Academic journal article The Journal of Psychohistory

A Psychobiographical and Psycho-Political Comparison of Clinton and Trump

Academic journal article The Journal of Psychohistory

A Psychobiographical and Psycho-Political Comparison of Clinton and Trump

Article excerpt


It is easy to focus on the dissimilarities between the lives and politics of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Donald John Trump.1 The man views himself as revitalizing Manhattan and in the process building a real estate empire and a reputation as a celebrity personality-of achieving the American dream of business success.2 The woman sees herself as devoted to political change, politics, and social welfare policies. Hillary's focus has been on building her credentials to run for president, and Donald's on accruing money and staying in the public eye. The Democrat sees herself as a political healer of social inequalities, and the Republican views himself as the man who can restore America to the greatness he thinks has slipped away. In the course of their activities, the woman has made millions as a political author and political speaker, while the man has made billions through his real estate, television, licensing, and other ventures.

There are also similarities between these well-educated baby boomers. Both are graduates of Ivy League institutions. Trump received his bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and Hillary's law degree is from Yale University. His prior college education was two years at Fordham University and her undergraduate degree was from Wellesley College. In terms of age, they are only separated by 16 months, with Trump being the elder. If elected, at inauguration Trump would be 70.5 of age and have a statistical life expectancy of 14.1 years and Clinton would be 69 with a life expectancy of 17.1 years.3 Neither is a natural politician. Hillary literally said this,4 and the New York billionaire disdains the normal mies of politics and portrays himself as an anti-politician.5 Each is a lightning rod for criticism with extremely high negatives in public opinion polls.

It should be noted that there is an enormous amount of valuable biographical material on the two presumptive nominees. Indeed, the sources are overwhelming and often contradictory. Trump is a media magnet, loquacious individual, prolific author, and a man who for over four decades has welcomed publicity. He, some members of his family, and associates have been interviewed for many decades. His books are often repetitive, but they are also quite autobiographical. Hillary Clinton has published five books, including her autobiography, and has had an enormous number of books and articles written about her. She has been in the public eye for almost as long as Donald Trump.


As is the case for all but one of our 43 presidents, they are Protestants. Trump is of Scottish and German descent, although he initially followed his father in claiming to have Swedish6 rather than German ancestors. Frederick Trump (originally Drumpf) thrived in America working as a barber, restaurateur, and boom-town hotel and brothel keeper. He returned to Germany to find a bride. After several subsequent years in America together, they sought to return to their hometown because of her homesickness in 1904. However, Donald's grandfather was rebuffed because he had been labeled a draft and tax dodger when he left Germany at age 16 in 1885. The family then settled in New York City.

Hillary is of Welsh, French, Scottish, English, and Native American ancestry.7 Both of their fathers were energetic businessmen: Frederick Christ Trump (1905-1999) having enough success that Donald was raised in a 23-room house with nine bathrooms, in Jamaica Estates, Queens, New York. The family had a live-in-maid and a black chauffeur. Donald went to private schools and was picked up by a limousine. Still, he reports having a paper route and collecting empty bottles at his father's worksites to get the deposits. Hillary walked to public school in a Chicago suburb where mothers stayed at home. She does not remember having any Asian, Black, or Jewish neighbors, and none as classmates until, due to overcrowding, she was transferred to another school late in her high school career. …

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