Previously I posted on the real problem with Trump. He’s a symptom of a deeper disease. Or, if you prefer, he’s a symbol of something amiss in our society. For example, More on the psychology of Trump voters - why nothing shakes their faith. “The real story I continue to claim is not Trump but what he represents - a large proportion of the electorate which is prepared to believe his lies and who seem immune to rational thought. They will still be here after Trump, hopefully, is dumped. They will still vote for the Republican candidates who deliver them nothing but robbery to pay for tax cuts for the rich.”
AZBlueMeanie at Blog for Arizona made similar point this morning: Donald Trump is unfit for office, but it’s America that needs an intervention. He cited this report from salon.com: Nuking the hurricane: Diagnosing Trump’s apparent mental illness isn’t the point. We don’t need a medical diagnosis to understand that the guy who wants to nuke hurricanes is unfit for office. Here I’ll follow up with snippets from the salon.com article by Amanda Marcotte.
[Psychologists like] Dr. Allen Frances, a former chair of psychiatry at Duke University, continue to argue that this discussion only serves to stigmatize people with mental health conditions, most of whom are not raving monsters set on destroying the country in order to bolster their own egos.
“Calling Trump crazy hides the fact that we’re crazy for having elected him,” Frances argued to [Brian] Stelter on CNN.
Frances’ comments point to the larger problem with this endless debate: Whether Trump is actually a diagnosable sociopath or whether he’s just providing an Oscar-worthy multi-decade performance for the cameras may not really be a meaningful distinction. What matters is that so many Americans are willing — and even eager — to vote for someone who acts this way.
Trump’s approval ratings never drop much below 40%. He got nearly 46% of the vote — less than Hillary Clinton did, but enough to win a majority in the Electoral College. A huge percentage of Republicans, who have disproportionate representation, are fully aware that Trump is a vile person in every way, and are not only fine with it, but actually seem to like him better because of that. for it. After all, putting a racist, misogynist ignoramus who appears to have no regard for any other person than himself in the highest office in the land is triggering the liberals, big-time. And making liberals cry is the central organizing principle of the modern American right.
Trump’s fans already know he’s a confessed sexual predator and compulsive adulterer, and many of them have created elaborate justifications for why that makes him more, not less, qualified to be president. If the fact that someone is a sexual predator who has been credibly accused of rape isn’t a deal-breaker, than a formal diagnosis of a serious mental-health condition is unlikely to make a difference. It’ll just be dismissed as fake news, quibbled to death …
The cause of Trump’s behavior — whether he is actually a sociopath or just so pampered and privileged that he acts like one — is ultimately not the real issue here. Even after he’s out of office (10 or 14 years from now, ha ha) we still have the problem that 40% of the American electorate country eagerly supported a man whose entire personality could be described as “unfit.” They did so for the ugliest possible reasons: Racism, sexism and a willingness to end democracy rather than share power with people who look different or come from different backgrounds. Even if we could get a diagnosis for Trump, what do we do about all the people who love him?
We can start by beating their Representatives and Senators at the ballot box. Every single one of them.