Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019 August 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Trump and his followers share a common psychology

by digby

I wrote about the common thread in Trumpland for Salon today:

The New York Times ran an interesting story this week featuring some 2014 audio interviews for a proposed biography of Donald Trump and a long interview with Michael D’Antonio, the author who conducted the interviews. When asked for comment by the Times, Trump said they were “pretty old and pretty boring stuff. Hope people enjoy it.”

They aren’t old and they aren’t boring, and nothing about Trump is exactly enjoyable. But they are worth our attention.

These audio recordings are published in snippets within an interview with D’Antonio on the Times’ “Run-Up” election podcast. They concentrate mostly on Trump’s psychological makeup, which is — no surprise here — stunningly weird. Trump is uncomfortably revealing while simultaneously displaying absolutely no self-awareness. The disturbing if familiar portrait painted in this story is that of a manipulative, grandiose narcissist with no self-control.

Trump doesn’t want to evaluate his mistakes; in fact he doesn’t believe he’s made any. Everything is other people’s fault; and he refuses to listen to anyone, so he repeats the same errors over and over again. As I read the story and listened to the snippets of interviews and the accompanying commentary, it occurred to me that when Donald Trump says, “I don’t like to analyze myself because I might not like what I see,” he truly is the living embodiment of the base of the Republican Party.

Think about it. The GOP has lost the popular vote in all but one presidential election in the last quarter century. The elders of the party know they have a problem with their overwhelmingly white voter base and its hostility to the emerging demographic changes in the country, and they know the party’s ideology has to be updated to accommodate the modern world. Their laissez-faire economic policies failed and their small-government philosophy is inadequate to greet such global challenges as climate change and mass migration.

But their voters don’t want to hear it. Party elders all gathered in the wake of former Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential election defeat to conduct an “autopsy” and set out a plan to adapt their philosophy to changing circumstances and relax their rigid adherence to certain tribal prerogatives, in order to appeal to a broader spectrum of the public. They stressed that they needed to be more open to minority concerns and women’s issues and understood they had to find a way to deal with the challenge of immigration in a more humane way. As the report’s authors rightly advised:

If Hispanic Americans perceive that a GOP nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States (i.e., self-deportation), they will not pay attention to our next sentence. It does not matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy; if Hispanics think we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies.

Like Trump, the voters have had no interest in such introspection and no desire to to change anything. Indeed, they wanted to double down on xenophobia, racism and sexism and crudely reject anyone who wasn’t exactly like them. And like their new leader, they romanticize violence and keep scores against their enemies. Trump, with his promise to take America back to its overwhelmingly white, male-dominated past, was just what the doctor ordered.

Trump goes on and on in the interview about how winners have to learn how to “acclimate” to new circumstances and sells himself as someone who is particularly good at that. But his performance as a presidential candidate illustrates his self-deception. He has been constitutionally unable to summon the discipline required to stay on message, create a working organization and resist the impulses that drive him to create havoc with his strategy. His campaign has been a train wreck mostly because he has insisted on running it by the seat of his pants, trusting that his instincts are so superior that he didn’t need to learn anything from anyone.

This trait is also reflected in the GOP’s base of voters, who refuse to accept that the world is changing and they have to change with it. Instead, they cling obstinately to a privileged status that no longer exists and close their minds to the reality that it really isn’t necessary in the first place. As Salon’s Matthew Rozsa pointed out this week, they yearn for a return to a time when America was dominated culturally and economically by white people and led exclusively by men.

In a survey published by the Public Religion Research Institute, 72 percent of likely voters supporting Republican nominee Donald Trump say America has changed for the worst since the 1950s. By contrast, 70 percent of likely voters supporting his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton say that America has changed for the better since that decade.

All but the oldest among them have no idea what it was like in the ’50s, other than the fact that uppity people of color and women knew their places. They are anything but “acclimated” to the modern world.

So Trump is the perfect candidate for this group. It’s not just that they are aligned in their xenophobia and bigotry, they are aligned psychologically. It’s essentially about an outsized fear of humiliation and the inability to accept loss, particularly at the hands of people they regard as inferior.

One anecdote in the Times story really encapsulates those underlying dynamics of this race. Trump’s first wife, Ivana, recalled that when she and Donald were first dating they went to a ski resort and she failed to tell him that she was an excellent skier. He went down the hill first and waited for her at the bottom. She said:

So he goes and stops, and he says, “Come on, baby. Come on, baby.” I went up. I went two flips up in the air, two flips in front of him. I disappeared. Donald was so angry, he took off his skis, his ski boots, and walked up to the restaurant. . . . He could not take it. He could not take it.

Unfortunately for Trump, Clinton just ripped and shredded her way down the double black diamond slope of presidential politics — and he’s standing there watching her fly by. And he cannot take it. It still had not occurred to him that a woman could be better than him at anything.
Recommend Share/export