Donald Trump’s behavior has been compared a great many things, the vast majority of them negative. But world-famous anthropologist Jane Goodall, who has spent decades studying the behavior patterns of primates, sees some important – and amusing – comparisons between the Republican nominee and her choice of study, which she made clear in an interview with the Atlantic.
“In many ways the performances of Donald Trump remind me of male chimpanzees and their dominance ritual. In order to impress rivals, males seeking to rise in the dominance hierarchy perform spectacular displays: stamping, slapping the ground, dragging branches, throwing rocks. The more vigorous and imaginative the display, the faster the individual is likely to rise in the hierarchy, and the longer he is likely to maintain that position.”
In her book My Life With the Chimpanzees, Goodall told the story of “Mike,” a chimp who maintained his dominance by kicking a series of kerosene cans ahead of him as he moved down a road, creating confusion and noise that made his rivals flee and cower. She told me she would be thinking of Mike as she watched the upcoming debates.”
Her assessment is on point. Donald Trump operates on a primal level, appealing to the most base emotions of his supporters as he engaged his primary opponents in a primitive display of dominance, using cheap, emasculating insults (“Little Marco, “Lyin’ Ted”) and aggressive assertion ploys like not letting Jeb Bush speak and constantly interrupting him.
While it was frankly quite amusing for the rest of us in the context of the Republican debates, which featured many cookie-cutter politicians all spouting slightly different versions of fearmongering lies and easily disproven falsehoods about the economy, nobody expected him to get this far. The immaturity that Trump carries himself with is extremely unbecoming of a candidate for the presidency, and we need to do some serious soul-searching to figure out how he got this far in the first place.