As the lead zeppelin that is Donald Trump’s campaign drops faster than Frank Ocean’s approval rating and the tone of his outbursts descends from the middle school level we’ve come to expect to that of a kindergartener, many have begun to seriously question whether Trump is mentally ill. At first the Trump phenomenon was written off as a fluke, pundits were convinced that the deranged demagogy fueling his success was merely a cynical front, and many were merely amused by the walking racist gaffe machine that Trump is. Everyone was sure that the tenor of the campaign would improve once the primary ruckus was over.
Now, however, we are deep into general election season and far from moderating his tone, Trump has doubled down on his bizarre blend of fascism and schoolyard bullying. The continued intellectual decadence of his campaign was epitomized for many observers by his gratuitously obnoxious feud with Khizr Khan, father of a war hero killed in Iraq. What this feud and innumerable other events have made clear is that there was no Machiavellian plan guiding Trump’s primary insanity – he was merely being himself.
This has led many professional pundits and analysts to argue in all seriousness that Trump is not in his right mind, with the diagnoses running the gamut from narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) to sociopathy. Now, a California Congresswoman has launched an official change.org petition calling for a mental health evaluation to be conducted on Mr. Trump. In the text of her petition, Representative Karen Bass explains the self-evident threat that having a narcissist in the White House presents:
Donald Trump is dangerous for our country. His impulsiveness and lack of control over his own emotions are of concern. It is our patriotic duty to raise the question of his mental stability to be the commander in chief and leader of the free world… It is entirely possible that some individuals with NPD can successfully function in many careers, but not the Presidency of the United States
While many have inevitably coped with the insanity that is Trump with humor, the call for Trump to undergo a mental health evaluation is far from a joke or an insult to the mentally ill. It is motivated by a genuine concern for our national security and integrity as it faces the possibility of a man with a warped view of reality and a taste for fascism in the White House. Just as presidential candidates undergo physical fitness tests – to which the Trump campaign has referred whenever questioned about its candidate’s mental health – a mental health evaluation appears to be necessary in this case, and indeed could be a beneficial addition to the candidates’ routine evaluations.
And Bass’ petition was not dreamed up on a whim. Numerous psychologists and other mental health professionals have come to the conclusion that Trump is mentally unstable, from the former dean of Harvard Medical School who wrote that The Donald “defines” NPD to a bevy of psychologists who concluded that Trump suffers from “grandiose narcissism” in an article published in The Atlantic earlier this summer. That a man who is apparently a borderline sociopath could achieve such success in our election process is a damning indictment of much of the Republican voting base, but, much more importantly, it is a danger to our country that needs to be addressed. And Bass’ petition seeks to do that.
Read and sign the petition here
James DeVinne is a student at American University in Washington, DC majoring in International Service with a focus on the Middle East and South Asia. He is a founding member of Occupy Baltimore and interns at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.