ARTICLES - communication

previous article
Psychologically speaking, why is Donald Trump ahead of the pack? - 2/1/2016
 

You’ve listened to all the pundits and the press. They all agree. “He’s a flash in the pan. He’s an out-of-control buffoon who says whatever comes to his mind, without regard to whom he hurts or offends. He’s a great showman, but when it comes down to running the country or being president, he’d be an embarrassment.”

There is no substance to his campaign. He has contributed nothing of a viable nature and says outlandish things such as “I’ll build a wall, and Mexico will pay for it; I can negotiate with the Chinese; I’ll keep Muslims out of the country, and all the illegal Mexicans entering the country are criminals and rapists.” Yet, he seems to get away with it.

The curious paradox is that the “buffoon” has stuck around far longer than most people anticipated, and now a lot of individuals are frightened to death that he just might pull it off. That, by some stroke of luck or series of strange coincidences, he’ll wind up in the White House. For them, it’s terrifying because he’s unpredictable, can’t be controlled and there’s no telling what he’ll actually say or try to do. That frightens hard-line old-time politicians who don’t thrive on change or growth. They’ve been in control a long time. They’ve had their way and had their say. They’ve lost touch with their constituents, and their only concerns seems directed to being re-elected. As a result, Trump is an anomaly, whom they and I suspect many leaders of foreign powers fear. They have no record to indicate how he’ll perform, and that unnerves them.

To make matters worse, he isn’t someone people can control or buy, because he puts his own money where his mouth is. He’s the only candidate who hasn’t emailed urging you to donate $5 by midnight or to contribute an amount which will be doubled by an unknown source. Nor has he sent a letter saying, “Dear Constituent, We know you are a friend of the party, and we haven’t heard from you yet. We desperately need your support.”

It’s strange that this “out-of-control windbag,” who is described as having no agenda and no credentials as a politician,” is the only one who is saying, “I’m running for president because I love my country. I think my country needs me, and I believe I can do a great job.” There are many persons, both Republicans and Democrats, alike, who can’t help but be a little impressed by that.

At this point, they don’t care if the next president is a male or female, Independent, Democrat, Republican or Socialist. They’ve had it with politicians who make big promises that insult your intelligence before the election, and then do nothing after they’re in office. They question how candidates can expect them to believe they’re going to put more police officers on the street, fix all the potholes, build bridges, pave the highways and decrease taxes at the same time. They’re begging politicians to stop making promises that resemble “pie in the sky” or to offer up facts that are later found to be suspect and lacking in veracity.

They’re frustrated and scared. They wonder why they can buy a pretty good screwdriver for $8.95 in a local hardware store, while the government pays close to $100 for it. They’re questioning why millions of dollars in cash were sent to foreign countries, which later disappeared without our government having any idea who took it.

They don’t understand why someone sits in jail for smoking marijuana, while bankers who stole or conned the public out of millions of dollars are free to continue doing it. I would go on at length, but the answer to each of these questions is that either their leaders are incompetent, stupid or both.

I don’t know who these individuals are going to vote for, but they must be thinking that they don’t need another politician running things, because they had their chance and they ran things into the ground. Maybe there is a need for a man or woman who is, above all else, a genuine human being, who possesses a healthy mixture of intelligence, common sense and humanity; a person who is open and transparent, who won’t play politics, but will practice it.

So, I ask you, psychologically speaking, “Why is Donald Trump so far ahead of the pack?” Let me set the stage for that answer. I recently listened to a college commencement address presented by Jim Carey, which gave me a far more positive appreciation of this funny man. Most of his thoughts were right on target, but one statement he made particularly stayed with me. He said that, in most instances, “The inherent need for acceptance in all of us causes us to live our lives invisibly.”

He’s absolutely right. This need contributes to our willingness to give up who and what we are, what we think, what we feel and what we want, because we so desperately need to fit in, to feel loved and to be protected. As a result, we behave politically correct and acquiesce. We silence our thoughts and are hesitant to voice our own opinions, lest we be rejected, unloved or abandoned.

Unlike us, however, Donald Trump says what many of us secretly feel, but are reluctant to express, because it’s politically incorrect or might result in our being criticized. In contrast, we do everything we know to ensure that people will love us and later feel resentful toward them because we don’t have the backbone to be who we are when we are with them.

In essence, we walk through the world angry at others who don’t reward us for sacrificing our identity; who, in our eyes, control us and have little regard for us. It is a sad state of affairs, and what is saddest is that it is true.

In the end, we feel weak. We don’t like who we are and doubt that we are worthy of the love that we want and need. Consequently, we are desperately searching for someone to love us and to be there for us. Someone we can trust and see as imperfect, politically incorrect and human as ourselves, strong enough in his or her own right, to support us. We want a leader about whom we can figuratively say, “My daddy can beat up your daddy and will come to my rescue in my times of need.”

That man, as Kathleen Parker, writer for the Washington Post, said, “is Donald Trump, the rich and powerful wizard of Fifth Avenue, who promises to return America to greatness” and be our brave father of old, as opposed to the Dagwood Bumstead/Phil Dunphy (from “Modern Family”) role model that all too many father figures today have become.

SIGN UP
To receive new articles by email twice a month, sign up by entering your email address below