He is a colossal failure. He has had six corporate bankruptcies involving his casinos and hotels. In a country obsessed with the NFL, his own professional football team, the New Jersey Generals, and its entire league failed. He couldn’t sell his wine or steaks or vodka or bottled water; he couldn’t sell his magazine or his board game or commuter air travel; they all failed. His university was fraudulent, is now involved in two class-action lawsuits, and is permanently out of business. His fraudulent philanthropic foundation, now shuttered, was used to enrich himself and his family, not to help those in need for whom the foundation was established.

He claims to be a Christian, but cites the Bible about as often as he goes to church, which seems to be never. He has been accused of rape, sexual assault, and/or sexual harassment by at least 25 women. He has cheated on his wives (three marriages) and paid hush money to a porn star and to a former Playboy Bunny.

His doctors have lied about his height and weight to make him appear healthier and more virile than he is. He wears make-up to disguise aging and blemishes; his hair is colored and lacquered in place with copious amounts of hairspray; his diet consists of Diet Coke, junk food, and dishes rich in sugar and fat; his only exercise appears to be golf. Some say that he’s a decent player.

He is also an inveterate liar. The Washington Post found that he lied over 30,500 times when president. When approaching banks for loans, he inflated the values of some of his properties and then deflated the value of the same properties when he had to pay taxes on them. To assuage his ego and inflate his wealth, he lied that his New York City condo was three times it true size. He has sustained the lie for years that he is far richer than he is.

He is a narcissist and an egomaniac. He does not apologize, since he never does anything wrong. Indeed, he’ll tell you: Everything he does is perfect. All of his relationships appear to be transactional and are based solely on loyalty to him. He lacks empathy and judges everything by how he benefits.

Having failed in his 2020 run for the presidency, he incited a mob to storm the Capitol to stop the peaceful transition of power. He lied that he had won the election “in a landslide,” but was denied the office because of widespread voter fraud. He and his team filed 62 lawsuits based on this claim of voter fraud. He failed in 61 of the 62. He has offered no evidence of widespread fraud in any state, but he keeps repeating the lie about the stolen election.

He spent over half of his weekends as president at his golf clubs and played a round of golf every 5.6 days. He charged the Secret Service over $1.4 million to stay at his hotels when they were protecting him. He was caught bribing the Ukrainian president and was impeached twice.

This is Donald J. Trump, and he is the standard bearer for the Republican Party — the party of Christian righteousness, family values, and fiscal responsibility. How can that be? It can be, because Trump is the repository of the projected shadows that lurk in the psyches of most of today’s GOP.

Neurotic persons lack psychological integration within themselves. They then project their own distorted and alienated selves onto others, seeing in those others the very elements that they hate and/or fear within themselves. Such persons run from what inside of them they know is bad, and because they know that it’s bad, they blame and attack others for the very failings and immoralities they house themselves.

Trump’s own life shows a history of such attacks and projections. The GOP, now the party of Trump, reflects this as well. For example, Trump and the GOP proclaim:

• “Immigrants are stealing our jobs” — when the jobs are those most people won’t do, and when “stolen jobs” are those shipped off overseas or across state lines by corporations. The Trump Organization itself has used undocumented workers for years.

• “Black Lives Matter are violent rioters,” when in fact almost all of those demonstrations were peaceful. It is Trump’s followers who stormed the Capitol, fought with and beat police, and tried to stop the certification of votes for Biden.

  • “Democrats are soft on crime; that’s why crime has increased.” Except the highest murder rates are currently in Republican-controlled states.

Meanwhile, according to the Wall Street Journal, rural areas have seen a surge in crime. Of course, all of this neglects a major cause of increased crime — the proliferation of guns. Gun homicides rose 35% between 2019 and 2020, when Trump was president. States with weak gun laws have higher rates of gun homicides and suicides.

In other words, when you listen to Republican politicians and candidates and Trump voters, almost all of what they say about evil Democrats, violent protestors, selfish elites, and unpatriotic liberals are really projections of fears within themselves that they want to combat or are desires within themselves that they want to fulfill. Looking outside means that they can never succeed in becoming healthy and whole, but self-reflection is a tool many don’t want, can’t use, or don’t have.

Trump is simply the excuse for looking outside and projecting onto others. He has made it acceptable to lie, cheat, slander, attack, and destroy, all in the name of defeating enemies that actually lie within themselves but are too scary to confront.

This doesn’t mean that Trump voters are lazy or stupid. It means, instead, as Pete Buttigieg said in 2020, that they wanted and want to burn it all down.

Burning it all down makes sense if the system is corrupt and run by deep-state actors who hate America. That’s how Trump sees it or pretends to see it. And in that context, Trump is the perfect shepherd for leading the flock in destruction.

Destroying is easier than building, and Trump, always after the easiest path, is a master of destruction. As I listed at the outset, one way or another, he has destroyed almost all of his enterprises. Trump’s greatest success is failing, and loss and destruction are its clearest signs.

And so, a TV celebrity, a con-man made fragile by insecurity and made brittle by the absence of love, gives voice to every petty grievance and resentment that the psychologically weak and vulnerable need to hear to feel good about themselves. That voice gives them permission to unleash their vitriol and violence to fight against those “others” who threaten the white Christian patriarchy that most of them will never be allowed to be a significant part of.

The irony, of course, is that this two-bit failed businessman doesn’t care an iota about these ravaged souls who swallow whole his lies and pretense. Trump wouldn’t spend an hour with his own followers, unless they paid him, which they do through his rallies.

Nevertheless, Trump provides the excuse for them to act out their fantasies of righting the wrongs in this country and saving their souls through righteous action. At what point will his followers realize that they are themselves victims and pawns, not partners and patriots?

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