Political campaigns and the pathology of projection

Let’s get a handle on projection because I’m thinking it’ll be key to what’s coming in Trump’s political campaign against Joe Biden.

In psychiatry, the process of throwing out upon another the ideas or impulses that belong to oneself. It is the act of giving objective or seeming reality to what is subjective. The expression implies that what is cast upon another is considered undesirable to the one who projects.

–Hinsie & Campbell Psychiatric Dictionary, Fourth Edition (Oxford, 1975).

I have a feeling new psychiatric dictionaries will be fine-tuning this definition with ample references to Trump.

Of course Trump has other pathologies — and oh there are so so many, his niece, Mary Trump, says this about him (from one New York Times article about her imminently released memoir):

Ms. Trump, a clinical psychologist, asserts that her uncle has all nine clinical criteria for being a narcissist. And yet, she notes, even that label does not capture the full array of the president’s psychological troubles.

“The fact is,” she writes, “Donald’s pathologies are so complex and his behaviors so often inexplicable that coming up with an accurate and comprehensive diagnosis would require a full battery of psychological and neurophysical tests that he’ll never sit for.”

Right now, I’m less interested in a clinical definition of Trump’s pathologies than I am in how his endless capacity to project his own sicknesses will be used in his campaign. So let’s look at what Trump does that is despicable, what we might suspect he does from his incessant projections, and what of his own despicable character he’ll dig out and try to throw at Biden.

Trump lies all the time. He’ll falsely accuse Biden of lying and will invent supposed lies.

Trump is ignorant, stupid and appears to be mentally disintegrating. His speech is incoherent. He has already accused Biden of being what he himself is. He’s put out a TV commercial plucking misleading phrases out of Biden’s communications.

Trump is a racist.

Trump is a traitor to his country.

Trump is a failure with an addiction to accumulating money, no matter how dishonestly, criminally or fraudulently.

He is in love with, in thrall to tyrants. He’s begun to accuse Biden of being in bed with China (with film clips of Biden with Chinese officials during Biden’s time as Obama’s go-to guy for difficult diplomatic reckonings) and then, of course, there were the series of lies about Ukraine that led to Trump’s impeachment. I assume Trump will come up with other video clips of Biden with bad guys with whom he had to deal. And Trump will say that money changed hands because that’s all he knows about relationships with other countries. Or other people.

Trump is a sexual assaulter and misogynist. The unpersuasive story about that woman (I’ve already forgotten her name) who accused Biden of assault has already disappeared from the news. Even at the time I thought it could be a Trump campaign dirty trick. Now I’m sure. He may try to dredge it up again, if he gets really desperate.

As a family man, Trump is a monster. And has his wretched brood out there lying about Biden, testing out ugly false accusations.

And then there are numerous incidents that cause me to suspect Trump is a pedophile. For any of you not on Twitter, Trump’s surrogates have been tentatively dribbling weird little suggestions about Biden and his relationship with children.

The bizarre accusations of pedophilia have been in Putin’s tool box for years. (I’m pretty suspicious about Putin, too.) I can’t help imagining that those Putin-Trump phone calls are the acolyte taking instructions from the master, Putin telling Trump how to accuse his opponents of repulsive sexual perversion.

Roger Stone used pedophilia against a competitor of one of his political clients.

Pedophilia is an easy, even lazy smear. All you need is a cloaked Twitter account in an official-sounding name and a lie. You put it out into the world, maybe via a crazy conspiracy site, and…there it goes and the sort of people who voted for Trump could believe it.

So let’s all watch out for it, especially since the list of Jeffrey Epstein’s pals may soon be available via Ghislaine Maxwell’s black books or testimony. Trying to figure out what is driving Trump most crazy — his open financial books (and subsequent criminal charges) or exposed videos of his sexual activities in Russia and/or in Epstein’s houses (and subsequent criminal charges) — is very, very difficult.

I do not mind wrestling with this problem.

In the meantime, let’s all be careful out there ducking those projections.

 

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