Trump is not dangerous because he is immoral but because he is amoral


 “… Trump is a “guy whose thoughts are often just six fireflies beeping randomly in a jar”

David Brooks


This fundamentally boils down to character, and his character is rotten. He’s a narcissist who happens to have taken control of the Republican party. There’s some areas where he agrees with party orthodoxy, and some where he doesn’t. But his only doctrine is: whatever is good for Donald Trump is good for the country. When he goes down – and he will go down, at some point – one of the things that will be striking is just how quickly members of Congress will turn on him.”

Eliot Cohen, former state department counsellor to secretary of state Condoleezza Rice


“Ultimately, Trump is not dangerous because he is immoral, but because he is amoral. Trump has already bought into the system entirely. He is as vacuous a candidate as there can be, giving no thought to the moral questions and the theological issues that underpin those questions. He doesn’t care about who he hurts or what philosophy he takes, as long as it gains him power. He is an antichrist not because he is explicitly evil, shouting and screaming against God, but because he disregards God and morality all together.”


So. With some new polling coming out in the USA suggesting voters in some key states think Biden is too old and a Trump administration would be better for the economy than the Biden administration, I thought I would remind everyone how horrible Trump is, and was as a president. I will set aside the age issue because even though I would prefer a younger president its not like we are choosing between 2 spring chickens. And as for the economy, that perception is just nuts.

What isn’t nuts is just how horrible Trump is – as a person, a president, a leader and even a nation decisionmaker. Trump is a divider, he is a fierce destroyer of systems and institutions (and even results and outcomes), and consistently lies (about everything). Worse, he consistently plays to the nation’s fears, not its hopes. Trump is dangerous on so many economic, societal & cultural levels its disturbing. All that said maybe the most dangerous is he has bludgeoned our senses so much that many of us have become numb to Trump and his amorality. A significant portion of us have normalized the non-normal behavior under a “it is what it is and will not change.” And this is partially driven by the fact we are tired. Not tired of news coverage, but just tired of having to deal with the amoral incessant simplistic drivel he offers. And its even more tiring to think we need to fight this battle one more time in another election cycle. That said. In all of this tiredness society has permitted the majority of people to reside in a world of amoral relativism despite the fact they are actually quite moral. We have learned to straddle a world in which there are two moral universes and one universe is grounded in reality and the other is grounded in perceptions. The paradox is that Trump speaks in absolutes with total disregard to reality. His absolutes speak to the perceptions of a minority – a passionate minority.

Which leads me to the consequence of relativism – exception acceptance.

Everything is imperfect, but Trump has made being grossly imperfect a relative argument. The moderate Republican finds themselves saying things like “I find myself saying there are some conservative things I like but ….” Ah. “But-ism.” The idea is that “well, maybe he is imperfectly okay (which is reflective of the world in totality).” He offers this idea to undermine institutions, but it is the basis for his existence. This is not ‘what-aboutism’; this is exception acceptance. And once he puts us on the slippery slope of exceptions it cascades into a debate on what % of good is necessary to make it all okay. He creates a scenario in which there is no good or bad which enable him to suggest he is ‘good.’ This also reflects his view of “winning.”, i.e., there is no perfect way to win so don’t judge me on how I (or we) win. Suggest what is possible, not probable. This is what every conspiracy theorist does, but Trump resides solely in “possibilities not probabilities” which forces all of us to discuss everything in degrees, nuances & complexity. We do this in a world which craves simplicity. He forces us to frame off of ‘what could be possible’ rather than “let’s deal in probabilities.” He wins as soon as we offer up “the possibility of bias exists” because as soon as we admit the possibility of existence – it exists. This kills the idea that two things can exist at the same time like:

  • “I can think something, have some specific beliefs, but I can still do my job.”

  • “It is quite possible MSNBC is biased, but it is more probable they care about the truth.”

Anyway. He treats “what if”, i.e., exceptions, as absolutism and we debate degrees & relativism, all compounded by the fact he banks on the fact we have had it pounded into our heads that “if it is not simple it is wrong (or someone is lying).” His amorality deserves no exception relativism. It takes no exaggeration to make that point.

Which leads me to Healthy narcissism versus being a narcissistic asshat.

The difference between healthy and asshat is usually found in someone’s ‘devoid-ness.’ And Trump is devoid of … well … he is devoid. To be clear. I fully recognize some people like his bluster and bloviated sense of self. They view it as confidence; not a con man. But let’s just agree that is horrible for a leader of a country. But back to that distinction between healthy and asshat. Craig Malkin, a clinical psychologist and lecturer for Harvard medical school, suggests a Healthy narcissism is a trait that all of us carry: the drive to feel special or unique.

“In fact, people with a healthy dose of narcissism are happier, more optimistic and consistently confident than people at the low end of the spectrum”

Pathological, malignant, or asshat narcissism begins “when people become so addicted to feeling special that, just like with any drug, they’ll do anything to get their ‘high.’” Uhm.

“Now, you know, I was a good student. I always hear about the elite. You know, the elite. They’re elite? I went to better schools than they did. I was a better student than they were. I live in a bigger, more beautiful apartment, and I live in the White House, too, which is really great.”

Trump talking about himself

Trump is a narcissistic asshat who thrives on being adored AND hated. Always remember this fundamental truth about Trump: – he has always felt like the guy on the outside looking in, the guy people wouldn’t accept in their social circles and wouldn’t let into their club. Stuffing it in all of their faces is the motivation for everything in his life. His unhealthy narcissism is one driven of amoral vengeance. That amorality, and vengeance, means his legal boundaries are crooked, at best, and nonexistent, at worst. That said. The question isn’t whether Trump is a crook. The question is: What kind of crook is he? Well. An amoral one for sure.

Which leads me to a crooked version of leading.

There is a bunch I can say about having an amoral leader <one I actually called “fighting for the soul of America”> but for today what I would suggest is that it will inevitably lead to leading from behind which in Trump’s case was having a transactional relationship with the world. Obama always got crapped on for leading behind, but listening to Trump and watching some of the ‘deals’ he built he offered a different version of leading from behind – values do not matter, i.e., if you can pay, we will play. That is non-leadership leadership. This is ceding the ability to guide through power relationships, but rather simply make everything transactional. This cedes bending the arc of things to the benefit of a country, and its people, and empties everything (amorally) into dollars & cents. Simplistically his leadership was “we will provide whoever wants our arms & support <if you will pay for it>” and “we don’t want to fight but we will supply you so that you can fight.”  It is a hollow America standing behind anyone who wants to pay for our support. Our criteria beyond money? Appearance of global security. In other words … we support any global conflict under the guise of if we support it well it will end faster <and peace arrives faster>. We don’t carry the stain of intervention and yet gain the short term economic fruits.

He almost seems to believe that by standing behind he will be able to assess the pieces as they fall and gather up the ones he wants. And, yes, I wrote standing behind because this is not a leadership position; this is an opportunistic position. He seems to seek an opportunistic global strategy. In his amoral naïve approach others used him for their own gains and the world splintered using American resources to do so.  Needless to say, we are now paying the piper for that attitude and policy attitude.

On a grander note it is relatively easy to see that America, under Trump, ceded its position as global leader. Circling back to the polls I mentioned upfront, it’s almost like people are oblivious to the fact that he is the one who created the issues we are dealing with at the moment.

Which leads me to remind everyone Trump is a racist.

I have one friend who adamantly believes Trump is not a racist and that he “treats everyone equally horrible.” That’s nuts. That is actually relativism. Taken in isolation Trump is racist. And all you have to do is look to who gravitates to him. As I have stated time and time again, not all who are in the Trump cult are racist, but all racist people are in the Trump cult. Racism or not let’s call it Trump driven white victimhood <which is an extension of his belief he is always the victim>.


“It’s about the white middle class—we have not been represented, and the only way we are going to get representation is if Donald Trump is our next president.

We’re treated like the minority, even though there are more of us.”

A Trump Follower


Trump is a less bigoted version of Obama. His crime is being white.”

A Trump follower


Ah. Trump and that “white thing.” 85% agreed that “America has lost its identity.” This is the group who hyperventilates over any hyphenated ethnic-Americans. They want, no demand, genuine Americans with no hyphens. They struggle to believe someone could be loyal to both American and their native ethnic culture.  It is this basic principle Trump has given voice to <under the guise of political correctness>.  In their belief, America must become culturally and politically a White, Anglo Saxon Christian (WASP) nation again. Simplistically he is shouting that America needs to put the interests of the white working classes first. Trump sees ‘victim’ as ‘white warrior.’ Uhm. That’s racism.

Trump fits the Archie Bunker archetype of “lovable bigot.” His racism signals authenticity and a willingness to tell “hard truths” to white Americans. Yeah. Not only is Trump amoral, he is also a racist.


“The three most charismatic leaders in this century inflicted more suffering on the human race than almost any trio in history: Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. What matters is not the leader’s charisma. What matters is the leader’s mission.”

Peter F. Drucker

Which leads me to remind everyone what the world looked like when Trump was president.

Ah. Remember those heady days of angst, turmoil, tweets and general twattery? Everyday he was shouting into cameras what we were supposed to be thinking.

  • The economy was the best ever! (it was no better than Obama’s). immigration control is stronger than ever! (all they did was hold them in Mexico and separate parents and children – and lost track of them).
  • The military is strongest ever! (he pardoned amoral behavior of some military opposite what military standards desire).
  • USA has never been more respected around the world! (every country’s faith in America plummeted – except Russia and Israel).

It was simplistic bloviating drivel where the louder he shouted, and the more confident he sounded, the more reality stood in proof that, objectively, what he was saying was absurd and just an alternative version of reality.

During that period, I wrote this:

  • I vaguely remember when the USA was leading the world intellectually and policy wise.
  • I vaguely remember a world in which the rest of the world may have occasionally mocked America for its sense of hubris but didn’t mock the country for its idiocy.
  • I vaguely remember that global leadership didn’t take on the banal hues of a high school.

Trump was rude and crude and scary. He was intent on destroying anything he could get his hands on – the legal system, norms, foreign relationships and even the global economy. He was transparent  – transparently dumb, transparently ignorant, transparently a liar.

He didn’t make USA safer, didn’t make the world safer, didn’t make the USA more economically sound (but kind of encouraged the rest of the world be to be more economically sound), subsidized businesses to cloak his horrible business policies and managed the country’s finances like he did his businesses (he actually made a casino bankrupt). He is a horrible amoral man and he was a horrible amoral president heading up a horribly inept amoral cabinet only putting the country into a horrible position for the future. but, hey, some people will still vote for him. So maybe the sane rest of us should remember how horrible he was and get out and make him lose again. Ponder. Seriously Ponder.

Written by Bruce