Playing Chicken: The GOP Agenda, White Nationalism, And An Unstable President

Millions of Americans have asked themselves how our country could get to this point in just five days. By now, you have seen the opinion pieces and media blogs about President Trump’s narcissism and what it means for We the People and our future.

I admit, I have been going about my form of activism the wrong way. I believed that if I presented the clinical evidence routinely provided by Mr. Trump regarding his extreme narcissism and its potentially hazardous effect on his fitness for the office, it might turn some heads. Heck, I even penned a letter to Vice President Pence and Speaker Ryan reminding them of their right to implement the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove the unfit Trump from office.

But there is a much more sinister game at play here…an ugly game of chicken.

As described by Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor for President Clinton, while recalling a recent conversation he had with a Republican friend: the GOP, in general, thinks the President is “out of his mind.”

Yet, the ten executive orders that we have seen this week whose proposed actions include limiting women’s rights, quelling environmental complaints about Big Oil, and severing international trade ties are consistent with the agendas of several members of the Republican party and its leadership.

But at what cost?

The President is a fragile man whose ego-injury often leads to spells of narcissistic rage that span from his Twitter account to reported outbursts of anger toward his staff (Washington Post, 1/23/17). Rather than focus on the enormity of the position to which he was just sworn-in, Mr. Trump has spent his first days in office hyper-focused on personal “injuries” such as refusing to accept that he lost the popular vote, crying conspiracy, and ignoring the fact that millions marched against him. He tweeted this morning that he intends to launch a major investigation into the alleged election fraud that simply HAS to be behind his loss.

As I alluded to the other day, with this level of distorted thinking he may as well have said, “I saw a ghost on the National Mall and I want a full commission to investigate this and bring him to me.” Both situations hold the same level of fact.

BUT, the members of the GOP, even if they disagree with the unfounded election claims, are not standing in the way of the ravings of a sick man. Look at some of these responses to the President’s statement (at a meeting with Congressional leadership) that millions of people voting illegally cost him the popular vote.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) – there is “no evidence to that effect”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) – “the notion that election fraud is a fiction is not true”

Lindsay Graham (R-SC) said, “This is going to erode his ability to govern this country if he does not stop it”

Remember, Trump’s ability to govern this country has been on unsteady ground since he announced. So, as of now, Trump indulges the urges of his inner demons and the GOP gets to check off its agenda items.

The GOP and the President’s support staff are creating an environment in which a delusional narcissist can sit in the Oval Office. These are White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s words to CNN’s Jeff Zeleny earlier this week, “He believes what he believes [about voter fraud costing him the popular vote] based on the information he’s provided,” – but that information passes through his narcissistic, world-altering filter – the same one that adds hundreds of thousands of people to his Inauguration crowd and makes rain disappear!

I get it, there is a practical reason for the GOP’s indulging in Mr. Trump’s distorted views, the idea of rampant voter fraud and its legislative effects may help them ensure voter suppression and increase their hopes of staying in office after 2018. In addition, what is left of Mr. Trump’s xenophobic, racist, sexist, and isolationist base is preserved to feed his need for admiration and adulation; most notably through executive orders that aim to build a border wall and limit the rights of immigrants, refugees, and those covered under DACA.

Update 1/26/17: Steve Bannon is sitting on the President’s shoulder feeding his delusions especially when it comes to the “dishonest media” who have an annoying habit of pointing out lies. Bannon has described the media as “the opposition party” and that they should “keep [their] mouth shut.” This comes from one of Mr. Trump’s most trusted advisors who - prior to his White House duties - ran an alt-right conservative website that was not shy about pushing white supremacy. He is essentially fueling the distorted reality in which Trump lives while using the President’s compromised mental state to forward his nationalist agenda. It is no secret that the “American carnage” imagery included in the inaugural address had Bannon’s fingerprints all over it.

Nevertheless, the GOP and nationalist advisers like Steve Bannon are playing a dangerous game with a ticking time bomb and too often they are doing it with smiles on their faces.