Donald Trump is a genius

Let’s admit it: Donald Trump is a genius.

He has managed to convince many of us that he actually cares about us.

Yes, he intuitively understands that many of us may feel looked down on and dismissed. We may be dismayed at the non-responsiveness and corruption in our political system. He feels life has been unfair to him, too. He says things that some of us may be thinking but hesitate to say. He is not politically correct. He doesn’t like to back down. He is terrified of looking “weak.” He seems to get away with stuff we never would. He knows how to manipulate the system and the media. He talks in the rough way some of us do. Plus, he’s a charismatic reality TV actor: He’s entertaining and he knows how to put on a show.

But let’s maybe look at this again. Does he really care about us?

– The developer who wouldn’t pay his carpenters, electricians, plumbers and contractors? Or pay them only enough so that it would not be worth their time and money to sue him and his army of lawyers in court? If this is how he treats the people who actually built his buildings, how do you think he will treat us after we are no longer useful to him?

– The guy who created a “university” to take his admirers’ money in an education scam?

– The guy who created a “charitable foundation” and made himself the charity?

– The businessman who was bankrolled and bailed out over the years with about $400 million of his Daddy’s money? Does this track with your experience?

– The candidate who says he hopes the economy tanks before the next election so that it increases his chances of winning. Does he really care about our jobs and lives?

– A grown man who throws tantrums and flings food at the wall when he is displeased and then expects an underling to clean it up. Does this behavior show any regard for the people whose job it is to take care of him?

– The president who bills himself as a fighter for the common man, yet passes a huge tax cut for corporations, and tax loopholes for real estate investors and special interests. So much for “drain the swamp.” And then, the tax cut’s main benefits go to those who already have tons of money. Does he care that we and our children will have to pay for this gift to his donors? Seems not. So much for fiscal responsibility.

– The guy who sees a problem or a conflict in his country, and then instead of trying to get it solved reasonably (think immigration right now), he stokes divisions so that it can remain an unsolved crisis to keep us riled up and angry. That way, we can stay distracted and keep fighting each other over useless crumbs under the table, while his rich powerful buddies gorge themselves above. Economic fairness and equal opportunity — not on his agenda.

He really is a psychological genius. For our anxiety, he gives us simplistic explanations and vulnerable people to blame. And he knows it’s much easier to be angry than anxious; much easier to get mad than actually work together to solve problems.

He sells us the addictive feeling of being close to celebrity to create a fake intimacy. He sees that we are often searching for a sense of community that may be missing in our lives today. He taps into our very human drive for connection, approval, and meaning. He takes our idealism and patriotism, and twists them for his purposes. He sells us the feeling of being part of something greater than ourselves, of belonging to a very special group, but only as long as we keep praising him and giving him our money. It will never be enough, however, to fill his bottomless well of insecurity and need for attention.

And we’ve seen how quickly he will malign and discard anyone who won’t totally bow to his wishes. Where does that leave independent thinkers?

Sometimes we are tempted to say, “I don’t like the man, but I like his policies.” But all his policies are at their core an attempt to prop up the man’s fragile ego: either sucking up to more powerful men who remind him of his hard, domineering father or seeing what he can get away with in his never-ending search for more money, more fame and more power. We and our children and our country are just his pawns and playthings.

Along with his enablers, he shows us how it’s just fine to punch down on people who are even more at risk than we are. It’s fine to ridicule people who have fought for our country. He seems to think that it’s manly to cheat, steal and lie. And bullying, cruelty and violence — it’s all just fine … as he urges us on from behind his wall of Secret Service agents and bullet-proof glass and wealth.

It would probably make us sad to have such behaviors in our own families, but somehow we think these are OK in the leader of our country? And somehow we think that he actually cares about us?

Yup, he’s a genius. But really, in service of whom?

(Stephanie Gubelin lives in Lake Placid.)

Starting at $1.44/week.

Subscribe Today