Political Psychoanalysis of Donald J. Trump, a USA 45th President: How did he get away with it?
By Claude Shema Rutagengwa
From Arab spring, Brexit apocalypse, and now USA election. A Dissection of a controversial path of Trump through Political psychology analysis and global peace perspective
By Claude R Schema
(Category: Political psychology& Global Peace)
This decade has been characterised by dramatic changes, from Arab spring, the spectacular Brexit effects, and unprecedented American presidential elections that shook the entire world, and increased stress disorder among Americans themselves (APA,2016). In USA particularly, as American voters exercised their rights to vote, in a one of the most democratic fashion in the world, the entire world was taken off guard to learn that Mr. Trump is the next President of the most powerful country on earth-USA! Hard to believe it, too good to be true, shocking, the most important day of a brighter future of Americans, or in a simplified term: A mixed emotions and feelings. However, due to his perceived strong ultranationalist position, unpredictability, enthusiasm among his core supporters and his tough political fights against all who opposed him, including his own party members (GOP), together with his controversies and dirty campaign he ran against his 16 opponents in GOP primaries, and later even dirtier and muddy political fight when he was running against his democratic opponent, he become more concern of fantasy to many, in USA and in the world. Most of all, he emerged out of nowhere, without any political experience, nor military service, knocked out all of his GOP opponents who were more politically qualified, with higher education than him, such as Dr. Ben Carson (a well respected paediatric surgeon), Dr. Rand Paul, and big names like Jeb Bush (George W. Bush brother, and son of George H. Bush), and ultimately a big surprising knockout against one of the most politically experienced Hillary Clinton.
However, weeks before election, Trump had been accused by more than 10 women for sexual assault, and even worse, a Hollywood video released, where Trump was on hot mic bragging about how he assaulted women by starting by “touching the pussy” (Trump said), because he was a celebrity. However, regardless all odds, without any political experience, with flip and flops on many issues or without clarity at all, had lost all 3 presidential debates to Hillary Clinton, his wife Melania accused of illegal earning when she was a model (she did not have a work permit, allegations claim), and for the first time in history of USA presidential elections Trump refused to release his tax return ( “None of your business”-Once he told a journalist), he surprised American people and the world with a clean winning to become the 45th US President. Donald Trump has tapped into anger of many unhappy American people, who erratically celebrated his victory, praised by KKK group that marched in celebratory event to Trump’s election, and even more so, young children in middle and high school who chanted “BUILD THE WALL” against Mexican origin classmate, while other students were chanting “WHITE POWER” holding Trump’s sign. However, his [Trump] election to president angered more on the other hand, who subsequently took on the street of many cities in USA right after his election. He has said more than hundreds of things (By Jenna Johnson, Washington Post, January 22-2016; Java Lange August 4th 2015/ The Week) that put many at an ease, swore more than angry bad or The Simpsons (cartoons show), confronted his own party and threatened to breakaway should they bother him, proposed unacceptable ideas such as waterboarding, stop and frisk, banning Muslims from entering USA “until we figure out what the HELL is going on”, ending gun free zones such as schools, threatened to punish women for their own productive choices and much more. Many of annalists possibly including myself said: This is it! Given the fact that minority such as Black Americans, Latinos and Native Americans and women don’t like these ideas, and no single president has even won election in this country without a sizeable percentage of the minority groups, Hillary Clinton is the next president of the United States of America. But “SURPRISE”!!! We were all “WRONG”.
How did he get away with it? How did he win and leave many people scratching their heads, despite all polls suggesting his opponent -Hillary- a winner with possibility of a “landslide victory”? This paper will highlight some plausible psychological observations and factors that catapulted Trump to the most powerful and relevant position in the world, oval office!
Unequivocal comparison by “Late Night” host, Seth Meyers who “does not think the decision between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is very close”-Vox (2016).
"That’s a problem for a lot of Americans: They just don’t love the two choices," Meyers said. "Do you pick someone who’s under federal investigation for using a private email server?
"Or do you pick someone who called Mexicans rapists, claimed the president was born in Kenya, proposed banning an entire religion from entering the US, mocked a disabled reporter, said John McCain wasn’t a war hero because he was captured, attacked the parents of a fallen soldier, bragged about committing sexual assault, was accused by 12 women of committing sexual assault, said some of those women weren’t attractive for him to sexually assault, said more countries should get nukes, said that he would force the military to commit war crimes, said a judge was biased because his parents were Mexicans, said women should be punished for having abortions, incited violence at his rallies, called global warming a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, called for his opponent to be jailed, declared bankruptcy six times, bragged about not paying income taxes, stiffed his contractors and employees, lost a billion dollars in one year, scammed customers at his fake university, bought a six-foot-tall painting of himself with money from his fake foundation, has a trial for fraud coming up in November, insulted an opponent’s looks, insulted an opponent’s wife’s looks, and bragged about grabbing women by the pussy?-Seth Meyers asked. My answer to Seth Meyers whom I adore is that: American voters don’t care for a second for whatever you say about Trump, it is all about business, getting things DONE, and most of all, EAGER AND THURSTY FOR CHANGE [rather than “DYNASTY”] by an outsider, regardless their past, current and personality and even potential uncertainty embodied with them. Period!
WHAT WENT WRONG-HILLARY, WHAT WENT RIGHT-TRUMP?
As every human being was racing to find solutions that could help us to understand how did we get where we are at now, as the entire world was shaking due to the uncertainty and US elections that generated an open horizon filled with uncertainty in America and the world, based on the perception and interpretations of Trump’s own rhetoric and unprecedented divisive and threatening pledges that have even affected the stock market across the globe, as psychological impact of “political words” and political agendas. Although the scientific answer would be hard to determine the underlying factors, there are as few as 8 hypotheses that can provide answers as follows:
Michael Moore hypothesis
Allan Lichtman’s sophisticated sociopolitical mathematical hypothesis
Assumptive inaccurate pundits vs. final physical vote (Polls vs. the real votes).
Few months before elections, American filmmaker and author Michael Moore (2016) predicted Trump victory, and suggested the five reasons why Trump will win through these theories:
Midwest Math or Welcome to Our Rust Belt Brexit (upper Great Lakes – Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin-Unusual Trending leaning towards Republican Party). Thus, as Trump predicted in his campaign, Americans should face “Brexit +++” as he puts it.
The Last Stand of the Angry White Man (After 8 years of a Black President-Obama, White supremacism/men’s superiority pattern and trends, responded positively to Trumps’ slogan “let’s take our country back” sounded like a love song into majority of “White men’s” ears).
The Hillary Problems (FBI, perceived as greedy and corrupt, personality, long term insider, health concerns, inability to generate enthusiasm and possible weak ground campaign-miscalculation of entire democratic party).
The Depressed Sanders Voters (millions of democrat and independent millennials who are still grieving and resenting Hillary for Bernie Sanders’s loss during the primaries-who subsequently decided to stay home instead of voting either Trump or Hillary).
The Jesse Ventura Effect ( celebrity status and outspokenness persona vs establishment theory for political change).-PBS Newshour, 2016
A distinguished professor of history at American University, and author of Predicting the Next President: The Keys to the White House 2016,” Pr. Allan Lichtman had consistently predicted that Trump will win the White House. Since 2015, Professor Allan explained the reasons why Trump would win:
Party Mandate: After the midterm elections, the incumbent party holds more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives than after the previous midterm elections.
Contest: There is no serious contest for the incumbent party nomination.
Incumbency: The incumbent party candidate is the sitting president.
Third party: There is no significant third party or independent campaign.
Short-term economy: The economy is not in recession during the election campaign.
Long-term economy: Real per capita economic growth during the term equals or exceeds mean growth during the previous two terms.
Policy change: The incumbent administration effects major changes in national policy.
Social unrest: There is no sustained social unrest during the term.
Scandal: The incumbent administration is untainted by major scandal.
Foreign/military failure: The incumbent administration suffers no major failure in foreign or military affairs.
Foreign/military success: The incumbent administration achieves a major success in foreign or military affairs.
Incumbent charisma: The incumbent party candidate is charismatic or a national hero.
Challenger charisma: The challenging party candidate is not charismatic or a national hero (Licthman, 2016).
Summary of Licthman’s prediction
Although it was the toughest one to predict according to him, but he explains that: “The keys are 13 true/false questions, where an answer of "true" always favors the re-election of the party holding the White House, in this case the Democrats. And the keys are phrased to reflect the basic theory that elections are primarily judgments on the performance of the party holding the White House. And if six or more of the 13 keys are false — that is, they go against the party in power — they lose. If fewer than six are false, the party in power gets four more years….” And this is exactly what happened on November 8th 2016 in the night.
Secondary factors (in my opinion)
Washington political “swamp” perception (voters were tired of quagmire in Washington)
5 stages of grieving and loss (depressed and divided minority groups)
Trumpism and Bernieism (Political revolution insinuated by Bernie sanders for better social wellbeing or “socialism”, change for the silent majority)
Highly FBI-ed & guarded Hillary (scary to hear that FBI is investigating, Hillary overly guarded personality led to less enthusiasm and high unlikability despite her “tremendous and unprecedented civil rights for voiceless people in the past”. History isn’t fair!!!)
Fear and uncertainty (Economy, jobs, terrorism and media[ISIS], the rise of external powers such as Iran nuclear and taunting USA, Russia, North Korea, increased islamophobia and Americans -majority-perceived link between Islam and perception of terrorism and radicalism).
The complexity of US voting system: 538 electoral votes map vs. popular votes vs. 270 magic number (finish line to snatch the White House).
Trumpism and typical narcissistic behavior
Since he announced his presidential campaign in a very surprising and stunning fashion, Mr. Trump exhibited un-presidential behaviors that led many to search through Dr. Google (www.google.com) what personality type Trump might be (more than 42 million hits), even more so, psychiatric disorders that may be associated with Trump’s behavior and erratic reactions. However, the American Psychiatric Association ( APA) warned members and asked them to stop diagnosing Donald J. Trump.
Nevertheless, to better understand his victory to be the President of the United states of America, it is important to analyze Trump’s past, as a temperamentally challenging kid, a bully, egomaniac, narcissistic behavior, greedy for money and social dominance, power, wisdom, and superiority with the highest ambition as described by Kranish and Fisher (2016). Mr. Trump fought the possible and the most impossible battles, from multiple lawsuits in 1973 (he settled) against him and his father for racial discrimination, his battles against Native Americans once Trump claimed that: ‘I think I may have more Indian blood than a lot of the so-called Indians,’(Boburg,2016), and his deals with some of notorious mafia leaders such as Felix Sater (Heldman & Hamburger, 2016). In one word, Trump biography is filled with dirty business tricks, possibly more “bombshells” that we know, as once the former GOP presidential candidate and billionaire Mitt Romney suggested, and more tentacles of dirty even dirtier muddy personal and professional behaviors. But, a good friend of mine reminded me that, although many of rich billionaires succeed through the “clean” money, a good portion of them utilize dirty tricks like Trump’s. Thus, he can’t be perceived as a “nasty man” just because of that. Despite all odds, his brand name “Trump” with his celebrity persona, catapulted him to the popularity, another asset for his successfully presidential campaign, due to psychological perception of the voters, believing that Trump could “Make America Great Again” from “ground up” exactly the way he built his empire all over the world, starting with “Trump Tower” in New York City. Therefore, psychologically, voters’ standpoint, there is a positive existing reference on his success, and they believed that he will make America growth the same way he built the one of the biggest companies in the world from the ground up.
Trump personality, and art of conveying message
Tone, message, body language-uplifting/reassuring
Trump defied traditional political norms, and pulled up under the nose of infamous pundits across the board, and he won many voters’ trust and they believed him. That’s inarguable. Although sometimes it sounded like a phony and quick fix such as printing money to decrease debts as once Trump suggested, “bomb the shit out of them” [ISIS], getting harder on Muslims and labelling them as the nest of terrorism, surveillance on Muslim neighborhood, stopping the Syrian refugee program to USA, Narcissistic personality trait like, do everything for “Americans first”, linking Hillary Clinton to the old “same old” establishment politician who just “ talk but no actions”, who spent 30 plus years in Washington but has done nothing “FOR YOU”. Trump delivered a strong message, although broadly and sometimes unclear by saying that “Our country is taking care of others, but not our citizens, has forgotten even our veterans, but spending billions and trillion of dollars overseas, while our economy is shrinking, and yourself are living on paycheque-by-paycheque…, jobs are going overseas because of the stupid trade agreements that are ripping us off…”. Although the reality check has found Trump to be “Mr. Pants on fire or Pinocchio” (liar), his body language, posture, connection to the crowd, and high charisma to his supporters together with arrogance, sense of power, high self esteem, and tone such as “quickly” even better without teleprompter has deeply and profoundly convinced voters that he is the “Messiah”, the right “horse” and power for change in America and the world, another Ronald Reagan of our century.
Lesson learned for future presidential candidates
Build your brand name
Fight for your survival to keep your head afloat
Don't release your tax return if you think that they are not clean enough to be seen
Speak the language of voters
Reality check matters but body language makes you a better “campaigner-in-chief”
Clean your house (get skeletons out of your drawers) before you run for president
Be bold against humiliation and never hold back
Show a true YOU and show your emotions where necessary
Check missed signs on Jake taper show
Never ever trust “polls” again and “results of presidential debates” (and let all candidates keep running despite the national polls-fairness).
LONG AND TOUGH JOURNEY AHEAD FOR TRUMP
There is no question that the nation is divided, and very strong movement or social revolution is on rise in the USA. A President Trump will face strong issues such as economy for all, keep Americans safe, reuniting all races, and keep the American standing in the world at the highest possible. However, his choice of political team suggests how things will be during his presidency. On November 13th, he embraced many people’s vision by choosing Reince Priebus, the former leader of Republican Party (GOP). A well-regarded man, with great relationships between many republican representatives and possibly some democrat leaders as well, but Reince also is regarded as an “insider” according to people who wanted a complete “Washington swamp drain”. However, although Trump will possibly ride on a smooth horse since Republican party controls majority of both senate and congress houses, the ISIS was losing the battle in both Iraq and Syria, the choice of Steve Bannon as chief strategist in Trump’s administration, a hardliner and often labelled as a “racist”, misogynist and anti-Semitic personality created outcry among republicans and more among black communities and democrats as well. The choice of an ultra-conservative and super-ultra-nationalist like Bannon inflamed more anger, and potentially will lead to more street protest against Trump. How would this sound into Trump’s Son-In-Law [Jared Kushner] who is also a strong operative agent of Trump’s business as a son of Jewish family remains to be seen. Would this lead to internal conflict among Trump’s inner circle and more so among Republicans? Would Trump’s unpredictability lead to a “One term” presidency?
There is no only one single factor associated with Hillary loss or Trump’s victory, but a “spider web” of factors rather. Another conspiracy is that Trump presidency may lead to the end of the world, but “BELIEVE ME” it won’t.
President Trump has a long journey ahead, with a totally devided nation, where majority of voters ( ± 2 million more votes for Hillary than Trump), devided Republican Party, with a growing Anti-semitism and racism on both side on the edge, and a multitude of promises Trump made for American people and the world during his presidential campaign may hinder his presidency tenure. His “macho man” style to use a “iron fist” to close the deals with hostile countries such as Iran may shake global peace and create instability in many corners of the world, not to mention the end of the climate change initiatives, a very remarkable set back on the previous environmental initiatives such as “Paris Climate Agreement” initiated by Obama.
As much as may wanted to Hillary to win, people shouldn’t be convinced that Trump will massively deport “immigrants” but illegal onces. However, he will sadly end the path to the citizenships to many decedent of illegal parents, unless he changes his mind. Trump’s choice of Mr. Pence as vice-President made me feel a deep relief, due to Pence’s wisdom and clear and unprecedented charisma, clamness and rationality. Trump won’t kill all blacks, but his “Stop and Frisk” practice through “Law & Order” rhetoric will make many black people and other people of color suffer more. As Russia and USA matters goes, the theory behing Trump-Putin “bromance” by far relies on how Russia will treat relationship with Melania’s ( Trump’s wife) home country ( Slovenia). Attack on Slovenia, a NATO member, it will be an attack on Trump’s family, attack on two NATO allies ( America and Slovenia), thus the way Trump pushed the “Twitter” button, he won’t think twice to push “nuclear” button to hit Russia. Or, if Russia doesn’t get what Russia wants, poking Slovenia might be used as a possible leverage tool to demand negotiations between USA and Russia, regardless European powers opposition. Let’s hope and keep fingers crossed. Other than that, life will go on smoothly, and Trump’s muddy rhetoric has ended with campaigns, he will be one of the best Presidents USA ever had, because he loves his country as much as any other American does, and he is surrounded by rational and great people. Time to work together as Americans, use the conflict we have ourselves as politicians created to gain the votes, put to sleep “ unecessary animosity” we unleashed during this “ Kimbo Slice style street fight-like- political battle”,heal the wounds of an incredible and bruising presidential campaigns, rebuild the nation that is well respected in the world, and find a common ground for our differences in the aftermath, America will remain great, and possibly become even Greater again after this brutal episodes. Peace for All!
1.Kranish M. & Fisher M (2016). Trump Revealed: An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money, and Power. 2016
2.Michael D’Antonio (2016). The Truth About Trump.2016
3.Washington Post, 2016: Donald Trump’s long history of clashes with Native Americans