We tend to think of persons who crave power as clever. They scheme and plot. They have some sort of master plan. They are like James bond evil villains. And Donald Trump may cure us of that.
While Trump craves power as much as anyone I have ever seen in action, the dude is also demonstrating some very substandard strategic thought processes. In other words, as Dave Roberts points out, we may be over-analyzing what makes Trump tick. We may be assuming that he has ideas that he simply is not capable of having. Dave writes
In short, what if Trump is exactly as he appears: a hopeless narcissist with the attention span of a fruit fly, unable to maintain consistent beliefs or commitments from moment to moment, acting on base instinct, entirely situationally, to bolster his terrifyingly fragile ego.
And what if this is what drives him to embrace authoritarian leaders and their ways AS IF THEY ARE NORMAL?
This is a bit scary for several reasons. Most obviously, it is scary because Trump may make some stupefyingly bad decisions that affect all of us. It is also scary to see the motives of those surrounding the dude in power. What drives their loyalty other than opportunism?. When does one jump ship rather than dance to the tune of this dude? And it is scary to see that lots of republican officials are prepared to turn a blind eye to .what is going on. Paraphrasing Johnson, they don’t mind sniffing his shorts and saying with a straight face that they smell like roses. What does one think of persons who act this way in the face of the dangers at hand? And those dangers are not just to governmental process. They are national security related.
Hopefully, we can get beyond this without too much damage, lost credibility and faith in ourselves. But the meaning of the Trump era is becoming clear. Sure Trump is a major problem. A much more worrying problem will arise if our institutions cannot come to grips with this very simple and dangerous reality – that our democracy is at risk from a person with the emotional IQ of a 6 year-old.