Trump and Campaigns of Magical Thinking
Magical thinking is the process of putting things together in causal relationships when they have no logical connection. Rain is the tears of a goddess; earthquakes are caused by the convulsions of a dragon that lives below the surface of the Earth.
Hispanics love me.
Blacks love me.
I will build the best wall you’ve ever seen.
Mexico will pay for that wall.
Women love me.
I will be the best jobs President ever.
I will make Ford bring its jobs back to the USA.
I will make China back down.
All of these are effects. Donald Trump gives us the cause of all these disparate effects. The cause is “The Donald,” the ultimate “black box” of American policy and politics. With him, there is no how,; there is only what (and it will be tremendous).
He is a candidate. If he is elected, then The Donald will use his personal magic to make all those statements come true. There is no need to understand a process or an issue. All that is required is a pronouncement by the “magician” that he will apply his personal magic — wave his hands and shrug the shoulders of his expensive jacket – and it will come to pass.
Republican voters suffering from their aggrieved sense of loss (see earlier post on Trump supporters) have labeled Trump and Carson, and Fiorina to some extent, as “magicians.” They are seen as the pure, non-politicians; it doesn’t matter what they say. It does not matter what they have, or have not, done.
Their supporters see themselves as desperately staving off the end of their world and the destruction of their cherished values. All those candidates who have known political power have somehow contributed to, or at least failed to halt, the erosion of these voters’ world. As the saying goes, they are part of the problem, not its solution. These aggrieved voters believe they can only be saved by these seemingly non-political standard bearers–even if it means they must indulge in deeply magical thinking.
They will eschew supporting traditional politicians; the land will be transformed, and their souls at rest.