Trump Brawls Reveal Republican Pettiness

The Trump brawls are indeed quite a spectacle to behold.

After Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) made comments dismissing Donald Trump, Mr. Trump retaliated by publicly disclosing Sen. Graham's personal cell phone number on stage at a campaign event. Sen. Graham was quickly inundated with calls and was forced to change his cell number.

Mr. Trump's behavior was a stunning act of immaturity and pettiness. It was akin to a five-year-old boy throwing sand in a sandbox, and confirms for us all, as if we didn't already know, that Mr. Trump falls far short of possessing even a pinky finger of the dignity befitting the office of the President of the United States.

But this was not just a one-time occurrence. It is indicative of behavior we have witnessed over and over again, not only by Mr. Trump, but by Republicans in general. They tend to perceive others as enemies and as threats, and thus they are prone to fighting, vindictiveness, and imposing punishments. While this trait may have been useful back when we were all Neanderthals running around in the wild, in today's modern world of ever greater collaboration and unity, this behavior seems ever more primitive.

Yet we see it all around us. We have seen it in the Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry. He and Mr. Trump are furiously throwing sand back and forth at each other. In a recent campaign speech, Mr. Perry droned on endlessly in trashing Mr. Trump. This signifies very clearly that Mr. Perry is quick to engage in a meaningless fight, and thus incapable of prioritizing issues of significance. Not exactly a strong presidential quality.

We have seen Mr. Perry's petty vindictiveness before. In fact, Mr. Perry is currently under a criminal felony indictment for it in his home state of Texas. The incident arose when Mr. Perry was governor of Texas. A Democratic county district attorney had been arrested for driving drunk and Mr. Perry demanded her resignation even though he did not have the authority to fire her. He likely wanted to replace her with a Republican. When she refused to resign, since he could not fire her, Mr. Perry sought to use (or abuse) the power of his office to punish her by defunding an entire agency within her department.

Regardless of whether Mr. Perry is ultimately convicted for this abuse of power, it is certainly wholly inappropriate for a governor to defund an entire agency that serves the public good out of a personal and political vendetta. Indeed, this behavior is abusive and spiteful.

We have also seen this type of vindictive behavior in the Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie. The most prominent display of this is the Bridgegate scandal. While governor of New Jersey, Mr. Christie's office inappropriately shut down traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge leading from New Jersey into Manhattan in order to intentionally cause a massive traffic jam for multitudes of perfectly innocent citizens, which is exactly what occurred. The alleged reason they did it was to punish the Democratic mayor of the small town on the New Jersey side of the bridge for declining to endorse Mr. Christie in his 2013 reelection campaign. Gee, nice folks.

Mr. Christie, of course, claims he knew nothing about it, which seems highly dubious. But regardless, this conduct was so outrageous and such an abuse of power that it reflects upon the manner in which Mr. Christie wields the power of his office and indeed demonstrates that he does not belong in any public office whatsoever.

In stark contrast to the Republican pettiness stands the demeanor of President Barack Obama. Whether you love or loathe President Obama, he indisputably displays a standard of decorum that is light years ahead of the sand-throwers. And President Obama has been attacked viciously throughout his administration. In a low point of American history, President Obama was shouted down before the nation and the world during a presidential address before a joint session of Congress when a Republican Congressman from South Carolina burst out and called President Obama a liar.

Yet through it all, President Obama has maintained impeccable composure. He has not cracked even once. It is indeed extraordinary to behold the first black president so vastly exceeding the grand old white establishment in grace, dignity, and elegance.

So what is it that causes these Republicans to behave so badly?

Well, modern brain science has offered an explanation, which is described in the article, "Why Are Republicans So Mean?" As the theory goes, brains of conservatives actually operate differently from brains of liberals. The conservative brain is more inclined to perceive threats from the exact same external circumstances, and thus conservatives are more inclined to respond accordingly with violent and hostile behaviors.

Regardless of the reason, however, one thing is clear.

The Trump brawls have done us all the service of revealing a number of Republican candidates who certainly do not belong in the oval office.