The Psychopathology of Hating Trump

Let’s be realists for a moment.People voted against Donald Trump did so because of and only because of personality.

They’ll claim they voted against what Trump did (not really a viable defense in 2016 because he hadn’t been in office yet). They know this. They know their vote was only about their hatred of Trump’s personality, and not really even his but more an applied generalized hatred of any rich person who is perceived as arrogant.

Isn’t it ironic that Americans who love to tell kids “Anyone can become president” sure hate it when anyone becomes president.

Nor is it about the money. For most folk, Biden is as rich as Trump. To a kid with a penny, $1,000 is no different than $10,000. Nor is it about ethics or honesty. For most folk, Biden is as duplicitious as they claim Trump to be. Look up Biden’s “Well, son of a b-tch. (laughter) He got fired.” video of the event put on by Foreign Affairs magazine in 2018 if you need confirmation. I mean, c’mon man.

See, it’s not about Trump at all. It’s about personality. People vote on personality, even as they pretend their vote is about issues, or as they belch, “I voted for the best of the worst.” That crock of doublespeak stew is stale.

The masses love sucking up slop that slams the rich as an unappetizing set ironically produced by a rich set only too happy to keep providing it.

The rich are portrayed as arrogant bastards, amoral at heart, and willing to use everyone to fulfill their greedy aims. Colombo criminals were normally the ones with the money. The rich on Caddyshack were idiots who deserved to be ridiculed. Show after show, book after book, article after article. Wiki for example describes J.R. Ewing from Dallas as a “covetous, egocentric, manipulative and amoral oil baron with psychopathic tendencies.” That many rich are sociopathic in real life may be true, as a number of studies have shown, but that’s not my point there. The point is the perception of the rich is ingrained in a public that has been suckled on the idea of rich being synonymous with arrogance and consequently deserving of hatred.

This view means that some get rich politicians and most of the rich media jump through hoops to prove they’re not one of those arrogant rich bastards. It was sort of laughable when Bernie Sanders, admittedly on the low end of the millionaire’s club, came out and shifted his rhetoric from millionaires but billionaires. And it was laughable to see the millionaire class of major television “news” talking heads making the same differentiation. Their goal: to prove that the arrogant rich are not us, in whatever sliding definition us was momentarily deemed to be fitting so these millionaires could be seen to be simply common folk who, almost by accident, happened to find themselves sitting in front of a sabayon of pearl tapioca married to Island Creek oysters and Sterling white sturgeon caviar at Per Se.

Then we saw that the “good-ole regular people” who were against the arrogant rich politician with the T-word name perform wire acts of high hypocrisy. They were more than happy to turn a blind eye to law breaking so long as it went against their hated rich bastard. Anything is allowable in the destruction of the hated personality.

Now that Trump is out of office, where does the anger of the left go?

We see the result. For them it’s Orange Man still and forever bad.

But the root of the anger continues. People in the United States are dissatisfied. Freedoms are eroded daily, jobs aren’t forthcoming, censorship is rampant, health care is still not socialized, there is no universal income, wages are down, house prices are up, college isn’t free, the super rich get exponentially richer.

General people generally are angry about what is rightly the same system and structure that has existed under every party for the last 70 years. They don’t see this clearly but they know how to feel it in the moment. The politicians meanwhile keep saying they can’t figure out any solution, even as everyone knows Europe has solved many of these issues.

They need an outlet, a person, a symbolic antagonist upon whom all of this anger can be transferred.

Slavoj Žižek often uses the example of a jealous man who constantly worries that his wife is having an affair. Whether her having an affair is true or not true is irrelevant. Even if the man finds out his wife is not having an affair he remains jealous and suspicious. This is because his jealousy is pathological.

In the same manner, the hatred of Trump was/is (ongoing) equally pathological. Whether he did anything or nothing at all is irrelevant. We see evidence the pathology as the hatred for and actions against Trump and Trump supporters continues even though he’s no longer in office and the left obtained the President they wanted.

Without Trump or his supporters, the left loses a large part of its identity. It’s an identity, constructed more than five years ago when H. Clinton started her bout of Trump bashing.

Psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan’s main points is that desire can only be satisfied by another desire. This is the other side of the antagonist coin. For example, I want to be a good person. It’s not enough that I simply say I’m a good person, I need to have others in the world recognize that I am a good person. Likewise, people desire that their “on the right side of politics” reflected back to them by others. An object of antagonism enables the recursivity of desire.

Voting on personality allowed a candidate, with a history of nearly zero support in previous election bids, who was a recluse in his bunker for most of the campaign, and who when he did hold rallies saw an attendance in the range of 30 people, run what Conrad Black recently described as “perhaps the least creditable Democratic presidential campaign since General George B. McClellan.” (The Sun, January 23, 2010. A Traditional Free Shave for Biden).

This is further proof that voting is about personality as much as it’s about absolute party alignment. It had nothing to do with platforms or ideas. Funny isn’t it, that the hoi poloi, as much as they dream the American dream to become rich, sure do hate the rich and all their arrogance, hubris, grandiosity, luciferism, duplicity and egoism that is, until they win Powerball.

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Christopher Willard

Christopher Willard

Novelist, poet, a post-studio visual artist, and the founder of The Invisible Art Collective International. Recent novels include “Sundre” and “Garbage Head.”