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Trump’s Collapsing World

As Trump’s world collapses around him—abandoned by CEOs, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, several key Republicans in Congress, and some in the conservative news media—it’s time to see him for what he is: a minor business executive who has no business being president of the United States. That judgment has less to do with his decision-making capacity or his lack of governing or overseas experience than with his temperament.  He has a reckless disregard for the truth, an inability to empathize, and a demoralizing desire to humiliate anyone, friend or critic, who challenges him.  Winning comes first for Trump; the subject matters little compared with showing that he’s in charge and that his view is the only one that counts.

In years to come, Donald Trump will doubtless be the subject of numerous psychological analyses.  The experts will try—some have been trying since Day One—to figure out how and why he behaves so differently from any normal leader.  But sociology may be just as useful as psychology in Trump’s case: we need look no farther than his business dealings and his background to see that what we witness today is perfectly consistent with Trump’s past.  Donald Trump quite simply is doing what comes naturally—being the authoritarian figure who gives orders, expects them to be followed, consults no one, demands absolute loyalty—and in the end increases the wealth of Trump Inc. He surely must be asking himself every day why this model isn’t working just as well in government as in business.  “What’s wrong with all these people?” His sense of entitlement is truly extraordinary.

The problem for the rest of us is to figure out how to prevent such a person from committing further destruction. A cornered animal is especially dangerous, as we all know, and Trump is entirely capable of getting the country into a shooting war with North Korea, China, or Iran. But his resignation or impeachment is a very long shot.  So is the possibility that his administration will collapse from within due to sudden mass resignations. The Congressional Republican leadership—the one group that holds the key to getting rid of Trump—will continue gnashing its teeth and taking no action.

We the people can and should continue protesting in the streets and by email.  But most of all, I think we need to support candidates at every level of politics who will “repeal and replace” this awful proto-fascist with progressives who, unlike Trump, still believe in democracy and social justice.

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Mel Gurtov is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Portland State University, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Perspective, an international affairs quarterly and blogs at In the Human Interest.

Weekend Edition
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