Trump is America’s Id

Image of Trump and Pence.

Image by History in HD.

Exactly one hundred years ago the Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud taught the world about the complexities of the human mind and personality, including his formulation of the Id, Ego and Superego. In Freud’s view the Id represented the “It will be wild,” untamed, instinctual and unfiltered portion of the human mind. The Superego acted as a moral guardrail or check on the feral Id. Donald Trump is Exhibit A of Freud’s notion of the Id whilst the contemporary Superego – or “adults in the room” GOP – have become invertebrate eunuchs.

According to records, by the time Trump was nine years old he was already a millionaire. Infamously known for a lifetime of Houdini-like dodging of legal bullets and the truth, not paying bills, exploiting workers, and using loyalty as a narcissistic one-way street, Trump continues to ask “Where’s my Roy Cohn?”

Master manipulator mafia attorney Cohn taught Trump to never apologize, distract, stall, attack, and project inadequacies and foibles on to your adversaries. Pupil Trump learned surprisingly well from his cutthroat amoral teacher. Trump, ever the faithful student of bloodthirsty Cohn while selfishly not wanting to soil his own brand, refused to even see his former mentor during his last dying days from AIDS while being disbarred in 1986. Trump’s so-called “superpower” is his utter shamelessness toward his fellow Homo sapiens.

From his false and racist accusation of the later-acquitted “Central Park Five” and call for their deaths in 1989, to his racist Birtherism campaign against America’s first non-white president, to his calling Mexicans “rapists” and imposing a Muslim ban, to his “fine people on both sides” characterization of the 2017 Charlottesville Nazi riot, and “Grab ’em by the pussy” boast, Trump has shown us – as author Maya Angelou wisely advised – who he is. And we should absolutely believe him.

Trump’s mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic led to an estimated excess of 430,000 American deaths among the 1.1 million total U.S. mortalities, according to Dr. Deborah Birx, Trump’s stylish White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator. That is more American deaths than were lost in World War II. In normal times Trump would be held on negligent homicide charges for such dereliction of duty. But as we know these are the surreal, abnormal times of the Trump epoch.

The biggest eye-opener for me in the Age of Trump is that 74 million American compatriots – more than the population of France – voted for him in 2020, after undergoing four painful years of Trump’s “American carnage” and dangerously retrograde approach to governing. Who are these 74 million people?

Following decades of de-industrialization and job out-sourcing from NAFTA, automation, attacks on labor unions, stagnant wages, expanding economic inequality, and feeling alienated and left out in flyover country by the snooty coastal elites, tens of millions of Americans have understandably seen their lives either stagnate or devolve. French sociologist Emile Durkheim called this sense of extreme alienation and loneliness anomie. In his 1897 book “Suicide” Durkheim labeled those who experienced moral confusion and dramatic economic and social upheaval as anomic.

Adding to the growing resentment, victimization and anger felt by these marginalized people, it is said that about 60% of Trump supporters do not hold a college degree. When Trump famously quipped at a rally in 2016 “I love the uneducated,” he knew of what he spoke. Unlike James Carville’s famous 1992 campaign slogan

“It’s the economy, stupid,” in the Trump Id era the new catch-phrase is “It’s the emotions, stupid.”

Hate radio pioneer Bob Grant got things going in the 1970s with his WABC program where he routinely called Blacks “savages” and hosted KKK leader David Duke on his show several times. Then came the erasure of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 and the national syndication of highly talented-but-bigoted “El Rushbo,” aka Rush Hudson Limbaugh III. El Rushbo made racial intolerance, sexism [“feminazis”], homophobia and liberalism a laughing matter and dangerously mainstream for three hours daily on 1,500 radio stations across the fruited plain from the late 1980s until his demise in 2021.

With music stations switching to the more audibly-luxuriant FM band, AM radio became the vehicle for the decades-long poisoning and daily mainline infusion of misinformation, hatred, “otherizing,” and deception into the American heartland and bloodstream, a capillary at a time. 90% of talk radio is conservative or far-right and cannot be overestimated for its powerful influence in helping to foster and manicure the modern American zeitgeist. Jen Senko’s 2016 book “The Brainwashing of My Dad” tells of the conversion of her father from a Democrat to an angry right-wing Rush Limbaugh fan and rabid Fox-watcher.

When Rupert Murdoch tapped the talented Roger Ailes to head the newly created Fox News Channel in 1996, American politics took a sharp right turn. Ingenuously branding his de facto GOP propaganda cable news station “Fair and balanced,” along with the network’s other mantra “We report, you decide,” it would be more genuine to label Fox as “We decide, you obey.”

The $787 million dollars recently paid to Dominion for on-air lying about the 2020 election is only the beginning of a cascade of pending multi-billion-dollar lawsuits against Fox for lying and spreading disinformation. Sadly, Fox has remained the number one cable news network for decades, and is now accompanied by far-right wannabe networks Newsmax and One America Network [OAN].

Trump did not invent hate groups, antisemitism, homophobia, and white nationalism: He merely peeled back the Band-Aid superficially covering over America’s historic and deep obsession with race and intolerance in our so-called “nation of immigrants.” Known as the “accelerant” for unleashing the furies of bigotry and a dystopic Weltanschauung, the 15-season “Apprentice” star came from central casting to play the role of our incendiary authoritarian leader.

I still scratch my head in wonderment how this untrustworthy, superficial and ridiculous semi-literate carnival barker with the peculiar pate held the nuclear codes, and the world, hostage for a breathtaking four years. Our saving grace is the obvious fact that revanchist Trump is not that bright with a limited imagination, and thus the damage to the Constitution and America he so enthusiastically pursued – along with his GOP and

Russian enablers – was thankfully limited by his rather negligible intellect and inability to attract the “best people.”

In his frighteningly prescient 1935 novel “It Can’t Happen Here” about fascism coming to America, Nobel laureate Sinclair Lewis could not have found a more suitable contemporary actor to play fictional president and demagogue Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip than Trump. The parallels are chilling between the invented presidential character and reality TV star The Donald. Trump’s MAGA movement has now metastasized into America’s Id.

Let’s hope we’ll be seeing Trump and the cult of Trumpism in our collective rearview mirrors on January 20th, 2025, and that his orange jumpsuit will at least color coordinate with the orange #BHC06 Bronx Colors brand of his beloved and uncanny make-up.

Maybe in prison Trump will have the time to learn what an Id is . . .