The avatar of chaos, while we wait to exhale
We should not be surprised. Donald didn’t keep it a secret. He repeatedly telegraphed his intentions when asked if he would the support a peaceful transition of power should he lose the election. His answer was always equivocal: “We’re going to have to see what happens.”
And in this moment we are indeed seeing what happens as this president tries to reverse the will of the people and overturn the 2020 election. His approach is burn our democracy down, leave only chimneys, while content with Rudy Giuliani as the tip of the conspiratorial, voter-fraud spear.
And there stood Rudy, holding a surreal, sweat-inducing press conference that actually referenced Hugo Chavez, communist seed money, Venezuela, Cuba, and China in the same sentence as rivulets of dark hair dye or something ran down his cheeks.
This is where we are in the moment. The word “unprecedented” ricochets and echoes as Trump repeatedly declares victory and then drops down another rabbit hole. Good grief. Who behaves this way? Of course, I’ve often asked that question since the gilded escalator.
And there is, of course, the why of it all. To answer that elusive question I came across the work of Dr. Bandy Lee, psychiatrist, a research fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health, and the editor of “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 37 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.”
Dr. Lee was recently interviewed by Igor Derysh for Salon, regarding what she expects from Trump during this interregnum, such as it is. Find below her analysis wherein she warns that we should not underestimate Trump’s ability to exert his will on his political opponents.
“Delusions are cherished beliefs that allow one to create for oneself a desired reality, where one is the ‘winner,’ while dispelling intolerable truths such as one could be a ‘loser.’
“We should not underestimate his psychological ability to gauge what he needs to do or say to manipulate his followers and intimidate, exhaust or defeat his opponents. He has done this all his life for sheer psychic survival: it’s a matter of life or death for him. To a person with pathological narcissism, illegitimate power is a psychological lifeline for which one would do anything – destroy oneself and the world. This may not make sense from a rational point of view, but entirely expected of a mind overtaken with need.
“He has few internal constraints Breaking laws and norms therefore will be nothing for him, especially when his emotional life depends on it, since the loss of the presidency will mean the loss of a steady stream of adoration, in addition to the likelihood of prosecution and going broke.
“We see how he easily enters into rage attacks, especially when he feels the world has not supplied him with the adulation and approval he feels entitled to But when there is an all-encompassing loss such as this (the presidency), which takes away everything he has been depending on for the last four years, it can trigger a vengeful rampage of destruction against a whole nation that has failed him.”
Dr. Lee’s assessment of this man seems right. Insightful. Donald is a man lost in the desert when not at a rally, a man unwilling or incapable of responding with urgency or empathy to the pandemic that rages across the nation, his seeming indifference stunning to behold. He is consumed by anger, and has clearly “checked out,” retreating to his golf course or the West Wing.
We know now this is a man who is incapable of going gently into that good night. Meanwhile, regarding 2020, we anticipated that the Russians were coming. Again. It turned out to be the Republicans, and if they’re not actually running this Electoral College heist, well, mum’s the word, cowards all.
Chris Honoré is an Ashland Tidings columnist.