I find it mind-boggling how inept the media and the presidential candidates, mainly Republicans this year, have not being able to push back a bully. I say shame on all of them. They have been rolled over by an asphalt Trump truck of insults and manipulations.
The formula for handling a bully is not difficult. In fact, thousands of psychologists have probably researched this in exhaustion like any other disorder. And yes, this is a disorder. It is a symptom of a few psychological defects in a person.
There are a few traits that are good “tells”of a bully:
- Narcissism: Is there any doubt by anyone that Donald is not a narcissist?
- Over inflated ego – I thought Bill O’Reilly had the biggest ego until I saw Trump during this campaign. Trump makes O’Reilly look like the shy boy hiding in the corner of a prom. Now that is tough to out do!
- Simple tag lines: It shows a lack of depth and deficiency of true deep cognitive thought. He uses marketing tag lines which are all empty.
- Over exaggerations and lies: Have you noticed that Trump says that everything is “tremendous, the best, winners, etc?” If everything is that, then nothing is the opposite? That is by definition inherently false. Then comes the lies. A bully is unabashed to lie right to your face, despite what you know as fact and what you literally just watched him say on TV. When he says these things that every normal person can interpret, he tells us that we have lying eyes and he did not say it. What contempt for his voters!
- Insecurity: This is the biggest tell of a bully. If you are secure, you do not need to project the opposite to everyone. You simply act yourself and those actions speak for themselves.
- Constant attempts at intimidation: A bully wants you to fear his perceived strength when in truth he is much weaker than you.
- Always saying he is winning: No one wins all the time. Also, it gets boring after a while because it’s shows he has no gray areas and not capable of dealing with nuances that may not have a winner or a loser. The result could simply be the best result of a particular bad situation. Not every outcome is winning and losing.
Ok, so now that I have described the character traits of a bully, we can all agree that it fits every check mark of Donald Trump. Yet the media does not know how to deal with him?
This idea that Trump can dictate to the media what the terms will be to go on the air is humiliating. Is there no shame with television news these days? Why does the media accept going to his place of work (Trump Tower) rather than their studios where every other candidate has done? We all know that he is trying to exert a sense of superiority and get free advertisement for his Trump brand. I thought that is what paid commercials are about?
The media has been an enabler for Donald Trump because they seem to put ratings solely over integrity. Yes, the media is a business, but the business has a mission statement like every other business. We are to expect even-handed journalism of all the news. We are clearly not getting that. I do not think I have seen Donald Trump in any news studio for his entire campaign. The journalists, because of the executives they work for, now feel nervous not to upset the “money card” to call him out on most of his outrageous statements. This is so apparent and it has the effect of shaping the election for the most important position in the world.
When Trump talked about banning all Muslims from coming into the United States (even “so called” temporarily), that was the most un-American and unpatriotic thing to do. My gosh, if ever I was in the media interviewing him, I would have so many arrows in my quiver that it would act like a machine gun (except if you have irrational fears or are a white supremacist). Such a simple and hateful solution for a simple and racist man. The press continues to trounce on Clinton for putting out an untruthful talking point about Benghazi for shear political reasons, yet this is pale by comparison of what Trump says on a daily basis. Why is the media being so gentle with Trump, yet very harsh on Clinton (I am not a supporter of either).
When Fox News’ CEO Roger Ailes told Trump to shove it in his face with the threat to get rid of Megyn Kelly, I finally saw a guy who started to break this fear of Donald Trump. Good for him and look at the result. Trump did not show up for the debate like a crybaby that did not get his way (by bullying), and instead did a childish move by using our heroic veterans to take ratings away from Fox News. Well, we have a winner. Fox News. Trump lost Iowa. By his own words, he is a loser and has not won anything yet. Polls are not votes Donald. Lesson learned.
That should be an instructional moment for all media who were frightened like little kittens by Trump’s celebrity status. If you stand up for what is right and not be bullied, you eventually come out on top. The laws of human nature always finds its equilibrium.
Now let’s look at the candidates. This year’s Republican field was the most impressive in decades, yet one bully made them look incompetent, weak and losers. How did he do it? Easy, he just said it and they took it. Sure there were some feeble attempts to fight back, but they were pathetically ineffective.
Lindsey Graham tried but he was in the bottom tier of the candidates ranking and assigned to the “children’s table” of second tier debates. Because of this, the media did not give him enough coverage to hear what he said relentlessly like they did with Turmp.
Rand Paul took abusive volleys and the fact that he looked so timid made the tag line fit. His eyes looked like a deer in the headlights and Trump, a master manipulator, saw that and continued his non-stop theme of insults.
Carly Fiorina was abused to such a degree as a women that I cannot believe that every voter did not come to her support. She tried to shake it away like it meant nothing, which said all about Trump, but that did not work. She needed to make it a campaign issue and say that he would bring women’s rights back 50 years. For instance, she could have said he is the modern day Archie Bunker. She could have spun his obvious lie that he “cherishes women” and would be the “best person in the world” for women. Did anyone actually believe that statement? Maybe cavemen but they are extinct! The retort was set up on a silver platter for Carly and she blew it. It showed real weakness and that is why she will not win the nomination.
However, there is one person who has been playing it right and his calculation must be the long game. If he wins, it was a great strategic move. Yes, I am talking about Jeb Bush.
Trump started the narrative that he was ‘low energy.” Bush made a mistake at the start and not counter that ridiculous and irrelevant statement. He frankly was the candidate who got that personal type of insult and was not ready for it. He incorrectly thought that the media would trounce on Trump. Instead, they just reported it and the narrative stuck because Trump saw weakness and was relentless.
Bush was the first person to take him on, but he was a lone soldier. Trump continued to insult everyone and they all took it which made it harder for Bush’s replies to stick. But he stayed with it. He played the long game.
Bush had a precipitous fall. Trump successfully branded him a loser. Things were looking very bleak for Bush. But as the field consolidated to eight candidates, he was still standing. He honed in on his debate performances and needed to improve. Like a good politician who actually has a very good record of accomplishments, he got better and better and substance started to finally take hold over the vile style of Trump.
Just last night, Bush continued his slow but steady counter assault on Trump. Previously, Jeb took jabs at him but really none of them connected. However, if you continue and fight back against bully tactics, you will eventually land a solid blow. When the moderator asked Trump his position of eminent domain, he answered it in non-pure conservative way. Bush went on the attack which caused Trump to get rattled. Any minute, like when the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, it was inevitable that Trump would get personal. The mistake he made was that his answer was shrewdly boomeranged back by Bush. Jeb said that not even does Trump believe in taking someone’s property (and getting paid for it of course) for public use, but Trump used eminent domain for his own greedy and personal motives.
Bang Bang Bang!!! A knockout with the ten count! While the referee was counting with Trump was rhetorically on the floor, Bush stepped on his neck and said that he bullied a 74 year old lady to sell the house she did not want to sell to make room for a parking lot for rich people’s limousines to be used by his bankrupt casinos (nice add-on using bankruptcy for added emphasis to dispel that he always is a winner)! Wow! Trump is now dizzy! Then Trump went to what worked for him in the past by going personal and disrespectful towards bush. He called him a virtual loser and “shhhhed” him with a finger to his mouth. The crowd went wild and booed Trump for his failed attack. The clear winner was Jeb Bush and it is not too late that this could be an inflection point in the campaign.
At the end of the night, Trump got a bloodied nose. It is not hard to do this to such a predictable bully. All you need to do is fight back and show who has character, substance and temperament to be President and who belongs as a display in the Bronx Zoo.
There is a cliche that “It is not over until the fat lady sings.” Since this might be politically incorrect these days, I would say “It is not over until the bully crawls away like a coward.”