Is Trump Scared?

Commentary No. 486, December 1, 2018

I get this question all the time. The answer is: of course. He has been running scared all his life. It started with his sense that he was a disappointment to his father and continues until the present moment.

This sense of fear for his future is the most fundamental element in Trump’s psyche. It explains almost everything he does – the meanness and cruelty; the endless bullying; and his obsession with tweeting where he doesn’t share the platform with anyone else, so to speak.

Being scared is why he insists on being the greatest person in the world. He seeks endless approval and endless acquisition of money that he didn’t earn. He wants to secure the same financial benefits for his children.

He therefore insists on total loyalty from everyone – his family, his friends, his employees, without giving the least loyalty in return.

He achieves a lot this way. He has just recently gotten the president-elect of Mexico to do his bidding. Trump got López Obrador to agree to house migrants – who are seeking to enter the United States – in Mexico rather than in the United States.

Can he keep this up forever? Almost certainly not. At some point the level of his support will tilt downward sharply. The question is when? No one knows the answer to this question.

It is this future tilt that Trump is smart enough to fear. He believes that his only defense is to press on with his present strategy. He hopes for a miracle. But there are no miracles.

On the other hand, his opponents feel very frustrated. They are rightfully impatient waiting for a downward tilt of Trump’s support of unknowable date since he causes great harm in the meantime.