I am not sure how severe Trump’s condition is…he definitely exhibits signs of paranoia, is delusional, and suffers from delusions of grandeur. Is he a sociopath or psychotic?
Have we misdiagnosed Trump? A recent article in the Washington Post argues that Trump is more intelligent than his critics think he is. But Trump is not so much intelligent as he is sociopathic, with no moral compass, and willing to daze his opposition (including journalists and other politicians) with the theater of the absurd. He displays his absurdity like a clown dropping his trousers at a ladies’ tea, overloading everyone’s “WTF?” software and circuits. Then, while you wobble (or giggle, or cover your mouth in shock, or explode in outrage, etc.), he sucker punches. Then he eats you, alive.
This is not so much intelligence as it is the artifice of a very good con man/sociopath who observes no rules or conventions. It has been said, by many, including by me, that he is a pathological narcissist. That may be true, but his narcissism is only what DRIVES him. His real weapon, the tool that gets him what he wants, is his sociopathology. By having no morality circuits that still work, and no real regard for others, he is free to ignore the basic rules that keep the rest of society on an even keel. In fact, he WINS because he FREE-RIDES on those rules, knowing that the rules mean a great deal to the rest of us, who will observe them, as he completely disregards them.
So, he giggles at Elizabeth Warren’s condemnations. He laughs at the criticisms of his disinterest in important details. He snickers when he hears journalists call out his contradictory statements. For none of that matters to a narcissistic sociopath. To the narcissistic sociopath, all the critics — indeed, all of us — are but Lilliputians to his sick Gulliver. To him we are all foolishly saddled and constrained by rules, conventions, consciences, worry over protocols, and concerns about traditions and probity.
For Trump, there is nothing sacred about the office he holds, or the room with which it is associated — the Oval Office, which is, for him, no more than a rather shabby little space in a second-rate government building. This is because “the sacred” is not a category he comprehends. The Oval Office is just another play space to him — a place to plan and plot to attain more power and more wealth for himself, while duping others to believe he cares about policies or people.
This is not about right vs. left, or conservative vs. liberal. Trump cares nothing for these labels. He is the consummate opportunist, and will use whatever labels work.
If you can’t see this by now, you don’t want to.
What do you call a narcissistic sociopath who seeks only power and wealth, and will destroy whatever gets in his way? Well, the Bible and Qur’an make many references to one with these traits. That may be a fairy tale to many, of course, but the personality-type and psychological profile are the same. Hannah Arendt spoke of “the banality of evil.” Beyond the original context of that phrase, it can be construed also as a warning that one should not assume that the devil will reveal himself in a shiny red suit with a tail, and horns.
Soon, perhaps, he will meet his match — someone who has no “WTF?” software engaged, someone who can think like a narcissistic sociopath, too, even if it’s just for the purposes of catching REAL narcissistic sociopaths, to do what needs to be done with them. Then the game changes, “big league.” It will be some show.