I know many good, intelligent people who are supporting Donald Trump for president. Frankly, their support baffles me. I have watched the debates, even the primary contests of both parties, and I have reached the opposite conclusion.
I do not support Donald Trump. I believe he is both unqualified for the office and he a threat to the country because of his bigoted views and bullying behavior. And, in fact, others around the world have trepidation about a Trump presidency. Just recently, the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said Trump would be a "dangerous" figure emerging on the world stage if he won the US presidency.
Trump supporters say he is “the lesser of two evils” in the election. Yet, some hardcore Republicans, like staunch Democrats, will support cronies no matter what, as they believe in party over substance. Normally, I don't even question this behavior. It has really been quite common in the past.
But, in this election, I feel the country would be at great risk if Trump is elected.
This brings me to a conclusion – many people who remain determined
to vote for Trump may be in denial.
Oh, I know this is where my Trumpish friends will claim I am the one who should be worried about Hillary Clinton becoming president. Just hear me out because I have some reasons.
How can human beings gifted with the ability to analyze complex information ignore facts directly in front of their eyes? And how can these people refuse to see the facts even when ignoring the information might be disastrous? I offer this proof that Trump supporters are in denial:
- Denial Number One: Oversimplification
We tend to categorize public servants as either “good” or “bad.” In the political arena, public servants are under constant scrutiny and held to a high standard of behavior. In contrast, just consider the low standard to which we hold other celebrities like Hollywood actors and actresses and music stars. In contrast, when a politician makes some inevitable, questionable decisions, the public is quick to lose confidence.
In most endeavors, we actually expect those involved to falter periodically. Our leaders are just as human as others in positions that require judgment. Hillary Clinton – First Lady, senator, and Secretary of State – has served the nation for over 30 years. She is, perhaps, the most qualified candidate in modern history, yet some label her “bad” for a limited number of errors they attribute to her. I do not believe that Hilary Clinton is “bad.” In fact, she is extremely experienced and proficient in politics.
- Denial Number Two: Emotionalism
We humans tend to be impassioned creatures who experience a range of very powerful emotions. These emotions often exert a strong influence over our ability to interpret facts. In addition, popular national news media like Fox and CNN constantly distort facts with biased editorial spin, and so we tend to watch and believe the news that fits our persuasion. Since national commentators groom an audience of like interests, a bandwagon is readily available. So many jump onto the vehicle without regard to finding unbiased sources sans opinion.
Donald Trump has used his loud, emotional appeal to reap the minds of those tired of a political establishment. He is loud, colorful, and rich -- this appeals to some voters. He says he is an "outsider," not a politician. While claiming not to be a politician, Trump means this only in terms of a traditional occupation. In his campaign, this businessman has spoken, looked, and acted like a politician. That makes him a 70-year-old, novice politician without real experience in my book. As Trump incites crowds with his often bigoted and volatile rhetoric, he purposely stirs people's anger. Let's face it, some people love to show their angry discontent ... and, this, in itself, can be a problem.
We all know that we should not make a critical decision based strictly on emotion. Yet, Trump stirs the passion of his constituents which often distorts their logic and reasoning. This smacks of demagoguery. A demagogue is conventionally defined as a political leader who tries to get support by making false claims and promises and using arguments based on prejudice and emotion rather than on reason. It is not difficult to see Trump's egotism, haughty self-pride, and penchant for violence. Donald Trump constantly relies on emotionalism to get votes.
- Denial Number Three: Misinterpreting Strength of Character
Certainly we all know Maslow's Expanded Hierarchy of Needs, and we understand the importance of personal self-actualization and fulfillment needs. We must “love ourselves” enough to have a sense of personal worth while acquiring self-esteem and confidence. This ego development is necessary so that we can act on our own volition and have a healthy personality.
Trump may have charisma that convinces some he is stable, but he often acts as if he is the sole object of his own affection. When self-esteem becomes self-idolatry – even in a famous, respected person – his ego and sense of values are dangerously out of control. I fear people have misjudged his contempt for political correctness and his stormy nature as strengths when, in fact, they are serious defects.
Yet, what about the personality of Donald Trump? Many analysts believe he is a narcissist who is characterized by self-preoccupation, the need for admiration, the lack of empathy, and unconscious deficits in his own self-esteem. He does consistently show many of these traits. Who can deny his blatant grandiosity, his expectations that others will recognize his superiority, and his lack of feelings for others?
Trump talks over people. He is domineering. This was evidenced in his debates whether against Hillary Clinton or Carly Fiorina – both of which Trump claimed he didn't “like” their looks.
Trump is bullying – another narcissistic trait. He has taunted Senator John McCain for being captured in Vietnam, and he has claimed Jeb Bush has “low energy.” He even criticized a Gold Star family and mocked a reporter with a disability. Then, there is also what he said about Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly and talk show host Rosie O'Donnell – the now famous “bimbo, blood everywhere, and fat pig” comments.
Psychologists tell us that to degrade people is really part of a cluster-B (dramatic, emotional or erratic) personality disorder.
Why is Donald Trump begging for Billy Bush’s confirmation of his sexuality and his stardom? Trump's tapes of his conversations with Howard Stern show him doing the same thing. He even engages in a creepy celebration of his own daughter as an object of sexual interest to gain points with Stern. Trump's desperate need for validation and success is often sickening. It is a symptom of his narcissism.
One must question whether Trump is delusional. He envisions himself as a savior of the economy despite the fact that four of his companies have declared bankruptcy. Licensed clinical social worker Wendy Terrie Behary, the author of Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed, said, “Narcissists are not necessarily liars, but they are notoriously uncomfortable with the truth. The truth means the potential to feel ashamed. If all they have to show the world as a source of feeling acceptable is their success and performance, be it in business or sports or celebrity, then the risk of people seeing them fail or squander their success is so difficult to their self-esteem that they feel ashamed.”
Donald Trump and personality disorders?
“Remarkably narcissistic,” says developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education.
“Textbook narcissistic personality disorder,” echoed clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis.
“He’s so classic that I’m archiving video clips of him to use in workshops because there’s no better example of his characteristics,” said clinical psychologist George Simon, who conducts lectures and seminars on manipulative behavior. “Otherwise, I would have had to hire actors and write vignettes. He’s like a dream come true.”
(Henry Alford. "Is Donald Trump Actually a Narcissist? Therapists Weigh In!" Vanity Fair. November 11, 2015.)
That is my case for those I think may be in denial while supporting Donald Trump for president. I am sure this blog entry will do little to change the minds of my friends who like Trump. They see me as a one-sided liberal who doesn't consider the sins of Hillary Clinton. To me, the choice is easy. I refuse to vote for Donald Trump, a person I think has with major flaws. I envision the distinct possibility that if he is elected, he could make critical mistakes that might threaten life and limb of many citizens. I support Hillary Clinton who has made mistakes in the past but who has admitted these shortcomings.