I do not want to hear --- from anyone, friend or foe --- that Donald Trump is, somehow, a “brilliant” political strategist. Or that, by virtue of being wealthy, he must be “incredibly smart” --- as he often tells us. Having watched Donald Trump since the late 1980s, when I first lived in Manhattan, Trump was a laughingstock --- and it was generally accepted (by anyone with a brain) that he was dumb as a stump. And he is! This brief essay has one goal: disabusing any and all who read it from considering, even remotely, that Donald Trump is intelligent. He is not. He is not even marginally smart.
Donald Trump is a Lizard Brain, period. If you are unfamiliar with the term, here is what Joseph Troncale, M.D. posted in Psychology Today on April 22, 2014:
In 1954, the limbic cortex was described by neuroanatomists. Since that time, the limbic system of the brain has been implicated as the seat of emotion, addiction, mood, and lots of other mental and emotional processes. It is the part of the brain that is a phylogenetic ally to the very primitive. Many people call it “The Lizard Brain” because the limbic system is about all a lizard has for brain function. It is in charge of fight, flight, feeding, fear, freezing-up, and fornication. The limbic system is much more powerful than we humans credit it to be. (bold, mine)
Focus on the phrase “It is in charge of fight, flight, feeding, fear, freezing-up, and fornication. “ Beyond the lovely alliteration, consider how many of those terms directly apply to Donald Trump. Fight. Feeding. Fear. Fornication. (“Freezing-up” applies to Trump when he has to read and “flight” applies when he is asked to respond to facts!) But “fight, feeding, fear, and fornication” certainly sum up our Liar in Chief.
Fight. This, of course, is Trump’s strong suit. Always the bully, he loves the notion of a “fight” and engages in it on an almost constant basis. In the wake of the pipe bomb mailings and the synagogue shootings, after he stumbled through teleprompter readings of the expected sentiments, Trump quickly went on to blame the media (while denying any personal responsibility in the bombing episode) and call for armed guards in Jewish houses of worship ---- as well as a stronger death penalty (this, of course, from the “pro-life” party leader). Less than simple, Trump is consistently simplistic --- Lizard Brain. He has no ability to critically consider complex problems and his reaction (to almost anything) is to find the angle which allows him to fight.
Feeding. This is a lighter subject but one which is well documented. The Chief Prevaricator prefers fast-food because it is less likely to be “poisoned” (paranoid much?). His only real kinship with Mexico seems to be his photo with a Taco Bowl, and we know that, while loudly divulging national security matters at Mar-a-Lago, the only thing he can real describe in great detail is the chocolate cake. We are also aware that he revels in receiving two scoops of ice cream when everyone else only gets one (always the gracious host!) and reportedly drinks 12 cans of Diet Coke a day (isn’t addiction another characteristic of Lizard Brain?).
Fear. This, of course, is Trump’s stock-in-trade. Being the fearful, insecure person he is, it is only natural that he appeal to the fears of his “base” (what a wonderful two-edged, descriptive word that is!). Borderline agoraphobic, Trump fears anything and anyone that is the least bit foreign or alien to his immediate, sheltered, white male experience. As a result he tries to engender as much fear as possible over the “migrant caravan” approaching from Honduras. Spewing lies about MS-13 and “Middle Easterners” Trump relies on his Fox News/Rush Limbaugh base to believe they should be afraid of this “horde” which is clearing marching to the U.S. to “steal” their jobs and rape their women! His blatant lying about the Democrats support --- financial and spiritual --- of this “caravan” simply puts in high relief how his own fears are now transferred to his non-college educated white male base (Cesar Sayoc, Jr., for example). Expect this rhetoric of fear to ratchet up as we approach November 6th and, should the Democrats take the House of Representatives, there’s no telling what tall, fear-mongering lies Trump will concoct as he fends off investigations and impeachment proceedings.
Finally, Fornication. A wake of infidelity and scandalous behavior has trailed Trump since his Ivanka/Marla Maples days, when he would call Page Six reporters, pretending to be a publicist named “John Barron” or “John Miller,” lauding the “conquests” of Donald J. Trump. His numerous appearances on Howard Stern’s radio program, as well as in the pages of Playboy, simply reinforce what we heard on the Access Hollywood bus --- this is, indeed, the Fornicator in Chief. Simple minded with only the basest of instincts, Trump is as grotesque as Bill Clinton without the slimy “charm” of Slick Willy. They are both abhorrent, of course, and neither should get a “pass” from the voting public. The Stormy Daniels debacle is only the latest, most publicized of Trump’s forays into the swamps of infidelity and two-timing.
Despite all this, Trump’s “base” loves him all the more for his disdain for those “elites” he rails against. While bragging about his UPenn, Ivy League education, he nonetheless rails about the “elite” media that never treats him fairly --- except, of course, for Fox News, the sycophant network. In all, it is difficult to not see Trump for the Lizard Brain he is and to not recognize that a large percentage of his base (the Cesar Sayoc, Jr.’s of the world) share his narrow and base relationship to the world at large, as well as facts. Others, like Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Lindsay Graham, Chuck Grassley, Devin Nunes, et al are simply so power hungry and greedy they are willing to hoodwink Lizard Brain Nation into thinking Trump is, in fact, “the greatest” while they unabashedly remove health care and social services (those “entitlements” that working people pay for throughout their working lives!!) to guarantee that unrestrained capitalism can triumph.
As an educator, I will take my share of the blame for helping to create an environment where the under-educated and unthinking masses have finally lost their way and are more than willing to follow this Lizard Brain Pied Piper down a path leading to their own destruction. I doubt the Republican Party leadership will ever own up to their own callous, greedy, and unpatriotic groveling at the feet of the Lizard Brain in Chief.
Please vote on November 6th!