Donald Trump and the Daddy Problem
When people feel threatened about security and the uncertainty in the world they want the reassurance of a daddy, a strong, male leader who can stand up to bullies abroad and protect us from internal threats as well. When white men feel a loss of power and control they feel a sense of vertigo that exaggerates these threats. As the fortunes of other groups rise, white men feel as if they’re losing power, when in fact they are not being tumbled. They are still where they always were, at the top. They are just not automatically calling all the shots or controlling the rhetoric of every conversation.
Nevertheless, these perceived threats are leading Trump’s supporters to turn to his strongman style of leadership no matter how many fraud charges the media uncovers every week. In fact, the continuing saga of Trump’s constant abuse of his own power may just reinforce his image as a strong, bullying male, an image that provides some voters comfort and security.
The problem with the strong, autocratic daddy is that he eventually turns on his own children. We may think he fights for us, but ultimately the strong daddy views his own children as threats and turns on them, too. Myth and literature all full of examples of this, as is nature, in which sons must eventually depose the old buck.
Chronos ate is children. Dostoevsky seriously asks, “Who does not desire the death of his father?” in The Brothers Karamazov, a novel that explores the costs of a bullying father. The Great Santini covers this same ground, as do countless other novels, films and television shows. The autocratic father refuses to listen to anyone else’s counsel and the family is ultimately destroyed by his stubbornness, particularly the son who bears these psychological scars forever.
Small contractors are coming forward to testify about Trump’s defrauding of their companies. Students are Trump University are coming forward to testify about being defrauded of their money and an education. Bankrupt businesses in Atlantic City are testaments to Trump’s callousness to those his selfishness leaves behind. It’s this “me first” ideology that appeals to Trump’s supporters.
However, why would you think that Trump would stop at defrauding you? His modus operandi has always been to use those he thinks weaker than he is, the mark of an autocratic bully. Why would you be exempt?
Strongmen fathers end devouring their own children. However, this time we wouldn’t be talking about mythology or literature. We’d be talking about our country that would be plundered and hamstrung by the will of a man who would not be ashamed to admit he uses those weaker than he. Who would be the weak under a Trump presidency? Not just those minority groups that some of his constituency sets themselves against. To Trump, we were all be patsies and victims.
Don’t fall for his honeyed appeals. He knows you’re scared. He knows you want a daddy. Don’t let your needs for psychological reassurance lead you to fall for the oldest bait-and-switch shell game in the world in which the daddy you turn to for protection becomes the bully to you. This is how Mafia protection rackets work, and this is how a Trump presidency would too.