Trump’s Vegas Strategy: Run on Bad Luck

Keith Rose, a 64-year-old hot tub salesman, arrived at former President Donald Trump’s Las Vegas campaign rally yesterday wearing a necklace with a golden pendant shaped like a tiny horn.

“It’s an Italian horn, a sign of luck,” Rose told me, although he clarified that, as a longtime Vegas resident who knows the house always wins, he does not believe in luck. “The odds are always going to be against you, no matter what,” he said.

That’s the case for Trump these days, he added. “The odds are against him because of everything that Democrats are trying to do to keep him down.”

The care and keeping of good fortune has always been an inexorable part of Trump’s self-image, in politics, business and the law. He told Oprah Winfrey in the 1980s that there was no word more important than luck; he recently declared himself the personal good luck charm for the winner of the Miami Grand Prix.

“This whole idea of him, ‘Everything I touch turns to gold,’ he’s always believed that,” said Jack O’Donnell, a former casino executive who worked with Trump in Atlantic City, N.J. He added that Trump was exceptionally lucky to do well there even as his businesses failed.

But this weekend in Las Vegas, at his first campaign rally since his luck ran out in court, Trump seemed to align himself with Rose’s down-and-out theory of the case. Trump spent much of the rally complaining: about the heat, the apparently malfunctioning teleprompters, his legal troubles. He heaped blame upon Democrats, hoping a tale of bad things happening to him would be just as motivating to his base as the charmed version of his life story.

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