I’ve looked for parallels in US History, in particular US Presidents, to find a comparison to DJT. I couldn’t find any, nor could my historian colleagues. So, I had to go elsewhere, and behold, I found a parallel in … Russia.
Of Romanov dynastic roots (think Peter the Great, and Catherine [also] the Great), Nicholas I was the Emperor of Russia from 1825 until 1855. Along with his efforts to expand Russia with his peasant armies and micromanaged generals, he is known as a political autocrat. Repression of dissent, economic stagnation, poor administrative policies, and a corrupt bureaucracy were his hallmarks. While there were successes in warfare, he’s the one that handed Russia the horrific defeat in the Crimean War of 1853–56.
Orthodoxy, Autocracy and Nationality
In 1833, Nicholas I controlling norm became "Orthodoxy, Autocracy and Nationality." This slogan grew from his reactionary policies based on orthodoxy in religion and autocracy in government. Under Nicholas I, if you were Russian, free or slave (serf), you were to prove your loyalty to the unhampered rights of the tsar. Compare such events to the then current, opposing cries heard in Western Europe of “Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality” as citizens tackled social reforms underway since the earlier French Revolution. Post-Napoleonic France’s outlook led to more freedoms while and Tsarist Russia’s led to greater repression, especially its intellectuals.
Furthermore, the arrangement of the words, “Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality” made it clear to any Russian, peasant or aristocrat, the Russian Orthodox church (on the left) was unquestionable, and Russian culture (on the right) was the only worthy culture. Meanwhile, Tsar Nicholas I would rest in the middle -- God, Tsar, Country, the middle being the one holding it all together.
Nicholas I's Orthodoxy, Autocracy and Nationality was wrapped in a blanket ideology called "Official Nationality" that was proclaimed in 1833. It was a concept that was rather new then, and remains largely undefined. Official Nationality is a mixture of self-interests in which one's own nation is seen as separate from other nation’s interests (“We’ve nothing in common”). However, it includes a focus on folk idioms, local history, and art of a nation. Sounds good? Not really. It is the view that the absolutist government demands. Under the mandate of the autocrat, Official Nationality tries to convince its denizens that they are a chosen people, will save humanity and prevent social decay. Call it forced romanticism of a despot’s idealized people and veneration of their ruler. What stirs the pot is not so much the inward-facing nostalgia of one’s own culture via nationhood, but the outward anger at other nationalities, cultures, ethnic groups and beliefs. It is a form of extremism: whatever is inside is good; whatever is outside is bad by definition.
Official Nationality = MAGA
Likewise, Trump’s “MAGA,” his own brand of nationalism, is full of anger at the world and fears that foreign interests and trade will overshadow local interests. MAGA represents Trump’s “call” for America to stand up to various social decline by looking inward and “backwards” for ideals. Yet herein MAGA, also like Official Nationalism, lacks real meaning. No Trump follower can define MAGA. What again? When was it great? How so? It is a meaningless slogan rooted in Nationalism and fear of global social and economic tides.
Without clearly defining their motto, Trump’s followers manifest their own understanding of MAGA in their unique and extreme patriotism. Regrettably, Trump and Trump’s follower’s use of “patriotism” in the current polarized US politics automatically places the speaker on the defensive, as if to maintain some uncertain sense of status quo. By design, Trump muddies the meaning of MAGA further to include pledges of loyalty which he presses onto his followers, equating national interests with Trump personally (accent on allegiance).
As Tsar Nicholas I started his reign, he immediately began protecting the “status quo” by ridiculing anything non-Russian. He maligned it as "pseudo-knowledge." (Trump’s favorite term is “fake news”). Fearing more revolts and upheavals from the intelligentsia and promotion of Western freedoms, Nicholas I censored universities, academies of fine art, and the like as he monitored them. If he did not like the works of the artist, he bullied and humiliated the person. As Nicolas I lacked a spiritual and intellectual deepness, Trump’s blockhead intellect also lacks anything transcendent. Nicholas I defined himself as a paternal autocrat ruling his people by whatever means necessary. He set up a network of spies to squash any dissent and potential rebellion. Already, Trump has a cove of PAC’s that pay for attacks against even his own party members (RNC) who do not “tow” the Trump line. Nicholas I censored books, authors (e.g. Turgenev) and basically any intellectual and/or reformers. Trump, too, through social media, berates any expression of free speech that does not align with his own views and he threatens to sue if otherwise. Furthermore, Trump has lobbied to change libel laws to permit him to sue more speakers. Tsar Nicholas I created an official view on government, “Official Nationality,” to hound those opposed to his conformist methods. Likewise, Trump uses his MAGA slogan to deride those who do not support him, as he alone is making America “great.” (If you’re against Trump, you’re not making America great).
Nicholas I had a penchant for glitter, gold braid, and lavish dress, all the way down to his horses. He aspired to create an obedient people who did not ask questions. He promoted his friends, mostly soldiers, who were more loyal than talented, more devoted than intelligent. In his inner circle, he opted for fidelity. He liked to say he needed loyal advisors, not smart ones. They pranced in their showy cavalcades, but were hopeless in battle. Nicholas I’s reign wore thin and finally it was seen through as an ineffective, corrupt administration. Historians frequently conclude that Nicholas I’s reign was an utter failure, at home and abroad. Do we see the parallels in Trump’s life even before the Whitehouse?
What Have We to Learn?
Almost two centuries have passed since Nicolas I’s Official Nationalism, and we’ve learned great lessons post WWII, that as nations bind together and trade with each other, so they would compete commercially and not resort to war. International trade stabilizes a shaky world. Yet, under Trump’s brand of MAGA, as he pushes for more centralized power, Trump’s nationalism (nee Bannon’s ideology) will destabilize and bring his own form of repression of dissent, economic stagnation, poor administrative policies, and a corrupt bureaucracy.
Again, I observe twins - Trump and the noted Russian tsar, Nicholas I, their chief equivalent being how each, Nicholas I in his Romanov dynasty, and Trump, in his narcissistic prison, sees himself standing squarely in the middle: between God and Country. Trump, like Nicholas I, idealizes ultimate power, authority and unquestioning loyalty, traits which are far more dangerous in a democratic Republic, than a two hundred year old dynasty.
However, as Trump continues in the Whitehouse, our fate (just as Russia’s was) is straightforward: Trump’s own brand of nationalism will fail, at home and abroad. He will seek more adulation, “apologies” from his critics, and greater limits on free speech (more attacks on academics). He will spread his form of Official Nationalism, that is, MAGA, and further divide the American voters in extremist ideologies.
In the end, after Trumpism is dead, as it cannot subsist, and to speed civilization’s recovery, Trump’s followers should understand that human cooperation and cooperative societies (as they compete peacefully) will survive and characterize positive change and adaption, not this old brand of nationalism draped in a “Trump wrapper” of MAGA.
Did you hear that crack this morning? Trump’s tweet:
Jun 16, 2017 07:23:08 AM – The Fake News Media hates when I use what has turned out to be my very powerful Social Media – over 100 million people! I can go around them
First, this is false as it is reported as much as half of Trump’s Twitter followers are “bots,” and not real people, but fake accounts creating false statements that help dis-inform the public. Furthermore, media have more to report whenever Trump tweets, so where’s the logic on their “hate” response? There is none.
What this particular tweet means is we’ve crossed a threshold. We’re into the second stage of Trump’s malignant narcissism. DJT’s "narcissistic supply" of adoration is running low. Indeed, he later tweeted the Rasmussen poll stating his 50% approval rate. (Seriously, he’s bragging about 50% from a pollster which is known as being the most inaccurate of the national pollsters). Psychologists generally conclude that various fears in a young person’s life are the lump sums causes for the later narcissistic personality disorder. For whichever psychological causes existed during Trump’s growth, his narcissism is a driving force that compels him to further vilify all perceived enemies. His narcissist rage inflames him. Yet consider when it does: early morning tweets – the “hour of the wolf” when the “sleepless are haunted by their deepest fears.”
First stage: Criticism produces a feverish effort to protect his ego. Trump claims his own social media is more powerful than the free press. Seriously? He’s saying that one man’s tweets can offset and even best all the vitality, integrity, energy and responsible journalism that exist? Did you hear that crack in those wee hours? We’re so used to Trump’s rants, that perhaps this tirade escaped you. It is a last-ditch effort to keep his supply of self-adoration from dangerously leaking too low.
Trump neither has nor will he ever take criticism. Yet he has the delusion that as President, he would be and should be the recipient of thanks and praise, even while he dishes out his own criticism of others. Watch how he tweets about Democrats in the House/Senate. Trump sees himself as perfect (consider his views on his own genetics and his views on his diet). Thus, criticism from MSM and all points on the compass doesn’t produce an introspective effect in Trump’s ego, but a “narcissistic rage."
Dr. Seltzer wrote this of NPD in 2011:
“Another way of putting this is that, exquisitely susceptible to criticism because it endangers their frail sense of internal validation, they take great pains to devalue or invalidate the person criticizing them. To achieve such dismissal of the threatening other, they'll do everything possible to negate their viewpoint. And this can include much more than blaming or indignantly challenging them. For narcissists, when their position has been exposed as false, arbitrary, or untenable, will suddenly become evasive, articulate half-truths, lie (actually, as much to themselves as others), flat-out contradict themselves (and to a degree that can leave the other person gaping!), and freely rewrite history (literally--and audaciously--making things up as they go along).”
This could literally be a prophecy of Trump’s presidency!
Second stage: Wait for Trump’s severe depression in the coming weeks/months as the federal investigation tightens its noose around Trump and Trump’s associates, the forever lionizing team of loyal sycophants Trump has assembled. Trump has never in his life faced such criticism; and as POTUS he must stand and take it, as there’s nowhere to run or hide. His overinflated ego is vulnerable in the open terrain of free speech. His depression will, though, cause him to hide or to become less accessible. His tweets will repeat, his erratic world-changing decisions will become more unreasonable, as they will also become more intense. Nothing will dent his sense of self. Indeed, he will think himself more lovable, benevolent, and reasonable – in short, perfect.
These statements here may confuse a few readers as Trump, like all successful narcissists, on his surface appears confident, self-assured. See how he boasts! However, deep inside lurk fears of unworthiness. Better, see the type of boasts, such as “Look, I’m President now!” The content of the boast is his outer cocky-self attempting to convince his inner flawed-self of the truth of such bluster. No one else is convinced by such hyperboles and over-blown statements.
This early morning’s bragging tweet is nothing more than Trump’s lying attempt to convince Trump, himself, he’s solidly right. Nothing in that tweet is going to convince others that he’s right.
Third Stage: When Trump’s ego is drained to this low point of adulation, where his reactions are so fanciful and pretend, with Trump’s compulsion to see himself as perfect (perhaps, immortal), he will be brutal as Trump always does. His actions on Cuba, Qatar, DAPA, and more today echo the early morning crack in his narcissistic shell. The next stage is a platform of extreme and unreasonable suspicions, which produces even more disruptive lies, focused upon systematized delusions, usually of persecution. In other words, full-blown paranoia.
As Michael Samsel, said, “There is some over-lap between narcissism and psychopathy, but they are not the same. Psychopathy is composed of strong vitality and self-interest and a functional lack of feeling. That is, unlike narcissism, where feeling is denied but continues to have some sort of 'shadow' or 'reactive' effect, in psychopathy, the person is 'freed' from any guidance function of emotions. In psychopathy dominance and getting one's way are paramount, and how one is viewed by others is not important for its own sake, but only as a tool. Psychopaths are most upset by not getting their way, while narcissists are most upset by being devalued or ignored.”
Here is our danger:
“Narcissism can be present with depression or 'collapsed states,’ while this never happens with psychopathy. But psychopathy and narcissism may occur together and form 'malignant narcissism', which is the florid form of narcissism most recognized (and feared) in popular culture.”
Remember that when the reality confronts the “extreme Narcissist,” the first response (first stage) is anxiety and a re-writing of the situation as a defensive and even greater restructuring of reality. If more evidence confronts the narcissist, the self-absorbed personality retreats into severe depression (second stage). Then, extreme paranoia in the White House (third stage).
Mind you, I don’t want to “fix” the unfixable Trump. His personality disorder is pathological, and in this position of leadership, he is disrupting world order. He must go. I’m writing to convey that as Trump tweets his pomposity and grandiose self-love, his need for admiration just hit a fragile point. As the stage he stands on is collapsing, a collapse from within is coming. Even in the end, he will block out all negative feedback, and so will his loyalists. It is the coming “cost” of Constitutional chaos, autocracy and ego driven wars, other social evils, which I’m truly concerned about. Again, consider the facts stated in this particular tweet. It is very much unlike others.
In a recent article in the Huffington Post, authors Seth Davin Norrholm, PH.D. & David M. Reiss, M.D. provided a keen insight into DJT's personality disorder, Narcissism. The main question: why does DJT lie all the time, always "twisting facts" and distorting reality?
Here is a summary of their answers. However, note these doctors have given their warnings over their own professional Goldwater rule; second, that these doctors refer the personality disorder as “extreme” narcissism. I am voting they would agree in DJT’s case, we can call it “malignant” narcissism:
1. “The extreme Narcissist will distort reality and tenaciously maintain the existence of their distorted reality.” It’s a defense common among many personality disorders and various forms of psychopathology that protects Trump from distress. So, to distort reality, Trump preserves his grandiose view of himself, even if the distortion has “only the slightest chance of plausibility.” Trump “sees” what others don’t see (and thus he deludes his own sense of self-importance and intelligence), so he challenges listeners’ patience with half-truths and exaggerations.
2. “The extreme Narcissist lives in the moment with little regard for linear time, cause and effect, or behavioral consequences.” “Their perception is that it is all encompassed in terms of an immediate “now.”” Thus, Trump can experience a “now” moment and nothing in the past matters as he “re-experiences” the past (nothing is fixed in linear time). Furthermore, as Trump seeks adoration, he boasts and explains away his misdeeds without worrying about any future consequences. He will wiggle out of any factual narrative when confronted. (When has Trump not defended his present-self versus his past-self not even thinking about his future-self?)
“This may, at least in part, explain why there have been so many examples of this President contradicting his previous statements, speaking extemporaneously without substance to back his claims, or “flip-flopping” between positions, all without any indication that he is aware of or experiencing a sense of conflict or inconsistency, or any need to offer an explanation for the objectively illogical presentation.”
The authors go further to say that for “extreme narcissists,” who live in the “now” bubble, the future may not even include their own death, but some type of “magical immortality” forever glorifying in their own adulation.
3. “The extreme Narcissist develops a fantastical reality within “collapsed time.” Perhaps due to trauma or abuse in childhood in order to better cope with discomfort, time “stands still” for the child, or perhaps that same abused or troubled child without the promise of future comfort or reassurance, who has nothing to which to look forward, the child relieves the distress with immediate gratification in the bubble of “now.” He never seeks a future moment of relief. The authors speculate as to Trump’s childhood traumas or struggles as cause/effect for Trump’s malignancy.
(This “explanation” accounts for some portion of Trump’s previous life and any cause/effect leading to Trumps current life. Yet if such were the case, as we all have experienced end-runs of trauma and stress as children, wouldn’t we all be Trumps? )
Which leads the authors’ discussion to the next point:
4. When the reality confronts the “extreme Narcissist,” the first response is anxiety and a re-writing of the situation as a defensive and even greater restructuring of reality. If more evidence confronts the narcissist, the self-absorbed personality retreats into severe depression. (Hence, why my conclusion that Trump will resign, impeachment proceedings or none). Next stage is “full-blown” paranoid state. And, with great emphasis, the authors warn of Trump’s danger to “the millions upon whom his actions have consequences.”
Let’s just make that billions.
Author Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/seth-davin-norrholm
 The informal name given to Section 7 in the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) Principles of Medical Ethics, which states it is unethical for psychiatrists to give a professional opinion about public figures they have not examined in person, and from whom they have not obtained consent to discuss their mental health in public statements.
UPDATE and reference "Collapsed time": 2017.06 13 "Probably one of the most important aspects of his personality is that for Donald Trump there’s really no tense other than the present tense. He doesn’t think terribly much about the future, and he also doesn’t at all acknowledge that the past exists. I think he almost uniquely, in my experience, doesn’t really experience the past in his day-to-day life. When you ask him about things that took place earlier in his life, it’s almost as if they come fresh to him every time you mention them."