Opinion: Let’s take a foray into the mind of Trump … if you dare

(AP)

(AP)

President Trump told an extraordinary tale in a meeting with Republican senators this week, alleging that the 2016 election in New Hampshire had been stolen from him by Democrats who had bused thousands of illegal voters into the state from neighboring Massachusetts.

Let’s get the easy part out of the way first: That did not happen.

More importantly, it could not happen. It is literally and logistically impossible. Thousands of voters would require hundreds of buses and hundreds of buses would require hundreds of bus drivers; there would be a paper trail of those buses and bus drivers, and someone would talk. If there were thousands of voters, each of whom was provided fraudulent New Hampshire voter registration and fraudulent New Hampshire state ID, the ring of conspiracy and illegality would be so vast that it could not possibly have been kept secret. On a scale of plausibility, the story told by Trump has the exact same chance of being true as a claim that the moon is made of green cheese.

So why would he say it?

To me, that’s the interesting part, the part that might be worth exploring.  What is happening inside the mind of an adult person who walks into a room and says such an implausible, ridiculous thing with a straight face, expecting if not demanding to be believed?

What does it tell us about that person’s connection to reality and how that person’s mind and emotions function?

You could of course just call that person a liar and be done with it, but there’s something richer happening here. In the first place, it’s not entirely accurate to call the New Hampshire story a lie. A lie, after all, has to be at least somewhat plausible. A lie is something that could be true but isn’t. A story about thousands of illegal voters being bused across state lines in total secrecy is more aptly described as a fantasy.

As Webster helpfully defines the term:

• fantasy (n):  the power or process of creating

especially unrealistic or improbable mental images

in response to psychological need.

Now we’re getting somewhere. When Trump tells these stories, he’s not telling a lie that he expects to be acted upon. He does so in response to psychological need. It is a coping mechanism for the weak-minded. When he feels threatened, when he feels his lofty yet fragile self-image under attack, he seeks safety in fantasy, inventing whatever story is needed to keep the cruel, harsh world at bay.

Thus, when Trump loses the popular vote by almost 3 million votes, he invents 3 million illegal voters to make him the winner after all.  When he walked into that meeting and saw Kelly Ayotte, the former Republican senator from New Hampshire, it was a trigger reminding him that he lost the Granite State by some 3,000 votes, and clearly he’s still not over it.

Thus, the buses.

We have, as our 45th president, a man who lives in a fantasy world in which the things that he wishes were true somehow do become true. Up to this point, the world has been malleable to him. And as we’ve seen, when that fantasy world is challenged he responds to the challenge angrily, like a child told there is no Easter Bunny. When his fantasy of a record-setting inaugural crowd was challenged, he sent poor Sean Spicer out to rant and rave on his behalf. When his claim of 3 million illegal voters was ridiculed, he promised a huge investigation to prove himself right:

votefraud

Which brings us to another interesting aspect of Trump’s fantasy life. On one level he believes deeply in this world, takes enormous emotional comfort from it. On another level, though, he maintains at least a tenuous connection to reality.  If Trump really believed that New Hampshire story, for example, he would attempt to prove it.  If he honestly believed that 3 million people voted illegally nationwide, he has the full investigative and prosecutorial resources of the U.S. government at his disposal to prove that as well.

Yet he doesn’t try. Despite his tweet above, and despite a promise that he would sign an executive order on Jan. 26 launching his promised vote-fraud investigation, he still has not done so and shows no sign of doing so. Apparently, his mind is compartmentalized enough to both thoroughly believe what he needs to believe emotionally, but somehow also not believe it.

I suspect that distinction may prove difficult to sustain under the stress of a four-year term in the White House, where reality intrudes constantly, incessantly, and where failures loom that are far more consequential than losing New Hampshire’s four electoral votes.  Fantasy excuses just aren’t going to last in that world, not under assault from “so-called judges,” foreign leaders, SNL comedians and Congress. They will strip you bare, down to your essence. We may already be seeing the effects of that strain on Trump, after just three weeks.

“Being president doesn’t change who you are, it reveals who you are,” as Michelle Obama put it. For a man as insecure as Trump, that thought has to be terrifying.

 

 

 

Reader Comments 0

1441 comments
Robert1959
Robert1959

I feel sorry for Stephen Miller the 31 year old white racist bigot. The question should be how many young white kids between the ages of 20 -35 years old think like Stephen Miller?  Where did they grow up (GA,AL, FL etc.)?  Why was Child and Family Services not called to investigate child abuse in the homes of these young racist white children? 

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

@Robert1959 I have a really minor connection to Miller via a friend that knew him at Duke University. Consensus seems to be that he was roundly hated. 

Robert1959
Robert1959

@ScubaSteve There is very little difference between Stephen Miller and Dylon Roof the kkk members who killed 9 Black people in a Bible Study Church meeting.  Young white kids practicing hatred, fear and bigotry just like their grandparents and parents.  How pathetic and deplorable.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

If Trump 's administration does not hire some professional media personnel to run their public communications it does not matter what they propose to do. The amatuer hour on the Sunday shows featuring not ready for anytime Stephen Miller made  for excruciating Television .Just because Miller can supposedly write a speech ,is no qualification for being a media spokesperson. This was an embarrassing display no matter which side of the political fence you are on.

OldJacketFan
OldJacketFan

Ah yes, from the dear leader's mouthpiece on Faux News yeaterday.


“I want to say something very clearly, and this is going to be very disappointing to the people protesting the president and the people in Congress, like [Senate Democratic Leader Charles E.] Schumer, who have attacked the president for his lawful and necessary action: The president’s powers here are beyond question,” Miller said on Fox News.

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

@juvenal @ScubaSteve And then you asked why this matters, and I explained to you why. Do you believe that it matters that pOTUS will be making domestic policy based on wildly inaccurate crime statistics? 

juvenal
juvenal

@ScubaSteve @juvenal did not actually agree with her, there was a boatload of Marines an hour away.........doubt FBI will commit resources to reflect this, but hard to say..oblahma depotred more folk than anybody, but kind of a revolving door, and a waste of time....the Barney and Otis school of law enforcement....

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

@juvenal @ScubaSteve Your other false deflections aside, you shouldn't have to DOUBT whether or not a federal agency will deploy any resources or tactics against false statistics. That's the central problem with DJT. 

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

@juvenal @ScubaSteve  Again, pretty cowardly. That doesn't have anything to do with what we are saying.


What if tomorrow, he decides that children under 14 have committed 100% of the murders in the last 10 years, and called for federal intervention. It is just as false as his other claim -- would that bother you?

juvenal
juvenal

@ScubaSteve just vote Pro Life, Steve, rest is all pretty silly on both sides....

juvenal
juvenal

@ScubaSteve @juvenal and what if Eleanor Roosevelt could have flown? was cowardly enough to cling to my student deferment 

Kamchak
Kamchak

Google Joyce Villa dress 2014 grammy

Kamchak
Kamchak

@honested 

(shrug)

Scientology aside, she is a small player in the entertainment industry merely trying to get noticed.

honested
honested

@Kamchak @honested 

I guess in reality, 'small player trying to get noticed' covers 3/4 of those in the theater!

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

7.9 homicides per 100,000 U.S. residents in 1970 (47 years ago); 4.9 homicides per 100,000 U.S. residents in 2015.

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

Sorry, this is murder rate -- not homicide rate.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@ScubaSteve US Rate was 9.4 murders per 100,000 in 1990 and has trended downward over the last 25 years: 5.9  per 100,000 in 2005 and 4.5 per 100,000 in 2014. The same trend was occurring in Chicago until the spike in murders in 2016. 851 murders in 1990, 602 murders in 2005 ,492 murders in 2015 and the increase to 762 in 2016.

honested
honested

Let's see, it's Monday morning. The 'Muslim Ban' is still blocked, we have a potential traitor in charge of National Security (or maybe he's just worried about another country's national security), one spokesmodel for this regime is busy selling clothes while another needs a trip to the woodshed before he is allowed to speak in public again......


When does this 'greatening' start?

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@honested Quite nuts, ed, especially considering you think Trump is same.

There was not a Muslim ban and it's stupid to state there was to be one.  If the travel ban had been a Muslim ban, it would have included more countries.

It's simply foolish and naive to think Flynn would wait until Trump is sworn in to talk to Russia.  I know Graham is ranting, but he likes attention.  The problem Flynn has is with Pence.

KellyAnn had a slip during her interview, it was not intentional.  She has to get out of campaign mode. The bigger story is LibProg owned companies dropping her goods, and don't believe the they weren't selling line.  They may not have been selling well but that's not the reason they were dropped.

And lastly Stephen Miller did a great job on the Sunday shows.  Oh, oh, lib media does not think so.  Surprise, Surprise.

honested
honested

@JohnnyReb @honested 

It was clearly a 'Muslim Ban' as the 'so-called president' had promised in his campaign and mentioned while it was in court.

flynn should be prosecuted.

"Lies-A-Lot Barbie" should face sanctions for her gross ethics violation, this isn't a County Commission. Retail companies don't tend to stock Chinese crap that collects dust.

miller is an idiot and does not reflect the values of the United States.

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

@JohnnyReb @honested "Donald J. Trump is calling for a total & complete shutdown of Muslims entering the country..." - DJT


Yet it's stupid to state there was to be a Muslim ban. LOL

KUTGF
KUTGF

@JohnnyReb @honested Just amazing.  JReb thinks a man who has not been confirmed and not sworn in should be talking to someone the US is sanctioning and telling the "hey ignore what the US is doing, we'll take care of it all and change it when we get into office".

Its called treason in many quarters. 

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

@JohnnyReb @ScubaSteve @honested But you can't then in the same breath want us to believe that he's dedicated to achieving his campaign promises.


The court agrees that his campaign rhetoric matters.


And it isn't just campaign rhetoric. Trump gave an interview as pOTUS on Jan. 27 claiming that Christians will be given priority when seeking refugee status. Those things lend credibility to the idea of a Muslim ban.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@honested @JohnnyReb Well it is rather obvious if  religion is the only arbiter for refugees in the 7 countries on Trump's list that "muslim ban" is correct being the countries in Question are muslim majority nations;


Iran 99.4% Muslim  0.2% christian

Iraq 95% muslim 4.3% Christian

Libya 97% Muslim < 0.1% Christian

Somalia 99% Muslim <0.01 %christian

Sudan 97% Muslim <0.1 % Christian

Syria 87% muslim   10% Christian

Yemen 99% Muslim <0.01 % Christian

_GodlessHeathen_
_GodlessHeathen_

"At the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, American singer Lady Gaga wore a dress made of raw beef, which was commonly referred to by the media as the meat dress." Wikipedia

Kook?

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

juvenal

So I'm trying to get a read on where you're coming from.

So, you're an adherent to this so-called "conservative" ideology, right? 

juvenal
juvenal

@Donnie_Pinko i am as i have said before an anarchist-it is sad folks need gubmints to keep from hurting each other, and themselves....

KUTGF
KUTGF

@juvenal @Donnie_Pinko Wow.  If that is all you think "gubmint" does...you really are either asinine or ignorant....or both. 

honested
honested

@KUTGF @juvenal @Donnie_Pinko 

I'll take 'both' for 2000. Alex.....

It comes with the use of the word 'gubmint'.......along with a misguided notion that one's 'moral compass' is all one needs.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@juvenal @Donnie_Pinko 

You're an anarchist?
So you're sympathetic with the groups demonstrating in places like Oakland against police brutality, etc.?

honested
honested

@Kamchak 

The evidence is starting to clearly spell out a word......KOOK!