On Friday, Huffington Post announced somberly that Trump’s presidential run is over, because pussygate and polls and everyone is fed up with him beyond the point of no return.
Yesterday, they wondered why Republicans continue to support their Agent of Destruction.
The seesaw of hope and fear-infused incredulity is characteristic of this campaign, as Democrats, liberals, and anti-Trumpists continue to be perplexed by the man’s unsinkability in spite of his glaring, and proven daily, lack of competence and character, and a slew of scandals revealing just how unsuitable he is for this job or any other involving power over human and other sentient beings.
The current polls show Hillary leading by four points in some places, and Trump inching ahead in others (barely, but).
Obviously, this ain’t over until the Orange Menace skulks off the stage raving about rigged election and nasty media, to plot his revenge and comeback in the shiny bowels of his gilded cage.
And even then it won’t be over.
That’s because Trump/ism is a symptom of a larger disorder that is destroying our country and the world; and unless we address it, our downward spiral of self-destruction will continue to its unthinkable but predictable finish.
It is apparent, or should be, that Trump has been chosen not in spite of his character defect, but because of it. His pathology makes him inherently destructive, and destruction is what his supporters — who encompass a much wider swath of the population than liberal pundits realize — want.
Pathological leaders, who share the same character defect, that of narcissistic psychopathy (or malignant narcissism), are elected (if not violently usurping power) for the specific purpose of inflicting mayhem and destruction under the guise of “law and order” and making their countries “great again.” The latest example is the Philippines’ Duterte.
Power-hungry narcissistic psychopaths creep up like mushrooms after the rain in places where people are fed up with ineffective and/or corrupt governance, but they are not really selected to fix the problems as much as to annihilate the existing social order and its supporters.
Interestingly — and we really should pay attention to this, but of course we won’t — the number of these pathological leaders appears to have been increasing since the Cold War, just as admiration for Hitler and strongmen like him continues to grow around the world.
This is a sign of a deepening sickness afflicting human race and the humanity’s desperate response to it, rooted, as it always is, in the (Freudian) death instinct.
It manifests in such dramatic ways for specific emotional and spiritual purposes, some less positive — like scapegoating others to avoid feeling guilt for our own past transgressions; and others more so — like allowing our shadow to break through so we can acknowledge it and work with its contents. The latter has a potential to enable necessary, meaningful growth, while the former (scapegoating to avoid guilt) pushes us deeper into ignorance, thus preventing change and development.
Unfortunately, it is always the former that’s involved in the deadly love affair between a pathological leader and his supporters.
Psychoanalyst Hanna Segal, who was, among other things, a critic of George W. Bush and the American war industry, described this affair as follows:
The group chooses its leader according to its orientation. Groups under the sway of psychotic mechanisms tend to select or tolerate leaders who represent their pathology. But not only do those groups choose the unbalanced leaders; they also affect them. The groups thrust omnipotence on their leaders, and push them further into megalomania. There is a dangerous interaction between a disturbed group and a disturbed leader, increasing each other’s pathology.
If not interrupted (by the sane portion of society), this mutually rewarding relationship, which assures destruction promised by the leader’s character defect, has to play out to its dark fruition.
A horrible fact of life and one we loathe to acknowledge is that the wounds inflicted by these leaders never truly heal; in many instances they become chronic and as seemingly incurable as the defective characters of the “inflictors.”
Yes, it can happen here. If it could happen in the heart of civilized, post-Nazi, post-Communist late 20th century Europe, it can happen anywhere. It’s just a matter of time and our complicity, willful and not.