Democracy is on fire, and only half the population is sounding the alarm.

The alternate title to this article was “Antisocial Leadership: How a Psychopath Came to Lead the Sociopaths”  To be completely fair to vast numbers of ordinary, god-fearing Americans – who have a lifetime of good contributions to society – not all Trump supporters are sociopaths.  However, the point of this article to illustrate that: 1. Trump is a psychopath, and 2. that many in his army are aligned sociopaths, who have led a larger movement that has coopted (either through fear, intimidation or manipulation) unwitting and otherwise GOOD americans, the vast majority of whom, are GOOD people, but who have failed to break the glass and sound the alarm.

Furthermore, I must disclose that I am writing this on limited time, but I will cite all of my references, albeit in an unorthodox format, by color coding direct references, along with links to the original sources.  My time is unfortunately too limited for proper attribution, but I mean no harm to the original works, and only want to have their efforts read and distributed with their original intent.

First, lets clarify the similarities and differences between psychopaths and sociopaths. Key traits that sociopaths and psychopaths share include: 

  • A disregard for the rights of others
  • A failure to feel remorse or guilt
  • A disregard for laws and social mores
  • A tendency to display violent behavior

Sociopaths tend to be nervous and easily agitated. They are volatile and prone to emotional outbursts, including fits of rage. They are likely to be uneducated and live on the fringes of society, unable to hold down a steady job or stay in one place for very long. It is difficult but not impossible for sociopaths to form attachments with others. Many sociopaths are able to form an attachment to a particular individual or group, although they have no regard for society in general or its rules. In the eyes of others, sociopaths will appear to be very disturbed. Any crimes committed by a sociopath, including murder, will tend to be haphazard, disorganized and spontaneous rather than planned. (

My reference here explains the demographic, in particular, of the hate groups that have publicly supported Trump’s campaign (with acceptance by the campaign), to include the KKK, white supremacists, homophobic, anti-semitic, racist and other belligerent anti-social groups.  Consider the types of crowds and violence that has taken place at Trump rallies. Slate has a good list of the generally haphazard violence that has taken place:  The Trump narrative that the Clinton campaign has incited this violence is either 1. a dangerously inept understanding of his own support base, or 2. a frigteningly overt attempt to manipulate the electorate into a frenzied of fear of the establishment, for his own power gain.

Psychopaths, on the other hand, are unable to form emotional attachments or feel real empathy  with others, although they often have disarming or even charming personalities. Psychopaths are very manipulative and can easily gain people’s trust. They learn to mimic emotions, despite their inability to actually feel them, and will appear normal to unsuspecting people. Psychopaths are often well educated and hold steady jobs. Some are so good at manipulation and mimicry that they have families and other long-term relationships without those around them ever suspecting their true nature. …  Intelligent psychopaths make excellent white-collar criminals and “con artists” due to their calm and charismatic natures. (

While we don’t have convictions of Trump’s personal criminal activity, we can look to the countless allegations of connections to illegal organizations and other criminals,and or if you choose to, the growing number of sexual assault allegations, including older ones buried from his first wife. The WSJ outlined ties to the mafia earlier this month: Donald Trump and the Mob:  It’s not much more than common sense that innocent people generally to systematically and willingly associate with known criminals. Countless successful organizations have a web of rules and policies to eliminate even the perception of association with criminals.

The cause of psychopathy is different than the cause of sociopathy (1). It is believed that psychopathy is the largely the result of “nature” (genetics) while sociopathy is more likely the result of “nurture” (environment). Psychopathy is related to a physiological defect that results in the underdevelopment of the part of the brain responsible for impulse controland emotions. Sociopathy, on the other hand, is more likely the product of childhoodtrauma and physical/emotional abuse. Because sociopathy appears to be learned rather than innate, sociopaths are capable of empathy in certain limited circumstances but not in others, and with a few individuals but not others. (

Trump’s upbringing and background is fuzzy at best. His father was alleged to have participated in KKK violence.  His brother died young, and was well noted as having been an alcoholic. Donald himself, is well cited as a person who avoids alcohol.  While its admirable that he was moved by his brothers premature death and lives a life of sobriety, its more likely that alcoholism runs in the family and he is simply being wise and disciplined to avoid it given his wealth and fear of losing it.  Given the wealth he grew up with, it would not be surprising to eventually learn of a number of “surprising” family secrets, but in the absence of more material information, its hard to argue that Donald grew up in a definitively abusive home, lending credence to nature over nurture.

Psychopathy is the most dangerous of all antisocial personality disorders because of the way psychopaths dissociate emotionally from their actions, regardless of how terrible those actions may be. (

Trump has a serial ability to dissociate emotionally from his words and actions. With the count of sexual assaults up to 11 women making allegations, and Trumps commanding response that the allegations are wholly untrue, it makes this point abundantly clear.  However there are countless other words and actions that we have been presented with over the last 18 months, to include how he stiffs contractors, how employees have been mistreated and exploited, how he refers to women and minorities in general, etc….


In the entertainment industry, the word psychopath is pretty much synonymous with murderous madman. Just about all characters described as psychopaths in movies and television are serial killers — Hannibal Lecter from The Silence of the Lambs and Dexter Morgan from Dexter, for example. But in real life, psychopathic tendencies don’t necessarily mean a person is destined to lead a life of despicable crime.

The most important characteristics of a psychopath revolve not around violence, but around lack of empathy, selfishness, and manipulation. True, some psychopaths may use these traits to commit crimes, but others rely on their manipulative nature and ability to charm for other things. Many psychopaths actually find great success in the business world thanks to their ruthless nature — a disproportionate number of CEOs are actually psychopaths. Some other popular career paths for psychopaths include law, media, and being salespeople. (

Well three out of four careers (CEO, media and sales) fit Donald’s success path.  The media angle is interesting given his most recent associations with Roger Ailes and Stephen Bannon and the well documented comments around his family’s interest in starting a media empire.

If we really want to diagnose Trump as a bona fide psychopath, however, we can simply look to Hare’s Psychopathy Checklist.

The Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) is a diagnostic tool used to rate a person’s psychopathic or antisocial tendencies.  It was developed in the 1970’s by Dr. Robert Hare, a Canadian professor and researcher renowned in criminal psychology, who has spent three decades studying the concept known as the psychopath and based partly on Hare’s work with prison inmates in Vancouver.

Because psychopaths are often repeat offenders who commit sexual assaults or other violent crimes again and again, the PCL-R is used in the courtroom and in institutions as an indicator of the potential risk posed by individuals in psychiatric units or prisoners. (

Let’s create our own score.  Feel free to change my answers.  Some of the definitions, if you need them can be found here (, as a couple require some interpretation.  General defense of my scores are below.

•  glib and superficial charm (2)  – This score should does need support outside of watching him speak for more than 60 seconds.
•  grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self (2) – This score should does need support outside of watching him speak for more than 60 seconds.
•  need for stimulation (2) – Maybe best represented by his addition to spurring twitter storms, and responding to them.
•  pathological lying (2) – All politicians lie.  Its part of the job. Sometimes its intentional, sometimes its not having full command of the facts.  I think the statistics from all three debates clearly sum up that nearly 3/4 of Trumps statements are bold faced lies, relative to Hillary who is “crooked” but comes out closer to 1/4 to 1/3.
•  cunning and manipulativeness (2) – Trump has a number of dubious strengths.  One of the largest, is his innate ability to command the discourse, but setting stages and redirecting dialogues using a combination of lies, misdirection, and when he’s successful, fear and intimidation.
•  lack of remorse or guilt (2) – Take any of his most offensive scripts.  In the worst of cases it took him days, if not weeks to feebly and half-hearted apologize, which always was followed with a counterpunch, never with remorse or any level of humanity that could be confused for guilt.
•  shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness) (2) – Have we seen him express genuine emotion, sadness, remorse, pain, empathy…for ANYONE on his campaign trail? He uses people as cases, there has not been an instance of purposeful reflection for any of the people he has claimed to want to help.
•  callousness and lack of empathy (2) – ibid see above.
•  parasitic lifestyle – I have a hard time scoring this, for lack of easily available evidence. That does not mean he should not score here.
•  poor behavioral controls (2) – Can I get a 3AM Twi-ter?
•  sexual promiscuity (2) – Achem, and we’re not scoring Bill on this one here.
•  early behavior problems (1) – You don’t go to military school for being a poster-child.  That said, I have no evidence of what kind of little shit Donald was before he turned 18, so I’m leaving this at a one.
•  lack of realistic long-term goals – Giving him the benefit of the doubt for the balls to run for president.  The multiple bankruptcies tells a different story that could easily bode for a one here.  He does not have a history of playing for the long-term.  Most business people don’t.  Short term profit, is not a long-term goal.
•  impulsivity (2) – Can I get a 3AM Twi-ter?
•  irresponsibility (2) – How can I count the ways?  Infidelity, enough proximity to sexual assault, failing to allow his campaign to uncover pitfalls in his background, stiffing contractors, damaging perceptions of women, minorities and the sanctity of our democracy with election rigging rhetoric.
•  failure to accept responsibility for own actions (2) – I’m getting tired of explaining myself.
•  many short-term marital relationships (2) – You don’t need a Ph.D. to score this one.
•  juvenile delinquency (1) – You don’t go to military school for being a poster-child.  That said, I have no evidence of what kind of little shit Donald was before he turned 18, so I’m leaving this at a one.
•  revocation of conditional release (1) – This one is harder to interpret for a guy whose not (yet) been to jail. The best we have are the moments he has gotten himself in political trouble via “carelessness, low deliberation, or failing to appear”.  It’s effectively the political analogy to someone on parole (trying to make a better life/ i.e. campaign) falling right back into the trouble that they tried to separate themselves from.
•  criminal versatility (1)  – It’s hard t give him a 2 in good conscience prior to his being convicted of a crime, but in fairness to my score, its not about being convicted, its just representative of a person who expresses diversity in his criminal tendencies (sexual assault, organized crime, violating of housing laws, racketeering, bribery, etc…) as well as the pride that comes along with getting away with them.  Suing your accusers for defamation strikes me as deserving at least a one.

Each of the twenty items is given a score of 0, 1, or 2 based on how well it applies to the subject being tested. A prototypical psychopath would receive a maximum score of 40, while someone with absolutely no psychopathic traits or tendencies would receive a score of zero. A score of 30 or above qualifies a person for a diagnosis of psychopathy. People with no criminal backgrounds normally score around 5. Many non-psychopathic criminal offenders score around 22. (

Scoring the publicly available first hand accounts of Donald’s behavior and history, I get to a 32. What score do you give him.  It’s hard for me to see ANYONE giving the guy less than a 20.

How did “We the People” get delivered a bona fide psychopath as the GOP presidential nominee?  More importantly, why haven’t the majority of republicans raised their arms, hammer in hand, to break the glass and sound the alarm.  Are we, as a nation, more concerned for partisan politics than we are for the best-interest of our democracy?  If so, then Trump has a point, and his rhetoric will continue to divide us.  I only pray that he doesn’t burn the other half of our great citizenry down with him.

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.


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