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by chazzz @, USA, Friday, May 19, 2017, 15:39

"Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad with power." - Charles A. Beard

This past presidential election which devolved to Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump could be seen as eventually reinforcing the quote about being made mad with power. It could be said that Hillary Clinton had imploded as a candidate when she was given the inside track to nomination of the Democratic Party by insiders and friends within the Democratic National Committee (DNC). She made the mistake of assuming that the inside track to general election would be given her by friends and loyalists within the mainstream media. I think that assumption led to her failures to capitalize on what she thought was going to be an easy win and a carelessness in failing to effectively deal with the scandals that had followed her.

Trump, to everyone's surprise except his ardent followers, won the presidential election. But he seemingly has not been immune to the concept of being driven to madness and destruction by the consequences of power. It is one thing to win an official office, it is quite another thing to govern effectively. When you have a man who so strongly craves reinforcement and validation from crowds and the people around him as Trump does, you have a man with a serious weakness that can be exploited. Personally I am fascinated by highly accomplished individuals in their chosen field who have such a need for praise and validation from others. Perhaps it is this need itself is what has driven them to accomplish things. So perhaps in these individuals the excessive need for praise cannot be separated from their drive for accomplishment.

In a totalitarian situation a national leader with a need for praise and reinforcement surrounds himself with loyalists. These loyalists not only give him the praise he wants, but they control the nation's media and government so that only praise can be heard or expressed for the "Great Leader".

In a representative democracy, a leader may surround himself with loyalists. But he cannot control the nation's media nor the hearts and minds of all the people. It is inevitable that in this case the president will see and hear people who disagree with his policies and tactics. Career politicians usually learn to avoid making controversial or embarrassing statements and learn to deal with dissent. But Donald Trump is no career politician. In his case President of the USA is the first and only elected or government office he ever held.

There are an array of individuals and groups who are opposed to Trump's policies and in some cases to Donald Trump's character itself. Obviously the Democratic political party opposes Trump and the Republicans. And there are many within the various facets of the US media who oppose Trump, as well as a smaller number who support him. I suspect that the Late Night TV shows are a particular thorn in Trump's thin skin. These shows are a mix of humor, celebrity interviews, and political and social commentary. Unlike the national media news shows, there is no requirement nor expectation of them being politically neutral or unbiased. Comedy and mockery go hand in hand. Whoever is in power can expect to be mocked and made the object of a steady stream of jokes on the late night TV shows. And the more Trump acknowledges the sting of this - The more it encourages the mockers.

I worry greatly that not only is Donald Trump following former President Richard Nixon's trajectory, he appears to be reacting in ways that may be accelerating the arc of the fall. Donald Trump is a fighter and he does not quietly accept criticism nor try to find compromises with those opposed to his policies. Unfortunately this just raises the temperature of the discussions and can make Trump his own worst enemy when he says something that winds up disproving his earlier claims and policy.

Personally, I think that Donald Trump and those who elected him have some very good points on several issues such as trade agreements that sell out the US working class, keeping jobs in the USA, and having government be less obtrusive in some areas. I think Trump and the Republicans get some things seriously wrong like opposing effective public health care and goes over the line to in trying to find favor with evangelical Christian groups.

I would prefer that President Trump was a success in accomplishing many of his early political campaign promises. What American can argue against keeping American jobs alive or having the US government's foreign policy be first and foremost on what is best for the people back home in the USA. But I dislike many things that are part of Trump's public personality like his excessive need for adulation and praise and apparent lack of depth on political issues.

I fear that Trump is headed for the same choice Nixon had - Either resignation or being the first US president to be successfully impeached. I hope that in that messy path to self-destruction that no international threat arises that needs a cool head to make the right choice for war or peace.


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