Fears and Hopes about Donald Trump's Presidential Performance

By Barry, Herb | The Journal of Psychohistory, Summer 2017 | Go to article overview

Fears and Hopes about Donald Trump's Presidential Performance


Barry, Herb, The Journal of Psychohistory


Many political commentators have characterized the election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States as a disastrous and unprecedented mistake by the voters. His derogatory and belittling characterizations of his principal rivals helped him to win the Republican nomination. Subsequently, he called the Democratic nominee "crooked Hillary." He threatened to direct his prospective Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor to punish her for using her private e-mail server for some of her messages while Secretary of State, 2009-2013. He also attracted the racism of his White supporters, the desire for masculine dominance of his male supporters, and the bitterness of underpaid workers and unemployed people who lacked college education. Many of them failed to benefit from the economic recovery after the financial collapse in 2008. He won the majority of votes in small towns and mral areas in southern and Midwestern states.

Two biographies of Trump provide information published prior to the 2016 presidential election. Trump Revealed: An American Journey of Ambi- tion, Ego, Money, and Power, by Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher, is a broadly informative and objective account. The Making of Donald Trump, by David Cay Johnston is more derogatory, emphasizing his affiliation with lawyer Roy Cohn and his investments in casinos in Atlantic City.

Trump has been viewed by many Democrats as a uniquely unqualified and dangerous President. He had no leadership experience as an elected official in federal, state, or local government. He did no military service. His campaign for the presidency featured egotistic declarations, such as "I will make American great again." He promised to cancel or renegotiate many international commitments, to deport many millions of illegal immigrants, and to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, paid for by Mexico.

Another worrisome statement by President Trump, after his inauguration, was that Hillary Clinton received more votes than he because she was the choice by millions of ineligible voters. There is no evidence to indicate that there was any large number of ineligible voters who voted in the election. The statement is also implausible because voting is controlled by each state. Election districts constitute the most local level of government. President Trump also accused former President Obama of having tapped his phone prior to the election, again without any evidence.

Many are worried by his perceived authoritarian traits along with his combativeness.

There have been previous presidents who imposed threats to our civil liberties. One of the most egregious came early in the history of this country when, in 1798, Congress enacted, and our second president, Federalist John Adams, signed the four bills that are known as the Alien and Sedition Acts. They were:

1. The Naturalization Act, which made it more difficult for immigrants to become citizens.

2. The Alien Act, which permitted the president to deport any alien considered dangerous.

3. The Alien Enemies Act, which authorized the president to round up and imprison enemy aliens during wartime.

4. The Sedition Act, which threatened with fine and imprisonment anyone who "shall write, print, utter, or publish...scandalous or mischievous writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either House of the Congress...or the President...with intent to defame...or to bring them...into contempt or disrepute, or to excite against them...the hatred of the good people of the United States." (DeGregorio, 2005, page 30).

Trump is not the first President to be very different from his predecessors. An early example is our seventh president, Andrew Jackson. He was the first president to represent an interior state, Tennessee, rather than the eastern seaboard states of Virginia or Massachusetts, which had produced our first six presidents. He had killed two men in duels. …

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