Managing Trump’s anger


Donald Trump needs help with anger management. So do I.

At a Saturday rally in a hot New Hampshire gym, Trump “>a very little guy” – bigger billionaire Mike Bloomberg – questioned his sanity: “I was going to hit this guy so hard his head would spin, he wouldn’t know what the hell happened.”

Of course that’s what Trump wants me to do: Descend to his level.

In theory, I know how to manage that. Take deep breaths.  Remind myself it’s Trump who’s unhinged. A marker of his disorder is projective identification – splitting off his own derangement and attributing it to other people. The “horrible, horrible human being” is the Donald nailing the Donald. 

Sometimes this works. My fury subsides, along with my fear he’ll be elected. If I see what a sociopath he is, surely enough other Americans see it to fire him in November. 

No wonder Trump is pre-emptively depicting himself not as a loser, but as the victim of a rigged election. You know he won’t go away quietly. Nor will his base, whose fire he has recklessly stoked. I can’t believe he’d give a gracious concession speech, a call to come together and support the one president our nation has. He’s more likely to summon a retributive movement – a fifth column of Trumpistas.

This is the obligatory moment for me to say something empathic about his supporters. Their anger, as even Clinton has said, is understandable. They’ve been left behind by an economy that hasn’t worked for them; they don’t recognize the America they once knew; they’re fearful of what the future holds for their families. 

Those are legitimate fears, and their anger at how Washington has stiffed them, like the anger of Bernie Sanders’ supporters at the corrupt campaign finance system, is warranted.  What’s not warranted is the scapegoating, racism, misogyny, xenophobia and violence that Trump ignites in them. What’s indefensible is the permission that the nicest, least rabid of Trump’s rally-goers give to the rabble whose rage Trump has uncorked.

Until last week, when the New York Times ran an uncensored ” target=”_blank”>you have to watch it.

Critics say the reporters edited unrepresentative footage into a hit job. The reporters dispute that; they've seen this behavior at Trump rallies throughout the campaign and around the country. Critics say this happens at Democratic rallies, too, but that’s false; it’s not an everyone-does-it thing. Vicious catcalling from the crowd, the reporters note, is “inextricably bound up with the Trump show itself.”

Also unique to the Trump show is the complicity of the “polite, well mannered” people in the crowd, who “seldom express disapproval” of the ugly. At the video’s end Trump says, “This is a movement like people have never seen before.” But the safe space he’s made for haters and their fellow travellers reminded many online commenters of another movement, born in Berlin in the 1930s, and of the Good Germans who failed to fight it. 

Virtually every day brings a fresh horror.  On Tuesday, Trump incited “the Second Amendment people” to put Clinton in the crosshairs if she’s elected. What next will come from his mouth — pyres for the dishonest media? Pitchforks for lyin' Ted Cruz?

Anger can be righteous, not sick. On Sunday, CNN media reporter Brian Stelter ended his show with an martyk@jewishjournal.com.