Thursday, March 24, 2016


Political Mayhem Thursday: The Fog of Trump

As time passes, it looks more and more likely that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for President. For about a year now, insiders have predicted a Trump implosion but that never came. As he gathers steam through the primaries, the Washington Post has become positively apoplectic, with multiple Trump Disaster articles featured at any given time.

I agree with Trump about some things, like trade policy and avoiding foreign wars, but his appeal to xenophobia and racism is beyond troubling:  it is a terrible development in our political culture.  If he is the nominee, he will most likely lose in the general election if current polling is any indication.

What is intriguing to me is why Republican insiders are so riled up about Trump success. They sometimes claim to be appalled by his racial appeals, but versions of that have appeared in Republican campaigns for the past several decades (and, it should be pointed out, in Democratic campaigns as well, at times).  Certainly, for some Republicans (including some of those who post here) this is a genuine and sincere concern.  For others like Mitt Romney or George Bush, it rings a little hollow.

So what do these insiders fear from Trump?

1)  They fear that he isn't very conservative

They are probably right about that.  Trump's history doesn't reveal either a history of conservatism or an identifiable moment of conversion.

2)  He diverges from traditional views on free trade

Both right and left have worked over the past several administration to pursue freer global trade, with particularly important moves in that direction being taken by Presidents Clinton and Obama. By calling the effects of free trade into question, Trump challenges a conventional wisdom in both parties-- and the interests of many large corporations.

3)  He diverges from traditional views on foreign intervention

The divide between Ted Cruz-- who would "carpet bomb" foreign cities-- and Trump on this issue is striking. Whether he realizes it or not, Trump's position on this replicates President Obama's.

4)  He is so rich himself that he won't be beholden to big donors

Like the others, this is rooted in truth.  Of course, big donors dismiss this idea, while Trump supporters hold this up as a virtue of their candidate-- and the Trump supporters are closer to the truth.

So what do you think? What happens next? Will the Stop Trump movement have an effect before or at the Republican Convention?

To best understand Donald Trump and his threat to the country and the Republican party go to ON MONEY by Adam Davidson in the March 20 New York Times magazine. While trying to understand his policy proposals he found it to be a puzzling mix. Donald's fixation on "making the deal" is a subject in his piece. He wrote: "Transactions have the most socially beneficial outcome when a buyer and seller reach a mutually beneficial agreement. The very idea of a "good" deal for one party and a "bad" deal for another suggests a suboptimal outcome; an economy built on tough deal-making, with clear winners and losers, will always be a poorer one."
Donald is someone who grew up as the son of a NYC real estate developer. He has always had the power over others. All his models of success were men who had an unfair advantage and could get a good deal for themselves. No wonder he thinks if you have the power to torture, why not? He is indeed dangerous in so many ways.

Thinking young people see Donald as a symbol of the source of our current woes and reject his ideas. In the Times this morning was a discussion of the long term damage he will cause to the Republican party going forward.
His presence in the limelight might be one of the best things that could happen to our country. As President Obama has said it is important that a rational Republican party emerges from the ashes. Hopefully the party will be led by some young conservatives who believe that the best deal is a fair deal.
The only problem with a successful "Stop Trump" move is that it seems to be backing Eduardo Cruz, who, if anything, is likely to be worse that Trump would be. Why? Cruz is a Christian dominionist -- one who believes that only Christians should have a role in government and that "Biblical laws" should be enacted and enforced. Oh, and the definition of Christians eligible for governance is limited to those who share the dominionist view. He is a wolf in dog clothing! Whereas Trump is a wolf in wolf's clothing!
Mea culpa. I was dead wrong on Trump--early and often. I am sad because Trump (win or lose) marks a new era of American politics. The era of the demagogue. We have called politicians we oppose demagogues for a long time (and the accusation is not always unfounded), but this guy is the real thing.

Right now I am desensitized. I am at a temporary low point in which I have trouble summoning passion or even interest. Again, win or lose in 2016, I fear we have come to a point of no-return in our political culture. Yeltsin or Gorbachev? What's the difference?

FYI: I plan on taking a break. At this point I don't even have the energy to make the case that it was really youse guys and not us guys who sewed the seeds of our destruction.
I agree with the Farmer and the Friend. Cruz is MUCH worse than Trump.

But if Trump doesn't get some competent foreign affairs advisors, even if he loses he's going to embarrass this country.

Your friend Ron Fournier's online Atlantic piece had it right: He likes Trump's supporters and he "gets" them. They're pissed off and tired of the same old same old. They want action. What they don't realize is that NO President can do what they want.

What comes next will be very interesting. But if there's one glimmer of hope, Trump is showing that someone can capture a huge swath of the non Democratic Party vote without focusing on social issues.
Not that the Farmer said that about Cruz.

He's just frustrated. So am I.
WF, for what it is worth, it is true that both sides demeaned political culture for too long. The Democrats caught a break when the outsider that emerged for them was Bernie Sanders, who might be wrong about some things but at least seems civil, thoughtful, and respectful of the institutions he is and wants to be a part of. Sanders will in the long run make the Democratic Party stronger. Trump will likely have the opposite effect on the Republicans.
From the DSM-5; the best description of Donald Trump (from Wikipedia). We personally know someone with this disorder and to be around it is difficult and troubling to a person with normal empathy receptors. Trump has tapped into the base fears of those following him and they have no idea that he will not help them one iota. It is all about him and nothing will change that.

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder in which a person is excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity, mentally unable to see the destructive damage they are causing to themselves and often others. It is a cluster B personality disorder.[1]

It is estimated that this condition affects one percent of the population, with rates greater for men. First formulated in 1968, NPD was historically called megalomania, and is a form of severe egocentrism.

Signs and Symptoms:
People with narcissistic personality disorder are characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance. They have a sense of entitlement and demonstrate grandiosity in their beliefs and behavior. They have a strong need for admiration, but lack feelings of empathy.

Symptoms of this disorder, as defined by the DSM-5, include:[4]

A. Significant impairments in personality functioning manifested by:

1. Impairments in self functioning (a or b):

a. Identity: Excessive reference to others for self-definition and self-esteem regulation; exaggerated self-appraisal may be inflated or deflated, or vacillate between extremes; emotional regulation mirrors fluctuations in self-esteem.

b. Self-direction: Goal-setting is based on gaining approval from others; personal standards are unreasonably high in order to see oneself as exceptional, or too low based on a sense of entitlement; often unaware of own motivations.


2. Impairments in interpersonal functioning (a or b):

a. Empathy: Impaired ability to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others; excessively attuned to reactions of others, but only if perceived as relevant to self; over- or underestimate of own effect on others.

b. Intimacy: Relationships largely superficial and exist to serve self-esteem regulation; mutuality constrained by little genuine interest in others' experiences and predominance of a need for personal gain

B. Pathological personality traits in the following domain:
1.Antagonism, characterized by:

a. Grandiosity: Feelings of entitlement, either overt or covert; self-centeredness; firmly holding to the belief that one is better than others; condescending toward others.

b. Attention seeking: Excessive attempts to attract and be the focus of the attention of others; admiration seeking.

C. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual's personality trait expression are relatively stable across time and consistent across situations.

BTW, NPD is a characteristic often found in mega-church pastors, CEOs, and politicians. It drives one to the top where there is admiration, power, etc.
Yes A Waco Friend and many of these people eventually fall from grace.

I could offer a personal story about dealing with someone with NPD, but it just isn't pretty. The person was stealing (in his mind borrowing without permission) from a family trust account. He got caught (oh sorry...) He had a very hard time trying to apologize for wronging his siblings and cousins and in the end he was only sorry that he got caught. The following week he was back to being his shitty self; it's all about me and what I gain or benefit from a situation with no regard for the others impacted.

I can see Trump in this vein. He doesn't conform to traditional Republican values since he can only conform to what will be best for Donald in the end. These poor people who think he will make their lives better are delusional. It would be very dangerous for him to win the Presidency.
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