After my recent blog post when I asked your thoughts on whether Hillary Clinton is derailing, many of you suggested we should ask the same question about Donald Trump, Republican candidate for U.S. President. Here are my thoughts.
Trump amassed a personal fortune through being smart, tough-minded and resilient in his business dealings. He demands high performance and loyalty from all who work for him.
His stance on illegal immigration and many other issues have resonated with a lot of unhappy voters, thus his very high poll numbers. But it’s more than that. People like his uninhibited, direct, non PC communication style. I think many like Trump for the same reason we liked the Mel Gibson character in the Lethal Weapon movies. He throws caution to the wind, and he’s dangerous. He scares us a bit, and we like the fact that he scares the establishment crowd—the holders of the very safe, existing political paradigm.
Two words are also frequently assigned to him—arrogance and narcissism. As I mentioned in the last blog, arrogance is the “mother of all derailers.” Does this mean he is at risk for derailment? In short, absolutely, but to really understand Trump, I think we must go Freudian.
Remember from Psychology 101:
ID — our primitive drives—the free, uninhibited child in us.
Ego — the rational side of us that tries to be more realistic and adult like.
Superego — the side of us which wants us to conform to societal values and expectations—our “parent.”
Trump’s freely expressed id entertains us, and like Mel Gibson, we wonder what he will say or do next. Our uneasiness rests in our uncertainty whether his ego and superego can rein in his huge id. He shows some signs that he can, but then the raw, adolescent name caller shows up again.
The three Lethal Weapon movies lost our interest about halfway through number two. Do you think American voter will grow tired of Trump in a similar way? What are your thoughts?
© Copyright 2015. Dr. Tim Irwin and Irwin Inc, LLC. All rights reserved.
Of course, Obama has the media covering and defending him.
As always, great insight from you.
When it comes to Donald Trump, you are spot on. Narcissism is not only toxic to the person engaged in the behavior, but to their wider audiences. We all dream of acting like John Wayne at times, throwing punches without consequence (other than getting our way instantly), but this is not the social contract. Democracy is by definition messy, where parties compromise. Narcissists, however, are incapable of compromise, and that is what makes them so incredibly dangerous.
I thought you might enjoy our take on the last GOP debate, which we cover regularly for Forbes. There are a few comments on Mr. Trump.