Littwin: Is Donald Trump crazy or is he just Donald Trump?
August 24, 2017
I'm not a psychiatrist, but I doubt that Donald Trump is actually crazy — or any more crazy than, say, your crazy uncle who needs his hourly cable-TV-news fix. Sure, he's unfit for the office. He's an incompetent who surrounds himself with incompetence. He's a race-baiting, dog-whistling, fear-mongering demagogue. He's a megalomaniac and a narcissist who seems to have a major empathy problem. As Trump would say, he's a sick person. But crazy?
OK, he does have a truth phobia. He began his Phoenix speech lying about the size of the protests outside the hall. That was an easily checkable lie. Everyone who watched the rally on TV had also seen the crowd of protesters. The people at the rally had walked by the protesters. In other words, everyone knew it wasn't true. Everyone. Does that mean he's crazy? Or has Trump spent a lifetime lying so baldly that the lie itself becomes its own kind of truth — seen by his supporters as basically a dare to deny the Trumpian reality that they and Fox News and much of right-wing radio share?
I'm not in the three-dimensional-chess crowd of Trump rationalizers. I don't think he's a threat in a game of checkers. But this version of Trump is no more unhinged than any of the versions of the man who we came to know as the self-aggrandizing, tabloid-hungry, reality-TV-famous, short-fingered vulgarian. The difference is that once there was Trump, and now there is Trump in the Oval Office.
The crazy, the real crazy, is that enough people in the most powerful nation on earth felt sufficiently moved by his sense of group victimization to elect him president. And if his numbers among Republicans are slipping, the great majority, somewhere around 80 percent, still support him, which is why Republican politicians still support him. Maybe you can explain why people voted for him. But how do you explain why so many stick with him?
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