This speaks volumes for Trump’s ability to draw others into his orbit, almost effortlessly, and his variant changeableness. Over the years, he’s reversed himself on almost every major political issue, as well as his opinion of the major political players, all to suit the needs of the moment, a Black Hole trait par excellence.
Trump’s 22 Gemini Sun shows a quick, facile mind, and ability to multi-task, both important factors in business success. There may be a Jekyll-and-Hyde quality to Trump, but if so, it’s typically Mr. Hyde who appears. The Sun conjoins Uranus at 17 Gemini; he’s definitely a rabble-rouser, a rebel, someone who delights in shocking the sensibilities of others and going against the grain, just for the fun of it.
Also with the Sun are TNO (Trans-Neptunian Object) Orcus at 19 Gemini and asteroid Atropos at 23 Gemini. Orcus is concerned with laws, rules and regulations, and strong Orcus natives are often formidably forbidding in their adherence to the rule of law and what is “right”. But in its negative context it can indicate a rule-breaker as much as a conformist—and conformity is something Trump’s Uranus refuses to allow. So he bends, stretches, breaks the rules to get what he wants, and his foray into politics shows this is an adhering trait, not just a currently active one. At each gaffe, the pundits rolled out to state that it’s “the end” for Trump, but he just doubles down, blusters his way through the controversy, and rolls merrily along, defying the conventional wisdom about what does, and does not, sink a candidacy.
Atropos, named for the mythic Greek Fate who severs the thread of life at death, represents change and endings. With his Sun connected to this point, Trump is an agent of change, and as of now, he seems to also be enacting Atropos’ traditional role as the death knell of several candidacies: with Trump sucking up so much oxygen in the room, no one else can get their message out, and many on the low end of the GOP presidential totem pole are flagging badly.
Trump’s Sun is also exactly conjunct a Quasar, another type of deep space anomaly, among the furthest and brightest objects in the universe. These shine a bright spotlight upon whatever they touch, like a beacon on a hilltop, bringing it majestically to the fore, and represent success and achievement. Trump positively basks in this self-referential radiance. Supreme networkers and deal-makers (consider Trump’s 1987 bestseller, “The Art of the Deal”, 51 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list), Sun/Quasar natives have the knack of being in the right place at the right time, to meet those whose help they need to attain their goals. The Sun’s wide opposition to the Galactic Center at 26 Sagittarius also conveys the potential for global attention, notice and recognition at some point in the life, something The Donald has in spades.
The Moon at 21 Sagittarius is very close to opposition to the Sun, marking Trump as a Full Moon type, focused on accomplishment and fruition, at the peak of his cycle, shining brightly for all to see. The Moon’s connection to home and dwellings makes real estate a natural career choice for one whose Sun is in aspect, and Trump has ridden that cosmic pony about as far as anyone could. Moon in Sagittarius gives Trump an aura of internationalism, and identifies him as one of the elite. He’s got Big Ideas, an adventurous spirit, and a sporting sense which inclines him to risk-taking (and also accounts for the plethora of casinos and golf courses he owns across the globe).
With the Moon are asteroid Achilles and TNO Salacia, both at 24 Sagittarius (and thus, also opposing the character-forming Sun). Salacia is named for an ancient Roman sea goddess, the source of our word “salacious”. Despite his three marriages, this potential connection to sexual misconduct has never been an overt factor in his divorces, and he’s not known for philandering between wives. Rather, Trump’s salacious qualities come in the form of that “can’t look away from the car wreck” sense, his ability to draw others’ attention, often with crude statements or jibes, in much the way a sexual scandal would garner notice.
Asteroid Achilles here also suggests a vulnerability from some sexual source (Salacia), as well as an inherent weakness with women (Moon). Are there sexual skeletons in Trump’s vast walk-in closet? The excruciating scrutiny of a presidential campaign may well bring some previously unknown scandal to the fore. Achilles with the Moon could also signal a health issue which undermines Trump’s effectiveness at some point.
We mentioned Mercury briefly before, but let’s get down to the nitty gritty of Trump’s communication style. A Cancer Mercury can be known for its sensitivity, but with that Sun/Uranus and Mars/Ascendant, Trump isn’t a soothing individual, and “apologize” isn’t in his vocabulary. So his Cancer Mercury, far from communicating sensitively, is merely … SENSITIVE! In the sense that Trump is extremely thin-skinned, sensitive to criticism from others. No slight, actual or perceived, is left to lie there unchallenged. Following Trump’s Twitter account during these early stages of the campaign has been a treat—whenever one of the other candidates so much as rolls his eye at a Trump pronouncement, The Donald is all over it, with ham-fisted bluster and bravado, calling them “stupid”, “moron”, “loser.” With schoolyard logic, Trump is quick to claim, “They started it!”, but in truth, it’s his own provocations that initiate the conflict.
The only major planetary aspects Trump’s Mercury makes are squares to Neptune at 5 Libra and a wider one to Jupiter at 17 Libra. Mercury/Neptune is an indicator that his perspective is skewed, to say the least. He’s deceptive, but he fools himself as much (or more) than he fools others. Mercury is also exactly conjunct another Quasar, which spotlights his every utterance; there’s no hiding his statements and opinions, which are on vivid display for all to see. Mercury square Jupiter is the source of that bubbling fountain of stream-of-consciousness dialogue, so apparent whenever Trump gets behind a mic for more than a few seconds. The man simply cannot shut up, and always has to have the last word.
There is also an exact inconjunct from natal asteroid Lie to that Jupiter, so when Trump adjusts (inconjunct) reality with his words (Mercury), he does it in a big way. Those fish stories he tells are real whoppers! Jupiter’s conjunction with asteroid Toro at 21 Libra, a point noted for bullying and violent overreaction, is the likely source of much of Trump’s bluster and bravado, and the overweening need to insult those who oppose him, in addition to merely crushing them under his heel.
Perhaps the most formative contact Mercury makes is a semisextile (30 degrees) to asteroid Hybris at 8 Leo. It’s a minor aspect, but exact, and very telling. Hybris is the root from which we derive our word “hubris”, meaning “excessive pride or arrogance.” Now, is that The Donald, or what? With Pluto close beside at 10 Leo, there’s a sense that someday, this arrogance will be his downfall.
Mercury also squares a compelling conjunction of asteroid Kassandra and TNO Eris at 4 and 6 Aries. Eris, named for the Greek goddess of discord, is certainly an apt image tied to Trump’s powers of communication, evoking a quarrelsome, disagreeable, fractious style. It’s unsettling and mesmerizing at once. And Kassandra is noted as an indicator of credibility, veracity and trustworthiness; can Trump’s statements be believed? Mercury closely sextile asteroid Truth at 7 Virgo suggests that Trump himself largely believes that what he says, is so. But can we?
And for our purposes in analyzing his presidential chances, it might be of interest to note that Mercury is tied up with asteroid Washingtonia, representing the nation’s capital, by conjunction from 2 Cancer, as well as opposed asteroid Whitehouse at 4 Capricorn. It’s certainly his communication style that has put him on the map in this race, and will likely be what sinks him in the end. The upcoming Lunar Eclipse of September 27 at 4 Aries will form a Grand Cross with that Mercury/Washingtonia-Whitehouse polarity, a pattern repeated by a second Lunar Eclipse at 3 Libra next March. The intervening period will surely reveal what hay, if any, can be made of this natal potential. The September eclipse’s exact conjunction with natal Kassandra may signal that the credibility gap has finally grown too wide for even Trump’s bombast to span.
Trump’s natal Saturn, ruling career, is exactly conjunct asteroid Karma at 23 Cancer, also conjoined Venus at 25 Cancer and squared Jupiter at 17 Libra. Saturn/Karma suggests a “fated” quality to Trump’s work life and career, and since Saturn is also the emblem of the presidency, this could imply a predestined role to play at the White House. Venus, the “lesser benefic”, with Saturn shows financial success and general good fortune in career matters, but also difficulty with romantic partners. The square from Jupiter shows the virtually boundless reach of his career interests, and in also squaring Venus, we see the vast wealth amassed.
Oddly, there aren’t any exact PNA (Personal-Named Asteroids) matches for “Donald Trump.” There is a “Troemper” asteroid, and when we plug that into the chart of The Donald’s announcement of his candidacy on June 15, we find it at 9 Sagittarius. Unsurprisingly, it’s exactly conjoined asteroid Hybris (arrogance). Yeah, that works. These oppose the Mercury of the day at 5 Gemini, ruling speeches and announcements, which exactly squares asteroid Icarus at 5 Virgo, representing rash, reckless actions heedless of the consequences. This contact seemed on vivid display with Trump’s injudicious comments about Mexican immigrants, which threatened to squash his presidential aspirations at the outset. Troemper/Hybris is also exactly squared transit Neptune at 9 Pisces (creating a Grand Cross over all). Being President is Trump’s dream, but is it only an illusion?
Perhaps not. It’s still very early, and Trump has yet to produce policy positions on most of the pressing issues of the day. That, coupled with the rampant verbal faux pas, suggests he’s unlikely to wear well over the long haul.
But so far, none of that seems to matter to GOP voters, who continue to give him high marks, not only in national polls but also in the states holding the first competitions. Whatever happens, The Donald is an important marker of our collective political future—a celebrity candidate, one who is self-funding, with unlimited resources, speaking the language of the common man and saying things voters want to hear, whys and wherefores be damned. The siren song of the strong man who will simplify and rectify, throw out the career politicians and do what’s right—it’s an old story, from a tired playbook, but who knows? Donald J. Trump may well be writing another chapter.
Although at this writing (late August), the pundits and politicos are wringing their hands and rapidly shifting into panic mode at the extent of Trump’s popularity, it still seems unlikely he’ll gain the GOP nomination, much less the presidency. But here’s where things get interesting.
Trump refuses to state that he will not mount an independent run for the White House if denied the Republican nomination, saying that it all depends on whether or not he’s treated “fairly.” For a man like Trump, “unfair” probably equates to simple rejection. With that massive ego and even bigger bank account, can anyone suppose he won’t run on his own, if only to deny the office to whichever of his GOP rivals supplants him for the nomination?
In which case, we’re likely looking at 2016 replay of the 1992 election—a Clinton on one side, a Bush on the other, and a spoiler Third Party candidate who hands the Oval Office to the Democrat. Hmmm. Could be worse.