One of the big mysteries of Donald Trump's run for the White House is: why would he do it? It seems like an awful lot of bother even for a self-aggrandizing narcissist like Trump. And being the President is actually kind of a sucky job. Yeah, you get a nice airplane out of it, but Trump already has a nice airplane (actually, several nice airplanes and a helicopter). The White House would probably be a step down for him in terms of day-to-day lifestyle. And the pay is pretty lousy by CEO standards.
So what's the draw?
It's possible that he really has suddenly become a patriot, that he really does want to be a public servant, that he really does want to Make America Great Again (!). But somehow I doubt it. He's never shown any patriotic or public service tendencies before. Why now?
There is actually only one theory that makes sense to me, that is consistent with all of the available data, and in particular the fact that he's the first presidential candidate since the 70's not to release his income tax returns: Trump is actually broke.
Bear with me here: when you're in the 0.01% being broke doesn't mean what it means to you 99-percenters. When ordinary shmoe's go broke it means they run out of money and can't pay for things. When people like Trump go broke, it means he's borrowed more money than he can pay back, and this is very possible. Trump might have gotten himself in over his head in a business deal and accumulated debt that is close to or even greater than his assets. It even possible that he has done this without his creditors even being aware of it. Not likely. But possible. And it would explain why he's running for president: it would give him leverage to get his ass out of whatever sling he's gotten it into.
There is a lot of evidence that Trump is not as rich as he claims to be. Independent estimates of Trump's wealth range from under 3 to around 5 billion, well under his claimed $10B net worth, though still nothing to sneeze at. But I wonder if those estimates might be wildly off, and Trump's run is really a hail-Mary to save himself from public humiliation.
[UPDATE] Whether or not I'm right about this, running for president has already been good for business.