The psychology of becoming president

Earlier today, I became aware of a nearly three-month old article on Scientific American that psychoanalyzes Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.   There’s no question that this article captures pretty much everything that we’ve seen from The Donald since he announced his intention to seek the presidency.   

And when I read it, I couldn’t help but think of WikiLeaks.   

Not the internal emails to and from Hillary Clinton’s advisor John Podesta.  I mean some of the information they got from Chelsea Manning while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.  

One of the big scandals in that data dump, was that we maintained psychological profiles of foreign leaders, complete with guidance on the best tactics to use when dealing with them.   

I remember thinking at the time that this was interesting information and not exceptionally surprising even if some of the information might be less-than-flattering to both our allies and enemies.  Surely other lead diplomats in other countries maintain similar profiles; one wonders, for example, what the Russian foreign ministry thinks about President Obama, psychologically.   Conceptually, I wouldn’t be surprised if the only thing that’s truly changed about these profiles in the past, say, 500 years is the technology behind the way these profiles are maintained and the formalization of the language used.  

And I have little doubt that Hillary has had someone on her staff at least since Donald Trump became the GOP nominee, documenting him the same way foreign leaders were documented for her in the State Department.   Just look at her performance in all three debates.  And the people who spoke at the convention.  

She knew exactly how to push Trump’s buttons and baited him each time.  Whether it’s Khizr Khan at the convention, or Alicia Machado, or his tax returns, or the tape where he bragged of grabbing women by the pussy, or even last night the claim that the Emmys were rigged, he fell for pretty much everything she threw at him.  And she gave him just enough rope to hang himself.  This was most evident in both the second and third debates where Trump started out reasonably calm but after about a half hour he was becoming more visibly agitated.   

(Note: since I haven’t spoken about pussygate, I’ll just say that the scandal isn’t the use of the word “pussy”.  That’s arguably the single most common slang term for vagina and to be outraged at the use of the word is at best naive to the point of stupidity.   The outrage is in the act of bragging about the grabbing without regard to whether the person being grabbed, wanted to be grabbed…)

There’s no doubt in my mind that Hillary Clinton learned a great deal as our country’s chief diplomat, some of which we only know due to WikiLeaks.   And the simple truth is that she used it to her advantage to do to Donald Trump what sixteen republicans couldn’t do in the primaries.  

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