The sensational, spidery plot of the most gripping game of thrones in modern history is best captured by two images. The first is from Donald J. Trump’s extravagant third wedding at his Mar-a-Lago estate in 2005: The junior senator from New York, glowing in gold silk and pearls, smiles up at the mogul in white tie with genuine delight as he says something that cracks up Hillary, Bill and Trump’s bejeweled bride, Melania. Donald and Hillary look “just like teenagers in love” in the flashbulb moment, as David Patrick Columbia, the editor of the website New York Social Diary, notes dryly.
The second, more sinister image is from the St. Louis presidential debate last month: A Tang-colored Trump looms behind Hillary like a horror-movie fiend as she makes a point, while three of Trump’s guests in the front row, women who accused Bill of sexual assault, give her the stink eye and Chelsea and Bill sit nearby looking grim. What a difference a decade makes: from a Babylonian celebration, with Hillary and Bill cozying up to Donald, to a seething face-off, with Donald summoning ghosts from Bill’s scandalous past and threatening to throw Hillary in the clink if he’s elected.