Psychologists have profiled Donald Trump as the textbook narcicist. We could debate that profile, splitting hairs about whether his diagnosis sets him apart from most other people or whether it actually aligns him with a significant portion of the American electorate. His enthusiastic and surprisingly large base of support suggests the latter.
Donald Trump is the supreme egotist. His personal and world-view fits perfectly with similar egotists who live in our egotistical society. His upbringing in the shadow of his controlling and surpassingly egotistical father prepared him for this moment, instilling his views about behavior, control, his instinct for seeking advantage, belittling and manipulating others to attain every form of dominance: financial, personal, sexual, and now political.
I’d be reluctant to declare a large portion of Americans narcicistic or even sociopathic, despite our proclivity for electing sociopaths to public office. But I have no problem calling American culture egotistical and declaring Donald Trump to be the cherry on top of that sundae, complete with the artificial flavor and color.
At some point in his adolescence, Donald Trump completely identified with his father’s self-involved nature and has since become a poster boy for arrested development. He has been a frat boy his whole life; even now as a father, suggesting that his own daughter would be a suitable sexual conquest. Extremely creepy.
He serves himself and no one else. He has been successful at it, which draws attention from those who have been rendered voiceless and ineffectual non-entities by the very ideology that Trump embodies and wish they could be as successful, someday rising to the top of whatever heap they view as their own life.
Trump has never been about contributing to a sustainable culture. Making America Great Again has nothing to do with sustainability. That is not in his vocabulary. It has everything to do with getting his way, which, if he should ever become President, would then become Our Way—The American Way.
The Donald does not view Himself as part of a vast organic web of intricate interdependencies. He sees himself as a free agent in competition with all others, including his own political supporters. He lives in a zero-sum world: his gain is your loss and he intends to continue enjoying those gains, particularly the new political variety, publicly and ostentatiously, and to make sure you do not forget it. Witness his compulsive resort to the 140-character wars. He can’t help himself–because it’s always all about him.
Despite his rhetoric, his operational ideology has always been about extracting the maximum labor from human capital with a minimum of commitment to the ongoing viability of those resources. If he can use you, he will. If he can short you, he will. If he can game the financial system, he will. Why should we consider that he will be any different if he were ever in a position to influence our economy or how America conducts its international financial affairs? Dominance will be his objective at all times.
Even lower on the totem pole of his concerns will be the natural environment. He will advocate maximum extraction of natural capital with minimum accountability. Defray the costs to someone else. Attaining the presidency will radically expand the field of his exploitation. If he can use the earth, he will.
He not only regards himself as a superior human, but considers a certain sub-set of humans (people like himself) to be superior to all other humans. Somewhere below that will be the rest of life on the planet; any groups of humans that happen to face radical dislocation due to conditions beyond their control…well, just their tough luck. Any species that happens to face extinction, …well, they just didn’t adapt fast enough.
The reason Obama has become anathema to him as well as to all other egotists is because Obama operates as if other countries are equals. They are accorded respect and, under appropriate conditions, even trust. Obama’s approach to international relations, except for continuing America’s Never Ending Wars (and yes, except for those extra-judicial assassinations), at least gives lip service to cooperation. Donald Trump will never operate in a field of equals. He will always regard other nations with differing interests as potential conquests over whom his primary intention will be to dominate, to “win.” But with Putin…or Xi Jinping,…it will be much more serious than a Twitter war.
Obama is anathema because in a rational world, given the global challenges we face, climate change, limited resources (primarily water), regional conflicts, terrorism, poverty, food security and public health,… cooperation among nations is necessary. Collective action is required. For Donald and all egotists, it’s all about US, our security, our comfort, our convenience. That is America’s Greatness. Because that’s Donald’s definition of Greatness: telling everyone else how it’s gonna go down.
Donald likes holding parties, attending parties, orchestrating parties. Declaring his intention to become president is all about seeking a bigger party. He’s found one. The Donald is now the life of the Party. The Republican Party. And the guests are lining up to shake his hand, even as he shakes them down.