Trump is a sociopath. No disguise can hides pathology. The fact that you do not recognize Trump as a sociopath illustrates your own political bias. Trump is also dumb.
I'm going to write a post about this at some point. I agree that Trump isn't all that smart. But if he were a sociopath, he'd be better at hiding his narcissism, and his ugly side. And he'd lie about who he is, which he really doesn't. His attitude is more like, here I am, warts and all, and if you don't like it, fuck you. That's not how most sociopaths come across. Most of them, especially the ones in politics, pretend to be caring, and giving, and noble, and dignified. Trump doesn't bother with any of those things. He's an extreme narcissist. But that's not the same thing as being a sociopath.
BTW. I'm not averse to pointing out Republicans as sociopaths when I see them. I've written about Newt Gingrich, Joe Arpaio, and Carly Fiorina in that regard.
The two sociopath alerts about Gingrich are here and here. Nor is there any denying the sociopathy of either Arpaio and Fiorina. And here's a sociopath alert about Christine O'Donnell, the Republican candidate for US Senator from Delaware in 2010.
I haven't been averse to criticizing Trump. I put him in a machismo contest with el Chapo and also compared him to Goldfinger. I suggested he try a little self-deprecating humor (and suggested he might choke to death on such). I wrote here about how being a billionaire has made Trump think he's better-looking, funnier, and smarter than he actually is.
But the essence of sociopathy is to lie about who you are, do a lot of moral posturing, and in general put on a big act, and Trump simply doesn't do those things.
One of the clearest examples of how virtue signaling works outside politics is in prison pen pal ads. Look at enough of these things, as I have, and you'll see a very clear correlation: the worse the criminal, the more they wax on about what kindhearted people they are.
Most of the inmates who are convicted of things like DUI or possession will advertise their sexiness, or talk about how they like long walks on the beach, or some such tripe. But they generally don't claim moral superiority.
The ads from Death Row inmates tend to have a completely different tone. If you take them at their word, there has never been group of more decent, humane, caring, loving people.
Spencer Brasure died last week of natural causes. Here's an excerpt from his ad, in which he describes himself as a "God-loving father of one" trying to organize "global opposition to capital punishment." (Brasure burned his victim's face with a torch, stapled wood to his head, broke glass in his mouth, and then doused him with gasoline and burned him to death.)
Or listen to David Berkowitz (the "Son of Sam") talk about what a wonderful, altruistic man he has become.
Here's an excerpt from Franklin Lynch's pen pal ad, emphasizing his sincerity and spritiuality. (He was known as the "Day Stalker," known for beating old ladies to death.)
The lesson to be learned is that the less virtue someone has, the more they feel obliged to signal such. The same rules of human nature which apply to inmates apply equally well to Hollywood stars. (It always seems to be the most egregious environmental sinners who lecture us most self-righteously about climate change.) And these rules apply to politicians as well.
Think of Bill Clinton, whom even Democrats don't bother to defend any more, telling us how he feels our pain. Think of him laughing and joking at Ron Brown's funeral, but then, once he sees a camera on him, pretending to wipe away a tear. Everything with Clinton was a pose, as the photographs here and here illustrate.
Think of Wendy Davis saying, "I love this state," or pretending to love animals.
Think of Barack Obama saying that he's answerable only to "the steady gaze of my own conscience." Or claiming that he "chose" heterosexuality over homosexuality because "a same sex relationship would be less challenging and demanding than developing one with the opposite sex."
Think of Newt Gingrich explaining his extramarital affair by saying, "There's no question at times in my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate."
Or Christine O'Donnell advocating against masturbation. (How pure she must be to abjure even that!)
These are the types of poses sociopaths strike. They want to be seen as saints, even though (or perhaps because) they are the opposite.
Trump doesn't bother with any of that. He doesn't pretend to be anything other than what he is: a vulgar, crass, insensitive, boastful, spiteful businessman.
That's narcissism, not sociopathy.
I've known both narcissistic personalities and sociopaths personally. I've ended up disliking some of the narcissists even more than I did some of the sociopaths.
Narcissists think the world of themselves, and disparage anyone who doesn't agree with their inflated self-opinion. Narcissists tend to be upfront about their egotism, and often seem to have absolutely no filter -- like Trump.
The sociopaths I've known have been far more conniving. They sometimes bragged, but more often would put on a pretense of modesty and self-effacement. Many of the sociopaths also had a great deal of personal charm, at least at first; the narcissists generally had none. Look up the definition of "sociopath" in any psychology textbook, and you'll see "personal charm" listed among their traits.
Do you find Trump charming?
I don't know anyone who does, even among his supporters. (Some people find him funny, but no one is really charmed by him.) As I've said many times on this blog, if I knew him personally I'm sure I would end up despising him. He's a walking, talking, billowing cloud of bombast and unabashed egotism.
But the one thing he doesn't do is pretend to be nicer than he is. He doesn't blather on about his conscience, or how he cares about others, or his niceness, or his love of animals.
So I don't think Trump is a sociopath, as personally off-putting as he is. I could be wrong. And yes, I do support him politically. But I think I'm open-minded enough to see it if he were one.
When Trump insulted Carly Fiorina's looks, most people probably thought, what kind of comment is that for a presidential contender to be making? Others thought, that soft-looking fatso ought not to be criticizing anyone's looks. (I thought both things.)
When Trump said General Mattis wasn't "tough enough" to be Secretary of Defense, most probably reacted by thinking, General Mattis has seen combat, while Trump got a draft deferment by claiming bone spurs. What a hypocrite Trump is! (That's how I reacted.)
When Trump gets into spats with various reporters or show business types, most people react by thinking, why can't he just ignore them? (That's how I react.)
When Trump said he was a "stable genius," most people thought, what an egotistical buffoon! He's constantly flying off the handle, and he's hardly a genius! (I honestly didn't react that way. I just thought, well, he is stable in the sense that his personality never changes -- you can always count on him to lash back when someone criticizes him. And while he probably doesn't have a high IQ by any standardized measure, he's been extremely successful, so who cares if I had higher GMATs or can fill out a Sunday Times crossword better? I'm a nobody, and he's a billionaire who's a historical figure.)
And when Trump says all these things, a lot of people also react by thinking, how can he be so stupid as to not realize he'll just alienate people by saying that? (Which is how I react.)
In any case, there are a long list of hypocritical, self-serving things he's said which have turned people off, and understandably so.
If you've ever known a narcissist personally, you've undoubtedly found him infuriating. He will consistently overrate himself, in every possible way. He even seems to think himself better than you at things where you're objectively, measurably better. In the long run, it's impossible not to end up despising someone like this.
It's often hard to see the dividing line between sociopaths and narcissists, especially since all sociopaths are by definition narcissists as well. (Sociopaths are a relatively small subset of narcissists.) The crucial difference seems to be that sociopaths will do absolutely anything to achieve their ends, whereas narcissists will draw the line somewhere.
What makes that difference even more difficult to see is that sociopaths are far more likely to purposely lie about their character, whereas the merely narcissistic don't. So if you're inclined to take people at their word, the sociopaths may actually seem nicer, at least at first.
With Trump, it's even harder to see, since he's such an extreme narcissist.
The criticism I got from the commenter quoted at the beginning of this post reminded me of a similar criticism I got after my post about how steroids shape the body. In the course of the article, I mentioned two British swimmers and a Brazilian swimmer I suspect of juicing, and also said that I thought the vast majority of recent champions -- Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Sarah Sjostrom, and Katie Ledecky -- were clean. I was then accused of having a pro-American bias (even though Sjostrom is Swedish). In response, I pointed out that I'd written previously about Dara Torres, Lance Armstrong, Marion Jones, and Michael Johnson, and had said about all of them that I'd thought they were juicers.
Whenever I'm accused of bias, it occurs to me that my accuser is probably guilty of a similar bias going in the other direction. It's a fairly safe assumption that the commenter who accused me of having a pro-American bias (and who used the screen name "Slaying dumb Americans like Trump") himself has an anti-American bias.
I'm also guessing that the commenter after the previous post about Elizabeth Warren has a pro-Democrat, anti-Republican bias.