Donald Trump and the Ideal Hungry
Joe Szimhart (3/27/2016)
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Donnia?* Trump has captured the imagination, devotion, and ire of anyone remotely interested in American politics. How does he do it? I mean, how does a brash, even ruthless business mogul with the charm of a TV reality show hero garner such support to lead Republicans in a primary election? Why do so many people want a man with poor education in governance or political history for president of a powerful nation?
Maybe I’m biased after 30 years of intervention and education work regarding cults, or maybe I’m better informed, but I do note a glaring reason why ‘Donnia’ attracts devotees. Across the board in any political party there exist narcissistically wounded, “ideal hungry” individuals.
Psychiatrist W.R. Bion studied groups over half a century ago and noted that his neurotic patients, when given a group task, would invariably choose someone who has sociopathic tendencies as a leader. Lacking a good sociopath, Bion noted that a good narcissist would emerge as leader. Narcissistically wounded people tend to lack a healthy core self-image, are generally insecure, and seek external ways to make themselves feel better by masking behind a theater self or the theater self of a leader. The narcissist wants society to see an ideal self as the real self and not the flawed being behind the mask. A narcissist views lying as a means to an end, which is fame and power.
Okay, we all do this to some extent, but narcissism breaks bad when the theater self commands the personality. In other words, narcissism becomes a disorder when that happens, and any number of cult leaders have had this disorder, when the theater self commands personality, in spades. We note that such people appear delusional unless we buy into their delusion—the latter is a folie a deux or shared delusion.
Ideal hungry individuals want to fix the world by yelling expletives and insights at the television, or have someone on television or radio make outrageous claims and comments that demand little more that gut reactions and cheers for proof. Ideal hungry individuals are afraid of “where the world is going” and “others” who are making the world a bad place for them. Ideal hungry folks want a leader who waves magic money wands to create jobs, builds high walls to keep the “other” out, and takes out the enemy swiftly like some genius geek playing war on a video game.
I have no idea whether ‘Donnia’ will win the primary, let alone the presidency, but watching him perform today is a remarkable example of Bion’s observations in action.
W. R. Bion is referenced in Narcissism and Politics: Dreams of Glory by Jerrold M. Post, 2014
* How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? is a song from Sound of Music sung by nuns endearingly critical of the misfit maria in their midst.
"Maria's not an asset to the abbey..." a line from the son
"Donnia" is not an asset to the Party, can be a the primary problem with Republicans