Donald Trump’s stubbornness in refusing to admit defeat confirms the thesis that he behaves like a two-year-old. It is not childishness.
Of all the attempts to explain Donald Trump’s erratic behavior, one of the best is that of Daniel Drezner, who drew on child psychology textbooks for parents to explain Donald Trump’s behavior. Drezner, a political science professor at Tufts University, a Washington Post blogger and avid Twitter user, began shortly after Trump was sworn in to find that those around him were promising the president would eventually evolve in his role.
Those close to the president and the commentators who supported him would not tire of saying, using this difficult to translate expression, “Donald Trump will grow into the presidency. ” Drezner was skeptical and he started to note systematically on Twitter reports that quoted members of the presidential entourage who bluntly treated the president like one treats a two-year-old. After three years and over a thousand examples in support of his thesis, Drezner published a very serious work at the University of Chicago Press which clearly illustrates this trait of Donald Trump’s behavior, highlighting the problems and risks posed. by this kind of behavior for the conduct of state affairs (I made one report in this blog).
A flurry of new tweets for the Toddler in Chief
The string of tweets, which now number more than 2,000, began in April 2017, when Drezner said he “will believe that Donald Trump has reached the maturity it takes to play his role as president when his staff will stop treating him like a toddler ”.
Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump’s behavior since the November 3 election, and especially since Joe Biden’s victory was announced last Saturday, has given Daniel Drezner the opportunity to add to the mountain of evidence at the support for the “Bambin en Chef” thesis. The last two tweets (numbers 2115 and 2116) reflect Donald Trump’s pathological inability to accept the reality of his defeat and the efforts of those around him to spare his sensitivity by telling him only what he wants to hear. . Any parent who survived their offspring’s “Terrible Twos” will know what he’s talking about.
There have been other examples in the past week, including these, which further illustrate the urgent need to maintain a constant adult presence around the outgoing president.
This is obviously only a very small sample, as the flood of new additions to Drezner’s row never seems to want to slow down. We can laugh about it but, as I mention in my column this morning, Donald Trump, his entourage and his party are playing a dangerous game. The refusal to recognize the election results only solidifies in the minds of millions of Trump supporters the thesis of a rigged and illegitimate election, which does not bode well for the challenge of picking up the mess of American democracy in the coming months and years.
A new “Big Lie”
Yale University historian Tim Snyder, who has written extensively on the breakdown of democratic regimes and their transformation into authoritarian regimes, has issued an unequivocal warning yesterday in the Boston Globe. According to Snyder, Republicans who harbor Donald Trump’s fad because of their fear of upsetting him and his staunch supporters are only harboring a lie that could very well take American democracy to a breaking point. To illustrate his point, Snyder recalls the “Big Lie” propagated by the German regime at the end of the First World War, which blamed the Jews and the leftists for the German defeat. This lie was then taken up by Hitler and the Nazis, with the results we know. Snyder notes, among other things, some disturbing parallels when he notes the accusations leveled by Newt Gingrich, a former Republican leader in Congress and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, who accuses Jewish billionaire George Soros of being behind this so-called conspiracy of electoral fraud.
This is not a joke. Donald Trump’s childish behavior is reprehensible and harmful to the health of American democracy, which depends on the acceptance of the results of free and fair elections. The accusations of large-scale fraud peddled by Donald Trump are completely unfounded. The Republicans know it, but they are petrified by the fear of triggering the anger of their “Chief Toddler” and of opposing the adherents of his cult. Each more day that this charade lasts is one too long and a very bad omen for American democracy and for democracy itself.
* * *
Pierre Martin is professor of political science at the University of Montreal and director of the Chair of American Political and Economic Studies at the CERIUM. We can follow him on Twitter: @PMartin_UdeM