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USA: Trumpism the end of the American dream? - “A triumph of collective narcissism”: How Trump unleashed forbidden desires - by Chauncey DeVega

Donald Trump embodies almost everything wrong with America: He is a greedy, craven, untruthful bigot and bully, the living product of a celebrity-driven popular culture prefaced on distraction and crudeness. Trump's political movement and presidency seem to resemble a slow-motion car accident, but instead of running away from this destruction and chaos Trump's voters and Republicans en masse largely seem to welcome the mayhem.

Much of this dynamic can be explained by Trump's skill as a storyteller who is keenly aware how to speak to the hopes and fears of the human deplorables who comprise his camp. He is a political cult leader. But Trump's public also possesses a high level of agency. His followers have made a choice to stand by their Great Leader -- even when that loyalty is personally harmful to them as well as the country they supposedly love. Why? Because Donald Trump and his supporters are intertwined in a state of collective narcissism.

Is it possible to free Donald Trump's voters from this codependency? What role does collective narcissism play in Donald Trump's authoritarian movement? How does collective narcissism encourage the kinds of political violence that have emerged during Trump's campaign and presidency? What is the relationship between social pathology, collective narcissism and the cult of personality that Trump inspires?

In an effort to answer these questions, I recently spoke with Chicago-area counselor and therapist Elizabeth Mika, a contributor to the New York Times best-selling book "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump."
This conversation has been edited for clarity and length. A longer version of this conversation can also be heard on my podcast.

How would you explain the rise of Donald Trump? How was he able to become president? 

It is a triumph of collective narcissism in America. It is also an inevitable historical, political and psychological turn. We’ve seen this before in history.

People are feeling extremely unhappy, unable to prosper or see hope for themselves and their children. There is, however, a certain segment of the population that is excluded from this: the elites.

They are victim to their own blindness and we saw this in the 2016 election when supporters of Hillary Clinton were so convinced she would win. There was no question in their minds that would be the case, so they missed what was really happening.

So we have a troubled society. One aspect of this societal disorder is the lack of value.

We lose the distinction between right and wrong. We become more and more psychopathic -- the main feature of which is the lack of conscience.

Can you provide some clear concrete examples?            

The growing inequality between the "haves" and the "have-nots." We have a society where many people cannot afford health care. Higher education is beyond the reach of most people. Social bonds are fraying.

The Trump administration is not going to make this any better. On the contrary ,it will become worse.

There is a great deal of denial about Trump and what he reflects about American society. He has given people permission to act on the worst aspects of human nature. But to criticize Trump is to be self-reflective and criticize oneself, and most people -- especially his supporters -- are not willing to do that.

Most of us can identify with psychopathic functioning in some respect. We can identify with narcissistic pathology in some respect as well. Having someone like Trump, who combines both, is quite remarkable and having this person become a world leader is even more worrisome. He lies all the time. This is part of this so-called charm. Some people call it charisma, but it’s not really charisma.

Having no conscience, Trump does not experience guilt or shame or remorse, so he can say whatever pleases him at the moment to get people to do whatever he wants or needs of them.
People fell for this because they want what he has to offer. Ultimately, Trump embodies values that people do not necessarily want to admit to

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