Donald Trump’s most recent comment involved an article 14 years old written by a New York Times reporter. Trump’s follow up is what caused the controversy when he appeared to mock that reporter’s recollection of the article and imitated the reporter acting stupid. Unfortunately, that act included some hand and arm motions of the reporter who suffers from a physical disability. When people criticized him for this apparent affront, he said he didn’t know the guy had a disability. He followed up even further saying that his crude impersonation actually helped the reporter by making him more famous because the Donald uttered his name.
Donald Trump is a preening bully on the kindergarten playground. This writer has seen it all. Child A pushes Child B from behind and they fall and scrape their knee. Child B tells the teacher who asks Child A if they pushed Child B. Child A denies it even though the teacher witnessed it. Unfortunately, those kindergarten bullies grow up to be bigger bullies if they are not stopped at an early age.
Sometimes, it develops into psychological antisocial behavior where wrong becomes right in the mind of the person. These are the people who can lie on a polygraph test and pass with flying colors because the objective lie is the truth to the person. No need to sweat and have an increased heart beat. Likewise, no need for Trump to apologize for a crude impersonation; he made the guy more famous.
And sometimes that kindergarten bully adds another thing to their resume in later grades- class clown. Except the antics of the class clown are “funny” only to them and their cadre of friends, usually other miscreant kids (think: avid Trump supporters). As long as there are some laughs from the class, the child will continue their antics. As long as Trump can claim he has a yuuuuuge lead in the polls, he has his laughing classmates.
There are two ways to deal with this type of kid. You can try to match up against them. Bully against bully fights just produce another more stronger bully. Hence, the attacks on Trump by fellow Republicans are not likely to inflict much damage and alter his behavior. The other way to deal with this type of kid is to simply ignore them by feigning understanding on some level (think: [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ]’ handling of Trump thus far- brilliant). Trust me; I’ve seen this at all grade levels.
Yes- Donald Trump leads in the polls nationally and in several early primary/caucus states. However, what someone tells a pollster on the phone is one thing and who they pull the lever for is many, many times another thing. If polling data was so accurate, statisticians would not be necessary, nor would voting booths or caucus meetings on cold winter nights in Iowa.
More importantly is the subtext of many polls that show a consistent result. Trump likes to tout the broad reading of the poll: “I’m the leader and by a yuuuge margin…” He leaves out the parts that consistently shows that among Republicans he is the one candidate respondents say they would never vote for if he were the GOP nominee for President. The visceral reaction against the vision of a President Trump (by GOP voters!) is almost equal to the negative view of a President Jeb Bush. Even a President Paul or President Christie is more palatable.
Trump supporters also often defend his statements and actions with the caveat: “He is only saying what the people are thinking.” Perhaps there is a reason those thoughts are sometimes not spoken (like making fun of the disabled). Regardless, Trump is not speaking for “the people,” although he may be speaking for the lowest common denominator of people- the ones who see simple solutions to complex problems (think: just build a wall, or “I’ll slap a tax on every Mercedes-Benz and Japanese product”).
The problem is Trump believes he can simply apply his business model (dubious at best) to being President. Unfortunately, he cannot drag the government into the local bankruptcy court and he cannot use eminent domain to kick ISIS out of Syria and Iraq or Russia out of the Ukraine or China out of the South China Sea.
Ironically, what I personally witness with the bully/class clown is three things. First, the class clown is usually not really that objectively funny, but juvenile. As for the bully, when they are quietly called an a-hole, they often back down but not without one last burst of bravado. Second, even the bully/class clown has some redeeming quality. When Trump acts like an adult (for example, his tax reform plan) he shows a redeeming quality. Unfortunately for him, there are too few examples and he remains in that juvenile mindset.
The third thing is that for whatever reason (parental upbringing, brain disorder, bad potty training, nursing problems, INSERT reason here), most bullies/class clowns are also narcissistic and need to be the center of attention. We already have a Narcissist-in-Chief. Do we want another one in Donald Trump? Is a Republican narcissist any better than a Democratic narcissist? If so, then there are more lower common denominators than originally believed.