Another Republican debate and another one dominated by Donald Trump as the hare and the rest of the field trying to catch up while tripping all over themselves trying to match Trump for bombast, bluster and bullying—and succeeding.
It’s not only other politicians scratching their heads in bafflement over what accounts for Trump being the leader of the pack for so long with the most committed supporters in the race. Mental health pros are trying to figure it out too.
Psychotherapist Joseph Burgo supported this idea, saying that Trump’s personality could be perceived as one that would be useful if the country were threatened.
“For many people, Trump’s braggadocio, contempt, and grandiosity come across as self-confident strength,” he said. “When frightened by dangers from abroad or here at home, many people gravitate to the ‘strong man’ who promises to vanquish their fears and confusion.”
“Trump gives voice to the feeling of dismissal and mines the anger,” according to Stanley Robinson, a political scientist at CUNY and a psychoanalyst said. “And what is that anger, it’s the anger of ordinary Americans who feel they have been lied to, that the policies they have been promised don’t work, and, by and large, they feel they have not been taken into account. Trump says to them, “You are right. Watch me, I am making them take me into account. I’ll do the same for you.”
Dr. Robinson should refer to his political history instead of his degree in psychoanalysis. Don’t try to put Trump and his fans on the couch. Ask instead, why is Trump doing so well? It’s simple.
People support Trump because he gives voice to their fear of change, fear of foreigners, fear of losing out to all those moochers and layabouts and bums and leeches who haven’t worked for a thing.
People support Trump because he says horrible things about women, about people of color, about different religions and anyone who happens to have pissed him off today and any suggestion he has crossed the line is waved away by his refusal to bite his tongue over “political correctness.” What was once recognized as crude and rude is now applauded as being a straight shootin’ son of a gun.
People support Trump because he provides easy and simple solutions to complex problems. Muslim extremists worrying you? Ban all Muslims from entering the U.S, including those born here! Afraid of the Browning of America as Latinos surge past Whites as the new majority? Build a wall and make Mexico pay for it! Concerned about the latest shooting spree? Arm everybody and let ’em shoot it out!
People support Trump because he is the Angry White Man. The spawn of an Scottish mother who imports his wives from Europe and now talks about building walls to keep out the undesirables from Mexico. Illegal immigrants make up 5% of the U.S. work force, or some 8.1. million people. Not all of them have jobs, but anyone trying to make you believe American citizens are lining up to work 42 hrs a week for $7.25 an hour is trying to sell you something you don’t want to swallow because its bullshit and its bad for ya.
People support Trump because he appeals to their mean, selfish, frightened, isolationist, xenophobic, nasty, bigoted side and certainly not the goodness, charity and hopefulness that are the central tenets of the American character.
Some 44 years ago there was another demagogue who whipped his supporters into a frenzy by giving it to them raw and rough by calling out his enemies, demonizing people of color and urging hate and fear instead of love and understanding. George Wallace, the archetype of Southern segregation, had a motto Trump’s bland “Make America Great Again” couldn’t compete with: the my-fist-your-face implied threat of “SEND THEM A MESSAGE!”
People support Trump for the same reasons people supported Wallace. They both speak to the ugly intolerance of the dark side of America’s soul.