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Trump’s ego has America on the brink of civil war

By Robert B. Reich, Tribune Content Agency on

What is America really fighting over in the upcoming election? Not any particular issue. It’s not even Democrats versus Republicans.

The central fight is over Donald J. Trump.

Before Trump, most Americans weren’t especially passionate about politics. But Trump’s M.O. has been to force people to become passionate about him — to take fierce sides for or against. And he considers himself president only of the former, whom he calls “my people.”

Trump came to office with no agenda except to feed his monstrous ego. He has never fueled his base. His base has fueled him. Its adoration sustains him.

So does the antipathy of his detractors. Presidents usually try to appease their critics. Trump has gone out of his way to offend them. “I do bring rage out,” Trump unapologetically told journalist Bob Woodward in 2016.

In this way, Trump has turned America into a gargantuan projection of his own pathological narcissism.

 

His entire re-election platform is found in his use of the pronouns “we” and “them.” “We” are people who love him, Trump Nation. “They” hate him.

In late August, near the end of a somnolent address on the South Lawn of the White House, accepting the Republican nomination, Trump extemporized: “The fact is, we’re here — and they’re not.” It drew a standing ovation.

At a recent White House news conference, a CNN correspondent asked Trump if he condemned the behavior of his supporters in Portland, Oregon. In response, Trump charged: “Your supporters, and they are your supporters indeed, shot a young gentleman.”

In Trump’s eyes, CNN exists in a different country: Anti-Trump Nation.

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