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Friday, June 17, 2016

"Dangerously incoherent" explained by psychologist Dan McAdams


This article in "The Week" (June 10) sums up the risk of giving Donald Trump any political leadership. As Hillary Clinton says, he's "dangerously incoherent".

Who is Donald Trump, really, and “how does his mind work?” asked psychologist Dan McAdams in The Atlantic.
How might he go about making decisions in office, were he to become president". Now that the bombastic businessman is one election away from moving into the White House, questions about his "unique psychological makeup" have taken on greater urgency. In fact, Trump's combination of grandiose narcissism, sky high extroversion, and deeply rooted anger- coupled with his view of life as a series of "Darwinian" struggles between winners and losers- suggest a presidency "that could be highly combustible."
If elected to our country’s most powerful position, Trump will probably be “a daring and ruthlessly aggressive decision maker” who doesn’t worry about unforeseen consequences.

He’s likely to be “tough. Bellicose. Threatening. Explosive.” Trump’s “abject inability to tolerate criticism is a telltale sign of a narcissistic personality,” said Jennifer Rubin in WashingtonPost​.com. The real estate mogul should be taking a gracious victory lap after securing last week the last of the 1,237 delegates required to lock up the Republican presidential nomination. 

Instead, he went on a senseless grudge tour against anyone who had ever slighted him—“infuriated that they will not bow to kiss the ring.” He turned on the GOP’s only female Hispanic governor, New Mexico’s Susana Martinez, after she failed to show up for his rally there.

Then he launched into an ugly tirade against a federal judge presiding over a civil lawsuit against Trump University.

The judge “happens to be, we believe, Mexican,” Trump said, pointedly. “We have had presidents before who nursed grudges or sought to punish their enemies,” said Paul Waldman in TheWeek.com, but Trump is so vindictive that it’s “positively pathological.” This is a guy who once mailed a columnist a copy of a negative article she’d written about him, with her picture circled and the words “The face of a dog!” written alongside. “Now think about having a president who acts that way.” When a foreign despot, such as North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, “rattles his saber at President Trump, will he be able to resist the urge to strike back?”

It’s Trump’s shameless lying that really boggles the mind, said The Washington Post in an editorial. Trump made a huge show of raising what he said was $6 million for veterans’ groups, “including a $1 million donation from himself.” When this newspaper found no evidence of that donation, Trump hurriedly wrote a $1 million check and claimed he had never said he raised $6 million, “despite video proof.” All politicians lie and flip-flop, of course, but Trump “has created a powerful reality-distortion field” in which truth is entirely irrelevant, said Jack Shafer in Politico​.com. He insists he opposed the Iraq War, when recorded interviews prove he didn’t; he claimed Ted Cruz’s father was photographed with Lee Harvey Oswald before the Kennedy assassination, then said, "Of course, I don't believe that." He's taken conflicting positions on abortion, immigration, healthcare and ISIS- often contradicting himself in the same interview.

So why do his supporters put up with it? asked Juan Williams in TheHill.com. Trump, they say, “is the Great Disruptor!” He’s not afraid to call out Washington politicians, President Obama, and the Republican establishment they loathe. If their hero “kicks out the bums,” the die-hard Trumpists say, who cares if he says some crazy things? Besides, Americans are used to politicians who lie out of political convenience, said Bret Stephens in The Wall Street Journal. When Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama opposed gay marriage in 2012, only to “evolve” on the subject, no one was surprised; the Left “always assumed the position to be dishonest in the first place.” Trump has taken this “political doublespeak” and turned it into performance art—a “wink-and-nod routine” that delights his supporters. “He’s out-Clintoning the Clintons.’’

All politicians may lie, said Jonathan Chait in NYMag.com, but Trump doesn’t even concede that “objective truth” exists. In Trump’s Orwellian world, “the only measure of truth he accepts is what he claims at any given moment.” When critics mocked his many failed companies, Trump piled steaks on a table and insisted that Trump Steaks was still a going concern—even though it’s out of business and the steaks bore telltale labels from a local meat store. He has admitted posing as his own public relations spokesman in talking to reporters, but now denies it.

Like all authoritarians, Trump bends the rules to his own will and demands that “his and demands that “his supporters place undying faith in him”—the truth be damned. It’s “a display of dominance” reminiscent of Orwell’s 1984, or Vladimir Putin’s Russia, and it makes Trump “uniquely dangerous.”

THE WEEKJune 10, 2016

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