Whose side are you on? The trigger happy Twitter addict who speaks of immigrants and Muslims as a monolithic bloc, or the divisive politician by day, email assassin by night?
Every presidential election, of course, is of vital importance, but Trump versus Clinton is, in case you haven’t noticed, a little different. This is a “national identity” election.
Unlike President Obama, a man who truly embraces the ideas of inclusivity and equality, Trump has actively encouraged his minions to view minority groups with incredulity and unwarranted hate. Clinton, on the other hand, tends to echo Obama’s sentiments, imploring Americans to display a level of unity that transcends hatred. When she’s not dealing with those pesky Chinese hackers, Clinton preaches a more hopeful message, with many of her philosophies appealing to sanity and reason.
Boring, untrustworthy, predictable, call her whatever you want, but one thing you cannot call her is a sociopath.
The same cannot be said for Trump.
“Sociopath,” such a heavily loaded word, often leading to thoughts of Christian Bale in “American Psycho.” It’s true, many a serial killer is indeed sociopathic, but the majority of sociopaths lead a more normal existence. Although I use the adjective “normal,” a sociopath’s behavior is far from normal, but their actions and intentions are often so nuanced and deliberate it’s difficult to see the danger. Chances of you knowing a sociopath are pretty high, with researchers widely estimating that one percent of the general population fit the description.
Does Trump fit the bill?
Firstly, sociopaths operate without a conscience, and from what we’ve seen so far, so does The Donald. Lacking an empathetic capacity that many of us take for granted, sociopaths don’t feel affection. Your average sociopath is observant, very observant, and is skilled at mimicking feelings of affection and empathy.
Look at footage of Trump addressing the Orlando massacre, then decide for yourself if the sorrow being displayed is genuine or feigned. Most people with a conscience don’t actively seek out conflict on a daily basis. Combine this with a sociopath’s efforts to out trump (pardon the unnecessary pun) everyone else, and the result is as ominous as it is toxic. Like most sociopaths, Trump’s destructiveness is entrained by his egotistical needs.
Deceiving and manipulative, sociopaths feel no guilt. Hurting people without any remorse is considered fair game. “It is a good rule in life never to apologize,” said the great English author P.G. Wodehouse, and this is a philosophy embodied by Trump. A habitual liar without a discernible shred of humility, this expired bottle of Sunny Delight has left a path of confusion and upset in his wake, granted most of the confusion centers around the Republican Party, with many clearly troubled by the idea of publicly supporting an orange demon.
Many studies have been carried out on the brain activity of sociopaths, and the results are pretty much unanimous. The brain of a sociopath functions very differently to that of a person who does not exhibit antisocial attitudes and behavior. Although they live an emotionally shallow existence, sociopaths are capable of mimicking emotions like a professional actor. Trump, a charlatan of the highest order, is a skilled actor. The last person with a background in acting to contest a presidency was Ronald Reagan, but his ability to manipulate emotions, as powerful as it was, pales in comparison to Mr. Orange. After winning the New York primary, for example, Trump momentarily switched to a previously unseen “presidential” persona. Convinced by this Oscar winning performance, Fox News labelled it a landmark moment, a sign of growth and maturity. However, in typical Fox News fashion, the deduction was premature and inaccurate.
With quick thinking, a burning desire to manipulate emotions, andlimitless self confidence, Trump has convinced many Americans that he is indeed the man to “Make America Great Again.” Add to this a cold disposition and a lack of remorse, and you have the ingredients for unethical, reprehensible behavior.
Before Trump arrived on the political scene, the world of politics was widely considered a boring, all-too-predictable game. Not since Bill Clinton dropped his pants have so many people been obsessed by one political figure. The masses are crying out for a paradigmatic shift, and it’s not difficult to see why millions are infatuated with an atypical candidate. Trump’s utter disregard for the rights of others is not, as his followers appear to believe, a middle finger to the establishment; it’s a middle finger to everyone around the world. This man doesn’t care about you, he doesn’t care about equal rights, because he doesn’t possess the ability to do so. In true sociopathic form, he only cares about himself, but his ability to exude superficial charm has fooled many an American. By now, however, after a full year of racist remarks and blatant lies, his sociopathic tendencies, the very tendencies that got him this far, are proving to be his downfall.
Like Bill Cosby in the company of an unconscious woman, Trump just can’t help himself.
And this comparison, initially an attempt at humor, is rather apt. Both men are divisive, both men are stubborn, both men are opportunistic, both men are deceitful, and both were always on the road to self destruction. Cosby, a man now universally abhorred, has reached his destination. But don’t worry, folks, Mr. Trump is nearly there.