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The Trump Diagnostic

JonDeutsch

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Donald Trump has been the most talked about candidate in this election cycle, and may be one of the most controversial candidates in modern times.

Most of the discussion about Trump ends up being personal. Some of the discussion about Trump tries to figure out what kind of Republican he is. And some of the discussion around Trump is about how he's wholly unqualified to be President.

What I haven't seen much discussion of, however, is what makes him tick. So, I developed a Trump Diagnostic that outlines his communication style, politics and values. What I learned by going through this process is that Trump truly isn't like most other candidates, but importantly, I learned why.

What do you take away from this diagnostic? Is it valuable at all? Curious as to your thoughts:

Between the Columns: The Trump Diagnostic

Cheers,
Jon
 

Glen Contrarian

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Donald Trump has been the most talked about candidate in this election cycle, and may be one of the most controversial candidates in modern times.

Most of the discussion about Trump ends up being personal. Some of the discussion about Trump tries to figure out what kind of Republican he is. And some of the discussion around Trump is about how he's wholly unqualified to be President.

What I haven't seen much discussion of, however, is what makes him tick. So, I developed a Trump Diagnostic that outlines his communication style, politics and values. What I learned by going through this process is that Trump truly isn't like most other candidates, but importantly, I learned why.

What do you take away from this diagnostic? Is it valuable at all? Curious as to your thoughts:

Between the Columns: The Trump Diagnostic

Cheers,
Jon

In addition to the factors that you listed, I would also list two more factors:

- he's been married three times - the most recent of which is to someone that is the very definition of a trophy wife. I've been married twice, but today is my 24th anniversary of our first date (and yeah, we really are still like honeymooners). I can understand a rich old far like Trump deciding to marry a trophy wife (and I'll refrain from mentioning what that says about her)...but I sure as heck don't want one for a First Lady, and I think even less of the guy who would presume to make her our First Lady.

- more importantly, Trump's stance on torture. Of course, any cynic would say, "What's the big deal? All nations torture - he's just being honest about it!" Without ever discussing the merits (or lack thereof) of torture (which is IMO inexcusably evil), by publicly supporting its use, Trump not only became a great recruitment tool for terrorists from the Muslim community, but as someone who would be president, represent the American people, and have his finger on the nuclear button, he showed all the world how xenophobic, puerile, and boorish much of the American electorate has become. Add to this his statement that we would go in and kill the families of ISIS, which had to be a great recruiting tool for them!

As a result, I don't think it's accurate to "diagnose" him as you have, for postulating a delineation between the Trump we see and the "real" Trump almost gives him an excuse for his behavior. No, Trump is a small-minded demagogue - and thankfully, a demagogue only of the second order, not of the first order like certain individuals in the past that took over and ruled their nations through sheer force of personality (until such time that they were in one way or another deposed). The only thing that enables Trump to have the impact that he has is his money.
 

JonDeutsch

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Hi Glen,

Thanks for the commentary. I've received a lot of similar commentary, and my response has typically been that my diagnostic does not cover character issues. Character is a different dimension of a person than comms style, politics and values. It's like saying Bill Clinton was a horrible President because he cheated on his wife with an intern. Is there a character flaw there? Yup. But honestly has nothing to do with his politics, values and comms style.

It's very easy to judge. That's op-ed stuff. And it's 24/7 Cable News, too. I think it's harder these days to be a dispassionate observer trying to assess and sort through the drivers of a person without getting into judgments of character. Which is how I'm trying to differentiate my commentary.

Just my two cents.
 

Orly?

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Great read and you are obviously quite talented.. Thanks for posting/writing this..

I agree with most of it, especially that his main purpose is to make the best deal available and in order to do so one has to start a negotiation at one point and give up certain things to get the best deal possible.

One thing I'm not quite clear on is this excerpt..
"building a wall (Nationalism), not reforming Social Security (Fascism), barring all Muslims (Nationalism), ensuring people "aren't dying in the streets" (Fascism)"

Why do those positions have to be related to fascism when they are mainstream positions of liberals, progressives, and socialists?
Would it not be correct to say that those are some of the more liberal positions Trump takes?

And as far as nationalism how is that any different that patriotism? Is there something wrong with being proud of your country in your opinion and wanting to preserve its great culture?

I guess what I would like your opinion on is why is Trump a "fascist" rather than just a centrist? What is the difference?

Even if so, why should "fascism" be any more controversial than "socialism" when both have been proven in history to lead to bad things, more so socialism.. ??
 

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"Posturing to make a deal" might accurately describe the motivation for Trump's ideas, and his choices of what ideas to express publicly.

Perhaps we could say that Obama and John Kerry are posturing to try to make the best deal, also.


Donald Trump's style of posturing is more bombastic, than Obama and Kerry.


The US has a military presence in some 56 countries in the world. Using a bombastic style of negotiating may not accurately indicate the patience and resolve of the US commitment to its allies. Trump looks like he is trying to make better deals, but not really understanding or honoring the deals that have been made, and the leverage behind the deals. Like with Japan, for instance.


Being president of the US means keeping a lot of deals that already have been made, and having the trust, that new deals, when negotiated, will be kept.


Trump's bombastic style makes it seem that Trump has no idea of what deals have been made, good or bad. Trump gives the impression to other countries that everything is up to renegotiation, and even forfeiture.


Lumping all Muslims as one ideology is not helpful in understanding the fine points of various approaches to Islam. If Trump does not understand the various branches of Islam, then he should study Islam, not ask the world to stop while he catches up.



//
 

JonDeutsch

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Great read and you are obviously quite talented.. Thanks for posting/writing this..

I agree with most of it, especially that his main purpose is to make the best deal available and in order to do so one has to start a negotiation at one point and give up certain things to get the best deal possible.

One thing I'm not quite clear on is this excerpt..
"building a wall (Nationalism), not reforming Social Security (Fascism), barring all Muslims (Nationalism), ensuring people "aren't dying in the streets" (Fascism)"

Why do those positions have to be related to fascism when they are mainstream positions of liberals, progressives, and socialists?
Would it not be correct to say that those are some of the more liberal positions Trump takes?

Thanks for the comments and the questions! Let me try to answer:

In terms of the wall, that is not a mainstream position in any major political party - it's pretty pure Israeli-style nationalism. Not reforming Social Security is certainly a mainstream progressive idea, barring all Muslims is pure Nationalism (not Conservative nor Liberal), and ensuring people "aren't dying in the streets" is either Fascism or Communism - that kind of political articulation of a policy is neither Conservative nor Liberal.

So, in a re-assessment of the statement, it would appear that I overshot on the "not reforming Social Security" attribution as being Fascist. The reason why I went there is because of the context -- if a Republican candidate isn't going to reform Social Security, then it likely isn't due to a philosophically progressive rationale. As a result, I went to the natural location for the idea for a Republican candidate - Fascism. Please note that as I mentioned in the article, these terms (fascism & nationalism) are loaded terms, and as a result, my assignment to them may appear to sound unfair or biased. I beg the reader to click on the links behind the these terms in the post to get a more full definition of what they mean politically.

And as far as nationalism how is that any different that patriotism? Is there something wrong with being proud of your country in your opinion and wanting to preserve its great culture?

Here's how nationalism is defined in the hyperlink behind the term in my post:

Nationalism is the doctrine that one's national culture and interests are superior to any other, and that nations should act independently (rather than collectively) to attain their goals.

To some, this could be considered patriotism. Nothing wrong with being proud of your country. But I think the difference is the motive behind it. Trump actually doesn't seem proud at all of our Country (esp. it's leaders and government!). He seems more annoyed that we're "losing" because of incompetent leaders -- leaders that we've all elected, by the way! As a result, it's hard to see his motive being patriotic. It's more just bashing leaders (and the voters who voted in such incompetent leaders).

I guess what I would like your opinion on is why is Trump a "fascist" rather than just a centrist? What is the difference?

Even if so, why should "fascism" be any more controversial than "socialism" when both have been proven in history to lead to bad things, more so socialism.. ??

From the hotlink in my article, here's how fascim is defined:

Fascism is an authoritarian Nationalist political ideology that exalts nation (and often race) above the individual, and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

Trump would be considered a "centrist" (which is, in fact, how I first saw him in 2015), but his behaviors, language, and approach to his campaign have pointed pretty directly toward him being of the authoritarian mindset. He, like many authoritarians, see only himself having the savvy and skill to "fix things" - and that most everyone else is incompetent. And if someone disagrees with him, they are "bad", "evil", "small," "lyin'", etc. ,etc. Some people mistake this as bullying -- it's not. It's antagonizing opposition as a method of suppression. There are just too many dots that easily connect with Trump to tilt him toward the fascist/authoritarian than a centrist.

In terms of fascism being more controversial than socialism - I agree completely. It's cultural biases that make us more/less comfortable with one term over the other. Quite frankly, our culture's use of political terms is a fascinating study in and of itself. We settle into labels that make us feel better but don't really point to the things we value. I'm certain I'll post one day about how many strands of Conservatism are actually liberal and many strains of Liberals are actually conservative. :)
 
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