Trump as Dictator Is a Classic Case of Projection


If you haven’t heard, Donald Trump and his MAGA Republicans are planning a coup. “A Trump dictatorship is increasingly inevitable,” Robert Kagan, an editor at large at the Washington Post, writes in a recent 6,000-word essay that compares America’s fractious democracy with Weimar Germany.

Budding opinion writers are instructed not to draw inapt comparisons to Hitler, yet Mr. Trump’s opponents are casting aside such conventions in much the same way they’re jettisoning political and legal ones. Only by convincing themselves that Mr. Trump threatens the existence of the republic can they justify their own weaponization of government to stop him. “When a marauder is crashing through your house, you throw everything you can at him—pots, pans, candlesticks—in the hope of slowing him down and tripping him up,” Mr. Kagan writes.

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In recent days there have been increasing statements made by public figures, critics and media personalities, questioning US President Donald Trump’s leadership style, and speculating if his decisions and attitudes are geared towards an autocratic style of rule. In many ways, Trump’s leadership style has been compared to that of a dictator. While there is certainly cause for concern for the future of the US, this is an interesting case of the psychological term ‘Projection’.

Projection is defined as the unconscious transfer of one’s impulses and emotions onto another person and/or object. Trump has been characterized by a long history of attacking those who disagree with him, accusing them of various forms of corruption and misconduct. It appears this type of behavior is a classic, yet unconscious, case of projection.

In recent months, Trump has made repeated attempts to challenge the campaign finance laws of the United States. He has also threatened legal challenges to those who dare to disagree with him. His style of rule and continual efforts to evade courtroom scrutiny have been compared to that of a dictator.

The irony of these comparisons lies in the reality that Trump has often been the target of allegations that he has broken campaign finance laws and misused public office to benefit his own interests. It is easy to think that perhaps Trump is somehow projecting his own misdeeds onto his opponents when he accuses them of corruption.

It is also possible that the President may be responding to the repeated rhetoric of his critics, who have accused him of engaging in autocratic behavior. In this case, his behavior could be seen as a coping mechanism, a way of deflecting negative comments and preserving his sense of power.

In either case, Trump’s insistence on retaining more and more power and authority, despite the laws of the land, is cause for alarm. His leadership style is not democratic and he appears to have little regard for those who disagree with him. This is why Trump’s critics are rightfully alarmed by the resemblance of his style to that of a dictator.

Whether it is a case of projection or a coping mechanism, Trump’s behavior will remain a topic of concern and speculation for the months and years to come. What is certain is that the US needs strong leaders who will adhere to the laws of democracy and seek to serve the people. America’s future depends on it.

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