Lots of people have been asking my opinion on whether Donald Trump is a sociopath. People hate Donald Trump and they want to justify that hatred. What better way than to classify him as a sociopath, right? Wrong. A sociopathic diagnosis is not an excuse to hate. It’s also not an excuse to stereotype, fear, judge, or penalize. Anyone who says otherwise is not only ignorant, but playing with fire.
No, Donald Trump’s sociopathic diagnosis is not the right question. The right question is this: Why do so many people support him? If the query: “is Donald Trump a sociopath” occupies one of the largest searches on Google, and millions of people storm the Internet each day to comment on every terrible thing he’s ever done, and media outlets generate tons of free advertising for him reporting on his lack of empathy, and pathological lying, and general impropriety — if everything publicized about this man generates riot-inducing-pulp fury — then why is he the last man standing in the Republican race for President of the United States? That is the question.
Contemporary America is an angry nation. Take a look around – the symptoms are overwhelming. Mass shootings. Black shootings. Cop shootings. School shootings. Fat shaming. Slut shaming. Twitter trolling. Facebook polling. Everyone is pissed and everyone is justified. The problem is that America has never demonstrated a tremendous tolerance for anger. The preferred form of aggression in this country has always been passive.
Donald Trump is single-handedly giving everyone permission to act out, and millions of people are taking him up on it. Can you blame them? Here is someone who can l-i-t-e-r-a-l-l-y do anything without consequence. The man publicly threatened to get away with murder. He said those now infamous words, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” and then promptly walked away with the Republican nomination for President of the United States. And what’s astonishing is that everyone is so busy condemning him for what he said, that no one is focusing on the fact that he’s right! Or more importantly, why he’s right.
Trump resonates with those who have never been able to get away with anything — who work hard but don’t necessarily work smart. He taps into the psyche of those who are afraid to be themselves for fear of judgement. Even those who oppose him can’t help but smirk at some of his antics. That he stood up and gave the finger to the entire GOP and still managed to win, that is his appeal. So appealing, in fact, that his actual behavior has become inconsequential.
That’s the beauty of the Trump campaign. Intentionally or not, Donald Trump is keeping everyone focused on his behavior instead of the reaction to that behavior — the cause instead of the effect. Everywhere I look someone is extolling the horror of Donald Trump’s latest blunder. Television, radio, podcasts, magazines – it’s a nonstop conversation that is playing right into the hands of the campaign.
Despite his ranging poll numbers, those who oppose Donald Trump continue to believe the key to curtailing his followers is to publicize his faults. The problem is that in doing so they are pouring gasoline into a fire. This is because Donald Trump’s opponents just don’t get it: It’s not Trump’s actions that are resonating with half the nation, it’s his autonomy.
Here is a man who can throw his hat into the presidential race, disregard every single rule, and still win. Here is a man who can be accused of lying, cheating, stealing, and more lying, and still maintain his base. Trump’s defiance is practically a superpower outmatched only by his incredible confidence. He has complete immunity. The worse his behavior, the more apparent his omnipotence.
I am willing to bet that Trump supporters are almost hoping his behavior worsens so that they can further attest to his genius. These so-called attack ads running every day are having the opposite of their intended effect. You see, for all his nuttiness, Donald Trump actually makes many people feel safe. Why? Because no one can touch him. There is not a single person in the world who can out-bully him. There isn’t a single dictator on the planet who can intimidate him. The rules don’t apply to him. And Trump supporters don’t like rules.
People say the worst thing that could happen is for Trump to win. That’s not true. The worst thing that could happen is for the millions of people voting for Trump – those who have managed to temporarily displace their anger, who think they’ve found a cure for their rage, who believe their voices are finally being heard, who are starting to feel as though they can finally step out of the shadows – to realize they are once again without a masthead. When that happens, the fucking bottom is going to fall out.
Is Trump a narcissist? Is he a sociopath? A liar? A thief? The most awful person to ever exist? None of that matters. What matters is that nearly half of America’s citizens are not identifying with Donald Trump in spite of his reputation as a terrible person, but because of it.
Is Donald Trump a sociopath? If you are still asking this question then you are in trouble. You are so focused on the glass on the floor that you haven’t noticed the broken window behind you. There are millions of sociopaths residing in America – this campaign is proof of it. Donald Trump? He’s just the man wearing the crown.