I have long felt that Donald Trump has trained himself to believe the most the political falsehoods that he utters. That does not mean that he never intentionally lies. In fact, I think that he lies a great deal, too, especially about personal matters. For instance, when women accuse him of abusing them, I think he knows that he did and lies when he says that no such thing happened. He has a policy of strict denial, and worse, reversing the charges and claiming victimhood, when threatened with exposure of his wrongdoings. This is a common pattern among malignant narcissists, as some psychologists have pointed out. He might lie about things like his taxes, or how he feels about family members also, for instance. However, when it comes to his core beliefs and worldview, he seems totally convinced of its correctness, regardless of how it clashes with factual reality.
Where we see this most clearly, in my opinion, recently is what journalists have been calling “The Big Lie.” What they mean by “The Big Lie,” is the false notion that Trump actually won the 2020 election. I suspect that many, if not most, journalists who use this term, think that Trump actually believes that he won the election, and if they do, I am in agreement with them. Nonetheless, the term, “The Big Lie,” persists. I am restating this falsehood here as “The Big Delusion,” however – Trump’s Big Delusion – because I think that he actually believes that he won the election. Moreover, this is part of a pattern consisting of many delusions which Trump holds dear to himself. By believing them so obstinately – and repeating them so often — he is better able to convince his supporters to believe in the same delusions, as I have mentioned elsewhere. It does not make him convincing to people like me, but to people who are attracted to his worldview and/or personal style, his apparent sincerity and consistent messaging seems convincing. To put it bluntly, this man is crazy, and he has a massive cult following of fellow crazies, consisting of perhaps around 25% of the U.S. adult population. This is the really scary part.
Rather than assuming that my “gut feeling” is correct, however, I looked up this topic. This is not the kind of topic that can be answered by giving people surveys, or anything of the sort. The question is whether one particular individual, believes certain falsehoods that he repeatedly utters. The best way to look into that, is probably to ask the people who know him best, and something of that nature has in fact been done.
In the following article, both Donald Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, who happens to be a psychologist as well, and Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and “fixer,” Michael Cohen, are quoted as saying that Trump believes he really won the 2020 election, along with many other falsehoods (https://www.vice.com/…/trump-is-gaslighting-himself-and…)
“He’s the only person I’ve ever met who can gaslight himself,” according to Mary Trump. “I don’t think he’s ever accepted the truth of the loss. I don’t think he’s psychologically or emotionally capable of that.”
Similarly, Michael Cohen says of Donald Trump “It’s the difference between a bullshit artist and a sociopath. Donald Trump is a sociopath, because he does believe his own bullshit.”
The article goes on to describe Mary Trump’s and Michael Cohen’s further insights about Donald Trump’s motivations. To summarize them, first, he is incapable of acknowledging defeat. Doing so would make him feel weak and powerless, which is what he fears most. This is a trait that he developed in childhood, dealing with his overbearing, demanding father, according to Mary Trump. Similarly, Michael Cohen mentioned that acknowledging losing the election would be tantamount to Trump himself being a “loser” in his own mind, which he would find intolerable. Both Mary Trump and Michael Cohen think that Trump will never formally concede the election to Joe Biden. (This makes me wonder what he would have done if Hillary Clinton had been declared the winner of the 2016 election. I suppose he would still be whining that she had won through fraud, no matter how clear the results showing that Trump lost.)
Mary Trump goes onto say that she doubts that her uncle will actually run for president again in 2024. He will probably make up some excuse for avoiding another presidential run, despite all the talk about it, because he is afraid of losing again. That’s the good news from this article.
The other good news is that it will be easier for people to regain their sanity when the constant drone of Trump’s complaints – and the stress that it causes even the sanest among us — has dwindled, as it