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Wed Dec 5, 2018, 05:57 PM

When the Music's Over [View all]

Let's take a look at some of the personality aspects from Robert Hare's checklist for diagnosing psychopathy. As we look through them, it is possible that you will have a good idea who this essay will focus on. This is not the complete list, but it is pretty close to it.

Glib and superficial charm
need for stimulation
pathological lying
lack of remorse
shallow affect
lack of empathy
parasitic lifestyle
poor behavioral controls
sexual promiscuity
failure to take responsibility for own actions

A couple quick points, before we go on. Dr. Hare focuses on psychopathy, meaning an organic personality type. “Sociopath” is basically the same, but considers childhood environmental factors. These are distinct from the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders' “Anti-Social Personality Disorder,” which includes them under ASPD for insurance purposes.

Second, as explained in detail in Dr. Bandy Lee's “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,” which contains essays by 27 of the top mental health professionals in the United States, psychopathy/ sociopathy is a disorder that can be identified without actually interviewing the subject. Indeed, because of the pathological lying, self-reporting does not tend to be accurate.

One needs only to look at the very public documentation to identify the essence of Trump's being. His “charm” that attracts 25% of voters to the cult of his personality is too shallow to qualify as “superficial.” Grandiosity is always on display. The need for stimulation is found in his obsessive tweeting. And on and on.

This brings us to a question that I was discussing with some friends on this forum a couple of days ago: how can we expect Trump to react to the pressures that Mr. Mueller's investigation are increasingly placing upon Trump? Some, though not all, of the above list come into play. We cannot expect, for example, to see any signs of remorse, or indications that Donald will take any responsibility for his own actions. We can, on the other hand, anticipate a combination of his poor behavioral controls and his impulsive actions. The synergy of these is, of course, something that the investigators welcome.

Now let's look at two of the related pressures that Trump is feeling. By no coincidence, they are of the two branches of the Trump-Russian scandal. First, Michael Cohen exposed the surface of Trump's business dealings with the Russian government. Next, the General Flynn filings indicate an on-going investigation of what, in this case, is commonly referred to as “collusion.”

That pressure is made greater by what Trump is unsure of. Neither he or his legal team know what all Flynn told investigators. Nor do they know if Flynn's son was interviewed by those investigators. Consider the amount of time the son spent on the campaign trail in 2016, hanging out with Ivanka, Jared, and Don Jr. These are the questions that will occupy Trump's mind, as he considers if he needs to attack Flynn on twitter.

What we can be certain of is that factors including Trump's need for stimulation, pathological lying, impulsiveness, and poor behavioral controls will result in attempts to manipulate events. This will likely go beyond the lies and tweets that we have seen daily. He may ignore his legal team's advice, as he did when hinting that Roger Stone will be rewarded if he refuses to tell the truth about the collusion.

While Trump has been told that granting any pardons before the 2020 election would greatly reduce the possibility of his being re-elected, he may conclude that not granting them could also decrease the chances of his being a candidate. In his mind, he is convinced that he is the smartest person in the “room,” and can manipulate any crisis he creates. And that is actually a good thing.

The more Trump acts out, the deeper a hole he digs for himself. Both investigators and prosecutors always prepare for this type of thing. In fact, they often count on it. More, with the Democrats in charge of the House of Representatives, and a growing number of Senate republicans expressing off-the-record dismay with Trump's instability, 2019 will bring an abrupt end to Trump's presidency.

H2O Man

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H2O Man Dec 2018 OP
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coeur_de_lion Dec 2018 #2
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