Hello Everyone,

With less than a week to go in this most unusual presidential election, I would like to offer a few closing thoughts about this “so-called campaign” and what its aftermath might be.

A few of you may recall that in October of last year I wrote #100:  “Will the Narcissist Help to Restore Sanity?” In it, I was half right.  Over these many months, Trump has put on display his full array of symptoms of “narcissistic personality disorder.”  I was also half wrong.  His poll numbers didn’t fade during the primaries and neither did he.

I think David Brook’s observations in that commentary, with his references to Max Weber, are worth re-reading.

Regardless of Trump’s dismaying staying power, it has become ever clearer to me that his reality-show-imitation of a campaign has never been susceptible to political analysis, only psychoanalysis.

I have come to sympathize with the responsible media. As with real campaigns, they have sought to report on both candidates’ activities as though they were engaged in a highly complicated game, like chess.  That type of traditional analysis has been appropriate in reporting Sen. Clinton’s campaign, even as she has been dragged into the gutter.

In stark contrast, Trump clearly has been playing some other sort of game.  Let’s call it solitaire, to extend the metaphor further. The simplest and most self-centered of all games and hardly worthy of commentary.  And, even then, he seems to be cheating – if we can liken incessant lying to cheating.

For Trump, this game of politics is all about him.  About his incessant need to call attention to himself. That’s how a narcissist feeds his all-consuming addiction.

How else can we explain his outlandish behavior, his endless “missteps”?  How else can we explain his need to insult dozens of people across the political spectrum?  (See this October 23, 2016, list published in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/01/28/upshot/donald-trump-twitter-insults.html.)  Why would he take on gold star parents and a beauty queen after the conventions?  Attention.

After Trump’s resounding defeat, it will be fascinating to see how he further contorts himself as he desperately tries to stay in the spotlight.  He may try to mount a cable channel, but that will hardly satisfy his voracious need for attention – the audience will be too small and his antics will largely be ignored.  And, he will no longer be able to take masterful advantage of the FCC’s Equal Time rule and the platform of a presidential primary and general election to garner the attention of the mainstream media.

I even doubt that Trump’s claims of a rigged election are intended to make excuses for his impending defeat or to delegitimize Sen. Clinton in her victory.  They are just another way to remain in the spotlight.  At whatever cost.  Even to our democracy and its institutions and traditions.  Nixon didn’t do that.  Gore didn’t do that.

One has to wonder to what extent we will pay attention to Trump’s torrent of insults and outrageous behavior when they are no longer considered “newsworthy.”  Perhaps he will become nothing more than a staple on Entertainment Tonight, with all its irony.

More troubling, however, is the question of who will attempt to appeal to those voters whose genuine grievances – like those related to the re-shaping of the American economy and job market — remain.  Hopefully, it will not be another demagogue, whether faux or real.

As this “non-campaign” campaign enters its final days and when we reflect back on it and its history is written, I remain convinced that the only lens through which it can be seen clearly will be psychological, not political.

Please, as always, pass it on.  And, remember that previous Obamagrams are stored on www.obamagrams.com

Chuck

 

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