Donald Trump’s Role Models
We’ve Seen This Movie Before
Long before the reality TV craze brought the willful celebration of ignorance into our homes, and before simple name recognition became the gateway that allowed a wealthy, self-aggrandizing, pathological liar and vulgarian named Donald Trump to hijack the 2016 presidential primary and destroy the Republican Party, there was Alabama Governor, George C. Wallace. The proud segregationist and unrepentant racist who famously stood on the steps of the University of Alabama to block the enrollment of two black students. Bitterly opposed to the Civil Rights Movement, Wallace vowed to prevent integration and race-mixing of any kind, and his infamous “…segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever!” was his rallying cry to his base. He bombastically declared himself a presidential candidate in four presidential elections (1964, 1968, 1972, and 1976) running hate-filled campaigns while capitalizing on racist and anti-Washington attitudes and stoking fear and anger. Sound familiar?
Donald Trump has obviously decided to borrow this page from Wallace’s hate-filled playbook, and he is off to a running start with his ceaseless targeting of the four Congressional Representatives, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; Ilhan Omar; Ayanna Pressley; and Rashida Tlaib. All women of color.
Trump launched his campaign for the presidency on a whopping lie and his followers swallowed it. Hook, line, and sinker. And he’s clearly planning to use that same tactic again for 2020. Completely oblivious to the fact that he has put these women’s lives in danger.
George Wallace openly ran his third-party campaign on an explicitly segregationist platform. His white racist Southerners supported him overwhelmingly and won him five Deep South states in the Electoral College vote. Trump’s followers are waiting and willing to do likewise for him as he continues to defile the office of the presidency and inject racism in the fabric of our democracy.
But stoking fear and anger sometimes comes with a price. Whether for the bully-perpetrator or his target. In George Wallace’s case, creating an atmosphere of hatred and white supremacy backfired tragically. While campaigning in Laurel Maryland on May 15, 1972, Wallace was shot four times by a would-be assassin named Arthur Bremer and left paralyzed below the waist for the rest of his life.
This is a dangerous game Trump is playing. His behavior is exactly that of a petulant adolescent boy who can’t have his way, so he decides to flip the game table over or take his toys and leave. Or worse.
The 1950s novel and movie, The Bad Seed comes to mind. The story revolves around an adolescent girl who appears to be normal and well behaved in the presence of adults, but children her own age are wary and suspicious of her. And sure enough, she resorts to murder when she can’t have her way.
Trump is a poster boy for malignant narcissism run amok. But it would take years of psychoanalysis or a treasure trove of Nanny-Cam footage (if only the device had been invented during his formative years) to reveal the source and the absolute profundity of his psychosis.
As Peter Baker of the New York Times wrote recently:
“…President Trump woke up on Sunday morning, gazed out at the nation he leads, saw the dry kindling of race relations and decided to throw a match on it. It was not the first time, nor is it likely to be the last. He has a pretty large carton of matches and a ready supply of kerosene.”
Clearly, Trump is threatened by the fact that a great majority of the people of America are certain that his presidency is illegitimate, and that he is beholden to the Russians and a host of other lawless maneuverers for putting him in office. He is capable of doing anything to hide this, and therefore he is dangerous.
God help this nation. We are tethered to a mad man, and we are in mortal danger.