The appeal of a narcissist

The appeal of a narcissist

The 2016 Presidential campaign is beginning to take shape and those in the political pundit class are formulating their opinions.  This is something Yours Truly has been following as you might guess.  This past week it was noted by many that the campaign of multi-billionaire Donald Trump has, by any reasonable assessment, reached critical mass.  It matters not how annoyed those in charge at Fox News may be.   It doesn’t matter how insulted by his comments other media outlets appear to be.  It doesn’t even matter how outraged other GOP establishment members are as indicated in their press releases in the face of Mr. Trump’s sustained poll numbers.  It certainly doesn’t matter that to many Democrats and other non-Republicans that the campaign of Mr. Trump has now ceased being funny.  Yes, Donald Trump has left the status of side-show freak way behind in a cloud of dust and is now being taken seriously by enough people to matter as a Presidential contender.  Why does this not strike me as surprising?   Allow me to explain.

Trump4 In my post military life and career it has been my experience in dealing with professionals and business persons who wear their conservative and usually Republican values/credentials on their sleeve that they have a marked tendency to demand the benefit of everything (or all they can get in whatever situation) and the liability of nothing.  Several I have had to deal with possessed no real sense of shared risk or sacrifice.  Most have had an agenda, economic or professional, and the #1 item on it has been themselves.  Several have exuded an air of superiority and a heightened sense of self-importance relative to their station in life.  I have seen some take credit for all success and deny, deflect and shirk all blame for any failure.  Many have thrived on admiration from others and some have used this to serve their own selfish ends.  Just about all, to some degree, lacked empathy.  To be fair, the vast majority of them had some solid personal redeeming qualities but trying to get past all the other stuff to see them was often very difficult.  What all these people showed were traits of what the psychiatric professionals would call a narcissistic personality disorder   The Diagnostic and Statistic Manual-IV (DSM-IV) clearly delineated nine criteria traits (five necessary to rate the diagnosis).  The DSM-V has revised some of them but most are still relevant.  (See Page 9 here for explanation) .

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I have known a few people with five or more of the nine outlined in the DSM-IV and often they had a track record of multiple failed marriages, multiple failed business ventures resulting in bankruptcy, epic failure of friendships/relationships and an adamant refusal to own any responsibility for bad decision making.  Any resemblance to Mr. Trump is not coincidental.  Moving forward please understand this basic fact of the matter:  it isn’t so much an issue of who he is as much as what he is.  The GOP frontrunner is an unabashed narcissist.  Mr. Trump just happens to have the financial wherewithal to promote himself and his vision of America, each of which is intertwined with the other, and has enough experience selling such things to make it a genuine problem for his current political party.

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It should come as no surprise that so many in the GOP base and especially to those in the far right and fringe of the party are drawn to the traits displayed by Mr. Trump.  He has been saying all the right things to appeal to the disaffected elements of conservative America.  His blatant refusal to walk back rants about and confrontations with media people and other candidates and his over-the-top backhanded assertions on whatever issue are not seen as liabilities but strengths.  All of Trump’s boasting and grandiosity, his visions of unlimited success for America, his stated belief that only he knows how to fix what is wrong with the country, his overt sense of entitlement and indulgence in his own admiration of his achievements, his willingness to take advantage of anyone or anything to achieve his own goals, his repeated assertions that others envy him, his patronizing arrogance and his dearth of anything resembling empathy are characteristics that so many of those on his bandwagon identify with.  They see in multi-billionaire Donald Trump at least a little piece of themselves.  They have found someone with whom they agree on likely more than a couple of issues and are willing to put up with if not totally ignore certain other things like multiple bankruptcies (hey, he played by the rules and none were his fault BTW) and any and all other failures Trump refuses to own.  This is what accounts for his sustained climb in the polls and his rise does not look to be plateauing let alone falling as of yet.

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So the 2016 Presidential campaign is off and running.  The leader of the GOP pack is a multi-billionaire narcissist who appeals greatly to other narcissists many of whom by their own consideration are temporarily embarrassed multi-billionaires themselves.  When push comes to shove, when the rubber meets the road, when the curtain is pulled on the voting booth it is my sincerest admonition to remember that results of governing matter.  Results of governing matter a lot.  Hold onto your hats, people.  We are still over five months away from Primary season.  We have yet to see the full unbridled dystopian specter of an America led by the likes of a Donald John Trump!

The American Psycho Movie You May Have Missed About Trump

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1 Comment

  1. Carl Alexander
    Aug 23, 2015

    The scariest thing about the T-Rump is that so many of the Republican ‘base’ evidently find him not only appealing, but fully acceptable as Presidential material… that says volumes about what the Republican party has devolved into, during the past couple of decades! There used to be a difference between being ‘conservative’ and being ‘right-wing’ – nowadays, both are synonymous with being a nut-case… and The Donald makes the perfect representative for that all of ilk.

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