On June 16, 2015, the www.donaldjtrump.com website published, "Today I officially declared my candidacy for President of the United States." With that pronouncement Trump, together with more than a dozen other Republicans, was off and running for the White House.
From the early days following that announcement, pundits, talking heads and political wannabes all foretold of the early demise of the Trump candidacy. I include myself among those who counted Trump out. To my dismay, his candidacy has thus far proven my prognostication wrong.
My early prognosis was not so much about Trump, the candidate, as it was about Republican voters. In all honesty, I thought typical Republican primary voters, generally more conservative than average party members, would quickly see through his bluster and bravado. I believed they would see through him and quickly tire of the circus side show. Clearly, Trump would make far better barker on the midway than he would president of the United States.
That being said, I must write that I am sorely disappointed in my fellow Republicans. While I am glad that less than half consider him their second choice, and more than half have indicated they do not like him, I am shocked that almost one in three supports him.
Forget for the moment that he is not a conservative. Hell, he’s neither moderate nor liberal either. In order to be any of these, one has to have convictions; one has to have core principles: one has to have a credo in which he or she believes. Trump has one, it’s just that it’s Trump himself. Trump believes in Trump. Trump cares about Trump. Trump adheres to Trump and follows Trump.
He is, by any interpretation of the word, a narcissist. He is an off-the-chart narcissist. Of this assertion, there can be no argument. Take a look at the following traits typically ascribed to narcissists. Ask yourself if they remind you of anyone.
- Need for attention: Narcissists have to be the center of attention. They create drama for drama's sake.
- Selfish: A narcissist regards others as having little value if not doing something for him.
- False charisma: Narcissists appear very charming, indeed they will “charm the pants off of you” should you fall for it.
- Verbal Bullies: Narcissists engage in unpleasant verbal behaviors such as arguing, cursing, bragging, making exaggerated hand movements, talking loudly, and showing disinterest when others speak.
- Unapologetic: No matter how obvious it is that they misbehaved or caused a problem, narcissists do not apologize…ever. It is not unusual to have them turn the situation around and make it the fault of another.
- Flashy: They dress flashy and are usually impeccably groomed.
- Overly confident: They resort to any measure necessary to appear powerful and superior. They are firmly convinced that they are smarter, better, or more talented than other people.
- Disrespectful: They show disrespect and callous disregard for others yet are overly sensitive and overly defensive if someone questions them. Narcissists repeatedly put others down, especially competitors and people they view as inferiors.
- Poor losers: Narcissists love competition but are poor losers. Narcissists demean their competitors even if there are social consequences for doing so.
- Poor listener: Narcissists are incapable of listening to others. They believe others have nothing of consequence to tell them.
I can provide multiple, demonstrably on-point examples of each of these traits in Trump’s speeches and behavior. But the problem does not end there. Narcissism isn’t his only personality disorder. He is, at once, a narcissist and an egocentric. Many people confuse ego-centrism with narcissism. They are similar but different.
A person who is egocentric believes he is the center of attention, just as a narcissist does. However, an egocentric does not receive gratification by self admiration. An egocentric is greatly influenced by the approval of others while a narcissist, conversely, is not. Although Trump wants people to continually fawn over him, in truth, he cares not for the opinion of others. In his mind his opinion is all that matters. Like an egocentric, however, he seemingly cannot sustain himself on his own high regard for himself, he must be held in that same high regard by everyone else as well. Dangerously, he exhibits the worst of two flawed human traits.
Think about things he has said and how he has behaved. When early Iowa polls showed him trailing, he called Iowa voters stupid. He will, of course, deny this assertion, and will attack anyone making this claim. But, when he began to lead in the polls, then he loved Iowans.
I do not oppose Trump on any ideological basis. The truth is, I do not know what his ideology is. I oppose him because, what is needed most in the office of President is a person of character, a person who can provide leadership. By definition, egocentric narcissists are incapable of providing leadership. Fundamentally, they are a walking, talking character flaw.
Trump is a skilled politician. Don’t let him fool you with those, “I am not a politician,” assertions. Nonetheless, he is clearly among one subset of politicians. By that, I do not assert that he is a statesman. Rather, he is a demagogue, a rabble-rouser of the worst sort, who seeks support by appealing to popular passions and prejudices.
Make no mistake. I understand the anger of many Americans, particularly Republicans. As a Constitutional Conservative, I no longer trust our Congress to do the right thing. Hell, I no longer believe they can determine right from wrong. I am angry about our failed, unfair, burdensome tax code. Our 19 trillion dollar debt scares me. It scares me when I think of my children and grandchildren.
I am enraged that we strive to play Texas Ranger to the world, thoughtlessly committing our young men and women into battles in which we don’t have a stake. I am beyond livid when, after sending those same young soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines into harm’s way, we do so while tying one hand behind their backs.
Yes, I agree that the Iraq war was, to use Trump’s words, a disaster. I also agree that the Iran Nuclear accord was, to again use his words, the worst deal ever.
That said, when you go into that voting booth to pull that lever, and you think Trump tells it like it is, remember what it is that he tells. When talking about Senator John McCain, after McCain criticized Trump, Trump belittled the Senator.
“He’s not a war hero,” Trump said. “He’s a war hero because he was captured.” Then, he added, “I like people that weren’t captured.”
I guess General Wainwright and his men, those who held on so long and so bravely on Bataan and Corregidor, would not merit Trump's admiration. After all, they spent much of the war, at least those who survived the death march, in a POW camp. Trump likes to rave about how he loves veterans all over the place. That language does not square with his comment about Senator McCain.
I believe in the power of the ballot. I encourage everyone to register and vote, even if you support someone I strongly oppose. In the movie, The American President, Andrew Shepherd, played by Michael Douglas, said, “…acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours…Show me that, defend that…Then, you can stand up and sing about the “land of the free.”
The franchise, the right to vote, is the ultimate expression of free speech, and the true cornerstone of our freedom. And Donald Trump just doesn’t get it. It was reported that, immediately prior to the New Hampshire primary, Trump said, "If you're not going to vote for me, do not vote."
He is dangerous! Extraordinarily so! With that said, should you wish to support him, that is your right and I applaud that right. To the contrary, I exercise my right to beseech every Republican voter to turn aside. I beg you to say, regarding Trump’s candidacy, “Enough is Enough!”
I have not yet had enough and shall retire for my fill of some adult beverages.