There was a time in my life (circa 2004, Season One The Apprentice) when I looked up to Trump, viewing him as a no bullshit businessman.
But now, having read article after article about him, having read his tweets, and listened to his soundbites, he is not the man I once idealized him as. He is far from the business professional I wish to emulate.
During a walk in Chicago last week, I found this scene poignant. Here in the morning mist is an American flag with Trump Tower in the background. It begs the question, united, as a nation, what do we stand for? What role do we play in helping the human race thrive? How do we ensure that everyone is treated equally and how do we help increase the quality of life for us now and generations to come?
Yes, perhaps the aforementioned is kum ba yah rhetoric, as there are more pressing issues on The Hill. But I choose the candidate who gets the bigger picture (globally) of what a true leader is. A true leader does not create followers, a true leader empowers others and creates more leaders.
Trump is not a leader, Trump can be found somewhere between pages 1 and 991 in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).
I mentioned to my friend Patrick that Trump reminds me of a blog post I wrote about Kevin Spacey’s character Frank Underwood of House of Cards. For all 12 of you who read my blog, you’ll recall that I asserted Frank Underwood possesses what’s called the Dark Triad.
The ‘Dark Triad’ is a group of three personality traits, each of which may be considered not only anti-social but socially dangerous, as the person affected not only ignores the feelings of others but will use and abuse people for their own ends.
The three characteristics of the dark triad are:
- Psychopathy: Seeks control.
- Narcissism: Seeks praise.
- Machiavellianism: The end justifies the means.
The common thread within the dark triad is a combination of callousness and manipulation that ignores social values. Callousness is a blatant disregard for the feelings and safety of others. Manipulation is an active use of persuasion that seems to be intended to help others, but in practice is not. Together, they lead to self-focused actions that harm others, including active and deliberate harm, for example where a workplace perpetrator gets a colleague sacked in order to take their place.
The dark triad is related to aversive ways of behaving such as bullying and general aggression as well as overt bias against stereotyped others, including those of different ethnicity, gender, ability, age and so on (Source: Changingminds.org).
Do these characteristics apply to the GOP front-runner? The answer is yes.
So why do people flock to Trump? Well, why do we love watching Frank Underwood? Why did we love Michael Douglas’s depiction of Gordon Gekko or Leo’s of Jordan Belfort? Let’s go back as far as 1988 author, Thomas Harris’ character, Hannibal Lecter. Beyond those who like Trump because he’s anti-establishment and ‘tells it as it is’, the magnetism of Trump lies within his compelling nature. Chuck Klosterman’s theory as to why we are drawn to villains can be explained through Star Wars.
… when you mature into adulthood and you understand the world isn’t black and white…we’re no longer compelled to model ourselves after the [good] characters we grew up with or read about now. Rather, we’re much more interested in figuring out what makes them tick, and with villains, how they became the way they are.
Which is why [Klosterman] thinks that most adults find Darth Vader more compelling and even meaningful than Luke or Han.
According to human behavior analysts, it’s in our biology to be attracted to villains. The article, Why Do Supervillains Fascinate Us? A Psychological Perspective 0n Wired.com, expands upon this reasoning, stating what drives our interest, and what specific rewards, needs, wishes and dark dreams super villains satisfy. Simply summed up, Carl Jung claimed that confronting our shadow side can unearth new strength and a motivating factor (to follow someone like Trump) is power, payback, and challenging the status-quo.
So now we watch Trump’s train wreck of a journey, somewhat gleefully, mostly revoltingly, as he confronts his shadow side whilst his followers feed his dark triad and create a him into real life supervillain.
But as Wired.com writer, Travis Langley so eloquently states (some paraphrasing),
Remember, though, that superheroic fiction ultimately begins and ends with the heroes. Comic book writers and artists create supervillains, who move in and out as guest stars and supporting cast, first and foremost to reveal how heroic the comics’ HEROES can be.