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Trump and Psychopathy

July 31, 2016

Trump’s personal clinical diagnosis doesn’t matter (unless his doctor’s office applies for insurance, in which case, of course, they’ll code from the DSM-V—here’s a readable site of descriptors; see especially Cluster B, mix and match; but be careful, the poet E. A. Robinson (1869-1935) remarked that as a kid he read his brother’s med books and concluded that he showed symptoms of pregnancy.

I’m not talking demonization; this is a troubled human like ourselves.

The point is that in his public life Trump (henceforth, because I think he has moved beyond Drumpf, which is quite an achievement) consistently behaves as if he lacks the capacity to feel—to perceive, mirror, valorize, and appropriately respond to—the emotions of others. Especially their pain, but also their joy. When do we see him laugh, spontaneously and beyond himself? Did I miss it?

We have several remaining months in which to observe him, probably in increasingly stressful circumstances. If he continues to exhibit his consistent behavior problems, probably a lot of voters who are just now paying attention will choose not to put such a person in the White House. Too risky. Or at the least, not a show that they would like (some early viewers might be unliking him), or want to DVR.

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