A year ago, most people would never have believed the thin-skinned, narcissistic, bully Donald Trump would win the GOP nomination. Not only has the unthinkable happened, it has happened with inexplicably impassioned support from millions of Americans. It has come to pass despite Trump's juvenile temperament, his disregard for basic rules of decency and decorum, his intimidation tactics, his hostility towards the media, etc. And, not only has Trump been endorsed by the KKK and Russian President Vladimir Putin, but most recently, North Korean supreme leader, Kim Jong-Un as well.
Last week, he attacked a U.S. District Judge overseeing the fraud lawsuit against the defunct Trump University. Trump accused Judge Gonzalo Curiel of being prejudiced due to his Mexican heritage, even though he's an American born in the state of Indiana.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina called it, "the most un-American thing from a politician since Joe McCarthy." In other words Trump is saying unequivocally that Judge Curiel is incapable of doing his job because he is Mexican. Last I checked that is pure, shameless racism, period. Bill Carrick, a veteran political strategist called Trump's response, "blatantly racist" and "blatantly stupid."
Michael Finnegan of the Los Angeles Times wrote that in California, Trump "has shown no inclination to modulate his language the way nominees normally do as they turn to a wider general election. He instead emphasizes positions that are not only out of step with Democrats but also with many fellow Republicans in the state."
What is Trump thinking? Or is he thinking at all?
So, given all the continued "blatant stupidity," how can it be that his campaign still remains impervious to criticism and scrutiny amongst his followers? The nickname, "Teflon Don" has now become a colossal understatement. He's no longer the mouse that roared. He's The Kracken! How is it possible?
One of my theories is that Trump's smitten devotees have quickly absorbed and internalized his delusional promises of prosperity and power. His star-quality and billionaire status don't seem to have hurt him either. Wealthy Reality-TV personalities seem to carry a great deal of appeal these days. One look at our baffling fixation with the vacuous Kardashian family offers another unsettling glimpse.
Trump has successfully wooed the anxious and embittered hearts of many Americans by "hooking up" with them in a way that borders on romantic fantasy. Supporters identify with him so closely that anything he says is at once irresistible and, worse, truthful.
But this is no teenage crush. Trump has been in bed with these lovers since last summer. The result? An epic wedding in November is now being planned.
I believe there is a much deeper meta-process going on here. The peculiar love-affair he has with his believers is not just a folie à deux (a folly of two). It's instead, a folie à Plusieurs (a folly of many).
Trump's relationship with is fans resembles Shared Psychotic Disorder, a rare condition that develops in individuals who are influenced by those with delusions similar to their own. Typically, the more dominant individual, known as "the inducer" gradually imposes his or her delusional system on the more passive one.
It is literally a madness shared by two.
Typically these bizarre alliances occur within couples and families. In rare instances, such relationships can expand to include larger groups as well.
The affiliated Shared Psychotic Disorder is a partnership of mutually distorted perception. Individuals remain locked in their preservation of the delusion unable to see outside of the perimeters of their own reality. In the case of Donald Trump, his bewitched groupies have been proselytized into believing--among other things--that their nominee's barefaced racism is in fact a revival of patriotism.
Today, Trump's delusions are ubiquitous. They are no longer merely his own. They have colonized the collective psyche of his devotees and left them in a kind of stupor they can't seem to awaken from.
Here are a few questions for Trump's infatuated masses to consider:
If Donald Trump becomes our next president, will the infamous border wall he proposes to erect really be built? Will the Mexican government pay for the wall as Trump promises? Will he ever establish the Orwellian, "big-brother" database for all Muslims living in the United States? Will he really succeed in accomplishing a systematic deportation of undocumented illegals from of our country?
Truth or Delusion?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then you may also be a disciple of the very same coalition of madness.
Or maybe Donald Trump is a consummate illusionist--a trompe l'oeil artist. A phrase for a painting technique in which the painter fools the viewer into believing objects are real.