Home National Politics Trump and Power: A Scary Thought

Trump and Power: A Scary Thought

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Donald Trump hates to lose.

Which means that he can’t stand being passive, while something as threatening as the Mueller investigation seems to be closing in on him. Which means even that he hates to be on the defensive, just letting something like a “legal process” unfold, presumably to his detriment, while he doesn’t inflict pain on his attackers.

So now we can see Trump flexing his powers, as President, to strike at enemies.

Some of them — like Andrew McCabe, whom the President has shown great glee at getting fired two days short of earning his pension — do have something to do with Trump’s main enemy (the Mueller investigation) that threatens to bring him down.

And some of them — like the shabbily treated Rex Tillerson — have nothing to do with the investigation, but do connect with Trump’s wounded narcissism (at the heart of his overriding need to win) because he’s known to have called Trump a “fucking moron.”

The investigation is not going away, despite the ridiculous tweets from Trump’s lawyer, John Dowd, who seems to have been taking dictation from his client. So the net is going to continue closing in on Donald Trump.

What will this man do if he cannot just let himself be a loser, passively accepting the consequences of his misdeeds? What kind of doing will satisfy the emotional needs of this man — a kind of human monster who, in a blatant demonstration of the pathologies in the American political system, has been handed all the powers of the most powerful office in the world?

It seems to me increasingly possible that, despite its having seemed for some months that Trump was just going to flail around helplessly without crossing any major Rubicon or trip-wire, Trump will ultimately go for broke on shutting down the investigation.

It is becoming harder for me to imagine the man whose conduct we’ve seen this past week allowing Robert Mueller’s work proceed to completion and thereby expose Trump’s utter moral corruption to the world.

But the even scarier thought is that Trump, who is followed around by the nuclear football and who has said that he’ll be meeting with “Little Rocket Man” in an ill-considered and dangerous summit, might find an even more destructive way of showing the awesomeness of his power.

To Donald Trump, I really believe, might well be better that the world be destroyed than that he be humiliated by being made, before all the world, a loser of historical magnitude.

  • RobertColgan

    Yes. . . sadly, I agree.

    The characteristics of Narcissistic Personality Disorder from DSM5:

    A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for
    admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and
    present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by 5 (or more) of the
    following:
    1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates
    achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior
    without commensurate achievements).
    2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power,
    brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
    3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be
    understood by, or should associate with, other special or high status
    people (or institutions).
    4. Requires excessive admiration.
    5. Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of
    especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his
    or her expectations.
    6. Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to
    achieve his or her own ends.
    7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the
    feelings and needs of others

    in which Trump is poster boy for EVERY one of those descriptors, warn us to his UNSTABLE nature……when he is isn’t getting the attention he NEEDS (think: crashing smack addict) he will ramp up the action to bring the attention back to himself. . .
    WHATEVER it takes to bring the attention back to himself.

    The attention’s how he won the election: the amount of airtime his frat boy shenanigans received from major news —- all media—- outstripped his competitors by a wide margin.
    (Wasn’t it that for every 4 minutes of media attention Bernie Sanders was given, Trump got more than an hour? Free advertising worth a $Billion.
    In a consumer-driven marketplace, we know that massive advertising sells…even when people later regret making the purchase.)

    And the media continues to splash TRUMP everywhere you look…….. strangely enough, as long as that flaming narcissist continues to receive his daily dosage of media attention (in TrumpSpeak: “adoration”) we’re safer than if he is ignored: because an attention-junkie will do ANYTHING to gain that attention….ANY attention, positive or negative——as long as it’s attention focused on him.
    Years ago they made a movie called The Truman Show about a man who didn’t realize his entire life was being filmed and broadcast live and rebelled when he began to suspect……But that would be Heaven for someone like The Donald.

    HairBrained not only wants to be noticed—–he NEEDS to be noticed.
    And he’ll do, or say, anything to gain that notice.
    As Andy Schmookler correctly identifies, what a narcissist cannot tolerate are attacks that can lead to loss ( all loss construed as ‘personal’) . . . .narcissists will do ANYTHING to remove those attackers.

    A cornered and fearful-of-being-out-of-the-limelight Trump is a VERY DANGEROUS animal. No one is safe with him in power.

  • Glen Bayless

    In the aftermath of the Russian “election” a few of us had a discussion about whether trump could conduct a similar election here…one without any real opposition candidate. I realize this would take some major revision of ballot access rules but what mechanism is there to prevent it? Would republicans take any steps to oppose such a move? This may be way off base, but ours was not a frivolous discussion.