After the media’s coverage of the August El Paso mass shootings and as the impeachment process unfolds, it is becoming increasingly difficult not to view the ‘neurologically hazardous’ punditry as behaving irrationally and hysterically toward Trump.
As a psychologist, I ignored the term ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome’ as just a conservative talking point to dismiss any argument made by the media. In recent weeks, however, the liberal wing of the media, joined by a handful of Democrats, have spiralled into a frenzy of conspiracy theories fueled by outrage, paranoia and disgust.
The phrase Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) was coined by critically acclaimed, political commentator — and psychiatrist — Charles Krauthammer, in a tongue in cheek article regarding the liberal reactions around then-President George Bush. Bush Derangement Syndrome was described as:
The acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency—nay—the very existence of George W. Bush.
Indeed, the recent scattergun approach of the left-wing media to accuse Donald Trump of everything-evil-until-something-sticks implies beliefs so fixed that nothing (including contrary evidence) can convince them that what they think or feel about Trump is not true. Such thoughts appear underpinned by a genuine difficulty accepting the reality that Trump is President and — if this charade continues — will be serving another five years.
Indeed, perhaps the best way to summarise TDS is thus: If Donald Trump cured skin cancer, it would be further evidence of him being a white supremacist, due to all the Caucasian lives he would save.
Sadly after months of the media accusing Trump of being responsible for mass shootings and sending subliminal messages to Nazis, this is not nearly as divorced from reality as it should be. It appears for some portion of the media, nothing Trump can now say will exonerate him, nor be taken at face value; indeed his very words are considered by a The Young Turks Journalist as differing to his ‘actual’ malevolent intentions. This is the definition of paranoia and delusion; this is Trump Derangement Syndrome.
If a defining component of TDS is paranoia, then we would do well to define it. Paranoia involves intense thoughts and feelings around persecution and conspiracies and includes symptoms like irrational mistrust and suspicion, difficulty with forgiveness and a preoccupation with hidden motives.
In the case of the 45th President, it begins with attempting to equate Trump’s immigration and border security rhetoric with white supremacy philosophy. Since Trump has not overtly stated a white supremacist agenda, it falls upon individuals such as ex-Navy cryptologist, and MSNBC political commentator Malcolm Nance to find ‘subliminal messages’ sent directly from Trump into the heads of Nazis. This bizarre statement, typically considered a conspiracy theory in any rational discourse, ignores the small problem that Trump’s tweets are about as esoteric and multilayered as a sledgehammer. As Tucker Carlson noted:
Whatever his faults, you can be certain that Donald Trump is not doing that. Trump is the least subliminal politician in American history. He has no subtext. That’s part of the problem, of course. If he is thinking it, he is saying it.
Indeed that is a part of the problem, as Krauthammer notes. Trump has no filter between his internal monologue and external persona; you can be sure that if Trump is thinking it at 3:00 am, Twitter will let you know at 3:01 am. Therefore, when Trump suggests Baltimore is a poverty-stricken, high crime rate city, with an ongoing drug and rat infestation problem, it would be logical to assume he means exactly that.
What is not logical, however, is that Trump is suddenly using ‘code words’ as a racial epithet and that secretly, rodent actually means ‘African American’. To be clear, here is an article from the Washington Examiner reporting on the poverty, violence, and rodent infestation of Baltimore.
With the ensuing chaos of desperately attempting to connect Donald Trump to white supremacy after the recent mass shootings, it appears former FBI official and MSNBC guest took it upon himself to use numerology as a means of peddling a conspiracy theory:
It’s the little things and language and messaging that matters. The president said that we will fly our flags at half-mast until August 8th — that’s 8-8. Now I’m not going to imply that he did this deliberately, but I am using it as an example of the ignorance of the adversary that’s being demonstrated by the White House. The numbers 8-8 are very significant in neo-Nazi and white supremacy movement. Why? Because the letter H is the eighth letter of the alphabet, and to them, the numbers 8 together stand for “Heil, Hitler.
The commitment to ignoring obvious precedent and a desire to alienate the average American shows true dedication to one’s craft. Indeed, Alex Jones would do well to take notes that if you torture numbers long enough, they can tell you anything. Unfortunately, in 2019 it needs to be stated that focusing on a very specific set of numbers, within a set of numbers, which are code for specific letters when put together in such a synchronicity is akin to the following:
It’s the little things and language and messaging that matters. Jay-Z‘s album is titled 4-4-4, and when combined with his previous song 2-2-Two, that’s 2-2-2 + 4-4-4=666. Now I’m not going to imply that he did this deliberately, but I am using it as an example of the ignorance of the adversary that’s being demonstrated by Jay-Z. The numbers 666 are very significant in Illuminati and Satan worshipping cults.
The end game for such deep-seated mistrust and suspicion for Trump as a white supremacist, and presumably Satan himself, can only lead to one bizarre conclusion eloquently delivered by MSNBC anchor Mika Brzezinski — that Trump actually wants mass shootings to happen:
Isn’t it okay to deduce that at this point this is what he wants? He is inciting hatred, inciting violence, inciting racism… I mean, this is a president who seems to want these things to happen. How else can this be explained?
As Trump Derangement Syndrome reaches fevered pitch, there is simply only one final place to go, and that is to directly compare Trump to Hitler. It is the ultimate dehumanization tactic, designed to prop up a cartoon, moustache-twirling villain for the masses to rally against. It may be the conspiracy that Trump needs to put the final nail in the coffin of the Democrats’ 2020 dream.
In a sentence that should not need to be committed to paper: Democrats should avoid inventing conspiracy theories about Trump in order to win the election. Nor is it a requirement. Trump appears to lack the filter that typically separates the subconscious raw thoughts from the civilized, conscious rhetoric employed in polite society, and as Krauthammer observed:
It’s the tweets, of course. Trump sees them as a direct, “unfiltered” conduit to the public. What he doesn’t quite understand is that for him — indeed, for anyone — they are a direct conduit from the unfiltered id. They erase whatever membrane normally exists between one’s internal disturbances and their external manifestations.
For most people, who cares? For the president of the United States, there are consequences. When the president’s id speaks, the world listens.
In a world in which during a 2019 presidential rally the President of the United States tells a heckler that he is ‘overweight’ and should ‘go home and exercise’, everyone loses when the Democrats continue to be the boy that cried wolf.
Dr Elio Martino is a registered psychologist working in private practice in New South Wales. He publishes monthly in Psychology Today and featured numerous times in Quillette and Areo.
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