American Politics: The Rise and (Fall?) of Donald Trump-GOP Nominee for the 2016 Presidential Election [275*1]
At Least 25% Want This Man as Their President!
The last time the world saw a phenomenon like Donald Trump’s rise, against all common sense, to the commanding lead he has over the field of GOP candidates for President of the United States is in the mid-1960s with Barry Goldwater vs LBJ. On that occasion Goldwater usurped the Republican Party in the same manner that Trump has; the only difference is that Goldwater had good handle on foreign and domestic policies. Before that, it would be the mid-1930s, when Adolf Hitler mesmerized a nation and gathered around him a large segment of conservative German citizens who gave up their ability to reason and their understanding of reality. The rest is history; Hitler won a popular election and quickly consolidated power by getting his like-minded compatriots in the Bundestag to turn over the reins of government to him and effectively made him dictator.
I don’t use Stalin, Idi Amin Dada, or Saddam Hussein as examples because even though they have the same personality flaw as Hitler, and I claim Trump, has, they came to power without the benefit of a democratic election. Hitler was unique in this regard; the people of Germany, for the most part, freely elected him.
Another Famous SDO
Why is Donald Trump So Dangerous to America? He is the Leader.
Beyond the hairdo and mustache, I have a hard time distinguishing between Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump, in their quest for power. Why do I make such an outrageous statement? Because both men display, in abundance, the following traits:
1. Has a dominating personality
2. Exhibits behavioral patterns that suggest a lack of belief in social and economic equality
3. Shows themselves to be amoral
4. Shows themselves to be vengeful, exploitive, , manipulative, and dishonest
5. Appears to be highly prejudiced (racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic)
6. Will tells others what they want to hear and specializes in creating false images to sell self
7. Will take advantage of "suckers", etc.
I challenge the reader to tell me which of the above traits doesn't perfectly describe either Hitler or Trump. The fact is, this set of attributes was distilled from many studies by such men as Dr. Stanley Milgram, Professor Bob Altemeyer, and Professor Sam McFarland These men, among many others, tried to decipher why otherwise intelligent, social Germans would fall under Hitler’s spell; with its devastating consequences. The result of all of this work is the identification of two distinct personality types, which when mixed together, form the basis for disaster.
These two personalities are called Social Domination Orientation (SDO), e.g. Hitler and Trump, and Right-wing Authoritarians (RWA), i.e. the most ardent of Trump's followers. There are surveys developed that measure the degree to which an individual exhibits one or both of these personalities. It is the combination of a strong SDO and a large number of strong RWA’s that can spell doom for a nation; and I hold Germany as a prime example. On a non-political view, I might offer the NRA and Wayne La Pierre, its de facto charismatic leader.
High-Scoring RWAs In Action At A Tea Party Rally for Rand Paul
So. Who Will Follow the Leader?
Who are these soldiers of the SDO, these RWAs? You might recognize them from the following characteristics that define this group from all others? It is those who exhibit most of the following:
- “Biggest Problem" Syndrome
- Compartmentalized Thinking
- Double Standards
- Feeling Empowered Within Groups
- A Willingness to follow Authoritarian figures
- A Lack of Critical Thinking
I argue strongly that many of those on the far-Right (and far-Left to a lesser degree) of the political spectrum exhibit these attributes. And isn’t it just this cohort of citizens which blindly follow Donald Trump? Isn't it just this group that ignores each and every lie, exaggeration, ad hominem, hyperbole, and insult he utters in his quest to lead America? Aren’t we seeing something unique in American political history? Can you think of ANY other politician that has developed such a loyal following based solely on demagoguery? I can’t.
By all accounts Trump is narcissistic to the extreme, histrionic in his delivery, insulting by design, and a verbal bigot to all groups except gays (so far) and white males; while at the same time appearing shallow in his grasp of the issues and devoid of realistic solutions. Nevertheless, he is currently leading in the national poll of polls by double digits! What’s more, over one third of registered or likely Republican voters support Donald Trump and his ideas … and it seems to be growing. Why is this?
The answer, I believe, is contained in this little known personality attribute, this Right-wing Authoritarian follower characteristic. As the moniker implies, RWA followers need somebody to follow; and not just any leader, but one who exhibits strong authority traits. If the authority figure happens to be another extreme personality type who exhibits Social Dominator Orientation (SDO), then the bond with RWAs is particularly strong … and potentially frightening.
RWAs and SDOs, like most things in life, can run the gamut from a low-scoring RWA to a high-scoring SDO, or anywhere in between. A low score on the RWA and SDO surveys means that the tested individuals are the opposite of their high-scoring counterparts and vice versa. This is important to know when making a judgment about what comes next.
Consider that the latest polls show Donald Trump has garnered approximately 36% of the Republican registered voters. Now consider the following from John Dean’s book Conservatives Without Conscience where he quotes Professor Altemeyer:
"They are highly submissive to established authority, aggressive in the name of that authority and conventional to the point of insisting everyone should behave as their authorities decide. They [high-scoring RWAs) are fearful and self-righteous and have a lot of hostility in them that they readily direct toward various out-groups. They are easily incited, easily led, rather un-inclined to think for themselves, largely impervious to facts and reason and rely instead on social support to maintain their beliefs. They bring strong loyalty to their in-groups, have thick-walled, highly compartmentalized minds, use a lot of double standards in their judgments, are surprisingly unprincipled at times and are often hypocrites."
Even my own survey says 24% of Right-leaning respondents scored above 50% on the survey I offered. So I ask you, how many of those 36% who say they want Trump as their president are high-scoring RWAs? (I would argue it is about 60%.) How many would gladly follow him into a dictatorship; a role he Looove's to exercise as CEO of his various business enterprises.
While the reality is very complex, this is essentially why millions of otherwise intelligent Germans listened to Hitler and followed him into hell. Where do you see Trump leading America if he were to become president? So try closing your eyes and think about Donald Trump, then open them and look over the SDO’s seven traits at the top of the article … how many of them fit your image of Trump? Now do the same thing with Trump’s avid followers using the characteristics from the RWA list. OK, what kind of picture do you come up with now?
Do you think Donald Trump is a high-scoring Social Dominator? How about his followers, do you think they might be high-scoring Right-wing Authoritarian followers? It is this conflation of high-scoring RWAs (the blind followers of Hitler who chose fascism over liberty) and high-scoring SDOs (Hitler) that makes gunpowder. What will set this gunpowder off? How about an apathetic American public who ignore the warning signs where history may repeat itself.
One Final Thing
ALL AGREE, PROBABLY INCLUDING THE DONALD, THAT HE IS narcissistic, egoistic, and self-gratifying to the max. I have no opinion yet, but many neutral and left-leaning pundits promote the idea that this was a game to Trump, a game he didn't think he would ultimately win.
Well, he did; now what does he do if this view is correct? Does he throw in the towel because he really didn't want to be President or does he push forward and accept the consequences if he should win that battle as well? My guess is, if it looks like he might actually win, he will work to lose.
An unbelievable thought I know (courtesy of my wife). But when you consider this final reality if he should win, there is a Uuuge incentive to quit. As soon as he pushes past that 270 electoral vote threshold, he must immediately begin the process of putting his vast holdings and businesses into a Blind Trust!!
A Blind Trust where he loses, for real, all control over, and even knowledge of, the decision-making in the management of his wealth. That is why it is called a "blind" trust; it is structured such as to minimize the possibility that any decision he makes as Chief Executive does not unfairly benefit him. And you know for sure the world will be watching and scrutinizing his every move to make sure he doesn't cheat.
It just makes no since to me that someone who is SO narcissistic, egoistic, and self-gratifying ever relinquish control over his fortunes, even for the gold ring of Presidency of the United States.
Do You Think The Picture I Painted Above Is Even Remotely Possible?
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© 2016 Scott Belford