By Mark Brenner aka Papa Bizzle
(Note to the Reader: I will refer to Trump by his first name in this blog entry because I experience him as a child, and “Donald” captures this nicely. I’ve been assuming that Paul Ryan continues to refer to him as “Donald,” as well, for some kind of mean, passive-aggressive intent, similar to mine.)
Donald was born in 1946 in New York to Fred and Elizabeth Trump, the fourth of five children. His father, who became one of New York’s biggest real estate developers, was of German ancestry. All four of Donald’s grandparents were born in Europe (Germany and Scotland). His mother was also born abroad in Scotland. Donald has always said that he’s proud of his German ancestry, never citing his Scottish ancestry. So, parse that as you will.
Fred Trump was once arrested at a KKK rally and was also sued by the United States Department of Justice for refusing to rent flats to African-Americans. Ouch. Fred described his son as a “pretty rough fellow when he was small.” Here’s how we might decode this stunning version of parental understatement: He punched his second-grade music teacher in the face and gave him a black eye. (The only child I ever met who had even worse impulse control than this was a second-grade boy who I was evaluating back in the day for some form of emotional disturbance. The first Rorschach card I showed him he started literally to hump it.) Additionally, I’ve read two stories about why Donald’s parents sent him to New York Military Academy. One was that he was expelled from school at the age of 13 and then was sent to the NYMA. The other version is that Donald’s father discovered that he and a friend had been going into NYC to buy switch blades. Either way, he was indeed a “pretty rough fellow when he was small.” Oh wait, there’s more. While at NYMA, Donald was struck with a broomstick during a fight, and he tried to push a fellow cadet out of a second-story window, but was prevented from doing so by two other cadets. And we thought that Ben Carson’s teenage stories were bizarre and disturbing!
The Donald always goes big, and the Donald also never goes home. He’s been married three times and has had five children by those three women, each time “upgrading” (according to his extremely offensive and incomprehensible “rating” system for women’s apparent looks) when he hits the apparent Use-By Date. He has been involved in 3,500 legal cases in U.S. Federal and State courts. He’s been the plaintiff in 1,900 of the cases, the defendant in 1,450 of the cases, and a third party in another 150 of them. This is a mind-boggling number of cases for any human being to be involved in—unless you’re a warrior, constitutionally. Donald is a warrior, constitutionally (“Darwin” would be a much more apt name for him than “Donald,” truthfully.) If you’ve ever been involved in a single business-related legal case you would immediately recall how punishing, enervating, and distracting they typically are. For him, though? Not so much. I have no doubt but that he is energized by each and every one of them. Let’s also add four Chapter 11 bankruptcies to the list, as well.
(This is anecdotal but germane. Over the years I spent a lot of time consulting in Atlantic City. Back then I wouldn’t have known Donald if I’d tripped over him. However, one would constantly be bombarded by stories of his underhanded business practices and how punishing he was to small, family-owned businesses. He wouldn’t pay his bills, and he would compulsively sue people or be fending off suits. He was like a bad joke down in AC…unless you were a contractor to him, and then he was a nightmare.)
A few more snapshots:
Donald once sent Gail Collins a copy of one of her NYT OpEd pieces, with her photo circled and with his written comment: “The Face of a Dog.”
In The Art of the Deal, Donald writes, “Sometimes making a deal is denigrating your competition.” (Who the eff was his editor, BTW?! We haven’t seen this kind of tortured syntax since Bush Two!!) “Sometimes?” Just sometimes? Really?!? He vanquished every single one of his 16 Republican competitors by shamelessly denigrating them… and sometimes their loved ones, just for good measure. (Needless to say, he used the same tactic against Hillary… and Rosie O… and the Khan family… and Elizabeth Warren… and Megyn Kelly… and the dozen women who accused him of sexual assault… and and and…)
Donald’s eulogy at his father’s funeral was all about him, Donald. The coup d’grace was citing all his greatest real estate projects and implying that his father’s greatest achievement was raising a brilliant and renowned son.
If you were paying sufficient attention, Hillary’s campaign did a terrific job of capturing and memorializing video of Donald’s doing and saying many other despicable things. Maybe the most horrendous of which, in my view, was his mocking the journalist who has a congenital orthopedic condition.
And, one final snapshot that focuses on Donald’s tenuous relationship with the truth: Politifact’s analysis found that 2% of what Donald utters is true; 7% is mostly true; 15% is half true; 15% is mostly false; 42% is false; and 18% is “pants on fire”. So, fully 75% of what he utters is either mostly false, wholly false, or outrageously false. Sweet! (Hillary comes in at 29%.)
THESE ARE PARTS OF WHAT SORT OF A WHOLE (HOLE?), THEN?
Well, it doesn’t require a PhD to recognize that Donald is one of the world’s preeminent narcissists—obsessed and infatuated with his Self, swaggering, boastful and grandiose, insulting and denigrating, entitled, thin-skinned, a ruthless pursuit of success and greatness and beauty, pursuing selfish goals, glib and superficial, and HAVING A VIRTUAL ABSENCE OF EMPATHY. Donald is a transparent but scary mix of narcissism and authoritarianism.
And, it’s this authoritarian strain in Donald’s personality that draws so many to his black light. Even Born Agains are willing to overlook Donald’s multiple marriages, his obvious lack of religion/religiosity, and the vile stuff that spews from his mouth for three reasons: his perceived position on fetuses; their expectation that Donald’s Supreme Court appointment(s) will save American culture from hellfire and damnation; AND, finally, his authoritarian personality, with which the Born Agains and others of their ilk resonate at a very deep, gut level.
So, what’s this business about the authoritarian personality factor (APF)? This particular personality profile is generally characterized by:
- A narrow focus on traditional values; for example, it’s only acceptable to respect and obey authority;
- On top of that, an emphasis on unquestioned acceptance of authority;
- Condemnation of anyone or any group that challenges the traditional, middle-class protocol (say, for example, protesters);
- Rejection of traditionally feminine traits like sensitivity, sentimentality, passivity (not action-oriented), and/or a cerebral orientation (e.g. policemen are good, ivory-tower types are bad);
- Admiration of power and strength and a zero-sum, win-lose approach to life;
- A Darwinian-based philosophy and the combativeness that emanates from that orientation; human nature is viewed as oriented toward dominance and submission;
- An inclination to imagine that conspiracies are in the air;
- A tribal orientation — in other words, that those who are different from my tribe are outliers and a threat to my tribe.
You will generally see this APF expressing itself in a person’s cognitive inflexibility, an attraction to strength and to militarism, a tendency to obey authority, and a fundamentalist orientation. They often are focused on suppressing the Outlier-Other because they feel threatened by their ideas, values, and overall approach to living. For example: “Their Black culture is defective and threatening. They’re gay and, therefore, blasphemous. Jews pretty much control the world. Poor people are poor because they have no will power and are lazy. Mexicans are… Asians are…” and so on. The virulent cycle of close-minded disdain, suspicion, followed by fear, and then hate.
In examining this cluster of traits and proclivities, it is clear that the authoritarian personality is going to feel a strong need for and simpatico with an authoritarian leader who will be intensely focused on maintaining order and control; an overarching emphasis on national strength and the military; crushing every perceived scary threat out there (scary foreigners, scary domestic minorities, scary economic trends, scary social change); suppressing the various minority Outlier-Others; emphasizing practical sh*t (reading, writing, and arithmetic over the Arts or even the sciences, for example); pooh-poohing and attacking “conspiracy theories” of various elite groups that disrupt their traditional, retrograde thinking, such as Climate Change; attacking those who seem to contravene Old/New Testament-like values such as heterosexuality, traditional gender roles, and an extremist opposition to the freedom of women to control what happens to their bodies.
** Join Papa B. in Part 2 for an analysis of Trump’s followers!