Clinical psychologist Dr. Alan Blotcky, Ph.D. spoke to Raw Story Tuesday to walk through what he thinks voters will see from President Donald Trump in the upcoming week ahead of the election.
While Dr. Blotcky isn’t part of the “Duty To Warn” movement, he does support it and he explained how mental health experts have been able to diagnose the president without ever having him sit in their offices.
“The most important information that a mental health professional can get is observable behavior,” he explained. “It’s not just his observable behavior we have access to. We have thousands of examples of his tweets, of his statements, of his interviews, his audios, his videos. So, we have many years of his accumulated information directly from him both verbally and behaviorally. Yes, we don’t get to meet with him in our office in a one-on-one session. And that’s important because that would give us even more information into his thinking and feeling. But having access to vast amounts of verbal statements and behaviors is crucial.”
Dr. Blotcky explained that Trump is “so obviously impaired and so obviously disordered” that it would even be difficult to find a mental health professional who wouldn’t agree with that assessment after four years in office.
For anyone who thinks Trump is merely playing the role of an angry politician, he explained that throughout Trump’s life, he’s been consistent in his narcissism.
“If you look at the whole of his life it’s very consistent,” he said. “It’s outlandish to think this is just an act. This is him.”
As Trump goes into the final week of his campaign, Dr. Blotcky anticipates seeing more desperation from Trump. He thinks that Trump will bring more “wild accusations, conspiracy theories and threats.” It has become clear that the president is reverting to what worked for him in 2016, “his old bag of tricks,” as Dr. Blotcky described it. The only difference is that this time around, it not only isn’t working to move the needle, but his multi-rally strategy is also serving as superspreader events.
“I think he’s going to throw out any outlandish things he can think of, hoping that something will stick,” said the psychologist.
In a normal campaign, the candidate would be pivoting to something that actually works to expand their base of support. Trump is sticking with his existing supporters, even if that means he won’t have enough of them next Tuesday.
“That’s why he always doubles down, triples-down, quadruples-down,” said. Dr. Blotcky. “He can’t [change] because to change would be a sign of weakness or failure. And he always thinks he’s right. He thinks he’s the smartest person on the planet. He thinks he knows more than the experts. He thinks he knows more than the scientists. And so, what he thinks automatically becomes the prevailing strategy on his part and he can’t pivot. He’s incapable of pivoting. I think it comes from his psychiatric disorder. I think he is so grandiose and so self-absorbed that he can’t see outside himself. And I don’t even think he understands that he needs to pivot because I think he thinks he’s right. And if he’s right, there’s nothing to talk about.”
For the every-day self-aware person who is capable of being insightful and psychologically minded, that level of delusion isn’t an option.
“I think until recently he has thought of himself as unstoppable,” said Dr. Blotcky. “And I think he still thinks he’s unstoppable. I think he thinks he’s going to pull it out in the end just like he did in 2016 and if he can get it to the courts his new Supreme Court Justice will help tip the scales.”
If Trump loses, Dr. Blotcky thinks he will play the victim card, allege the election was rigged, there is a conspiracy against him and that mail-in votes shouldn’t even be counted.
“I think he’s going to turn to his attorney general to try and get him to begin some actions,” he continued. “I think he’s going to try and take it to the courts and I think he’s going to try to give the message to his supporters all around the country that he is the victim, that he is aggrieved, and that they need to support him in his victimhood.”
For Trump’s supporters, even those who held their noses and voted for him four years ago, Trump has been able to tap in them a kind of grievance that they have been ignored by politicians.
“They believe in him because they feel aggrieved,” said Dr. Blotcky. “They feel like the political system has left them behind. They feel like victims. So, I think they identify with him and I think they like chaos. They like the rebelliousness of this president. They want to turn the political system upside down because they feel like the system has hurt them. So, he is kind of their supreme leader as far as wreaking havoc in the political system. When he says ridiculous things, they cheer him on because he’s expressing their own pent-up frustrations and feelings our system has left them behind and have hurt them.”
One of Trump’s greatest accomplishments has been in fearmongering and painting former Vice President Joe Biden as a socialist to people who don’t know what that even means has been a successful tactic. It’s one that the GOP has employed for years, but such an accusation isn’t as effective as people understand American socialist programs like Medicare, the interstate system and public schools.
“What he’s been successful at is selling the idea that Joe Biden and the Democrats are socialists and they’re going to change your neighborhood and that your way of life is going to be vastly different,” said Dr. Blocky. “I think there’s a group of Republicans that buy that. I know some people that buy that.”
Trump’s claim that somehow neighborhoods are going to become chaos-driven riot-zones is a “fabrication,” he said, but “fearmongering works.”
It is possible to bring those people back from that, but Dr. Blotcky says it will come with Biden including them as part of his new administration.
“If you cut off the head, which is Trump, I think there is going to be residual stuff, but I think if Joe Biden keeps talking about being the president for all Americans, and not just Democrats, that’s the strategy. That’s the attitude you have to have — that our new president has to be the president for all of us, and they have to listen to him,” Dr. Blotcky went on. “A lot of his supporters, I see them in the crowds, are people who really have been left behind by this economy and they feel like they are not listened to or valued. And I think one of the major functions of the president is to listen to everybody and have everybody feel like we’re a part of what we’re trying to do in this democracy.”
In the immediate aftermath, Dr. Blotcky agrees that the Trump supporters will still take to the streets and that there will be violence, but that Biden will have the capacity to calm the nation much more so than Trump.
“If [Trump] gets agitated and riled up, you’re going to see a lot of his supporters get agitated and riled up,” he explained.
In an interview Monday, Cindy, a self-described Republican evangelical explained that her children were kind and thoughtful in how they spoke to her about the election and helped her walk through options because she didn’t like Trump, but still had conservative issues she was dedicated to. Dr. Blotcky agreed that the soft and kind way of speaking to Trump supporters is the best way to help move them. For some, he acknowledged that it’s never going to work, but for those who are looking for other options in the final week of the election, it’s the best way to persuade. No one moves voters by screaming “you’re wrong!” at them.
As the U.S. goes into the holiday season, he explained that’s the best way to get through with your families. Yelling and screaming over politics never persuades anyone.
Dr. Blotcky closed by reinforcing that what Trump has done to diminish the dangers of the coronavirus has been reckless and criminal.
“Donald Trump has made the decision that losing American lives is fine. Our very lives have become unimportant, ignorable, even forgettable to him,” he wrote for AL.com in May.
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