Donald Trump on Saturday delivered a two-hour speech, one called “epic” by CNN, to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. The speech was described as “unhinged” by The Washington Post, “bewildering” by The Atlantic, and “rambling” by Rolling Stone.
But to one columnist, the speech showed Trump offering a preview of his 2020 reelection strategy, which the writer — Chauncey DeVega of the online magazine Salon — described as: “Mentally unwell old man hugs American flag; rants about ‘socialism’ and ‘baby killers.'”
Trump opened the “epic” speech by physically embracing a flag that stood to the left of the speaker’s podium. But to DeVega, the speech — which featured Trump, by his own description, going “off script” to cover a wide variety of topics — showed Trump presenting the “core message” of his 2020 campaign. That message is perhaps is an exaggerated version of his message in the 2016 campaign.
“He must be re-elected to stop the Democratic Party and their voters from enforcing an agenda of ‘open borders, socialism and extreme late-term abortion,'” DeVega wrote in his Thursday Salon column, summing up what he sees as the “themes” that Trump will employ throughout his 2020 reelection.
Those themes, DeVega wrote, include, “death, murder, fear of ‘socialism,’ empty patriotism, superficial nationalism and disturbing hints of violence.”
DeVega wrote that Trump’s 2020 strategy, as displayed in his CPAC speech, is what social psychologists call “Terror Management Theory.”
According to an interview with Scientific American, psychologist Sheldon Solomon describes TMT as “beliefs about reality shared by individuals in a group that serve to ‘manage’ the potentially paralyzing terror resulting from the awareness of death.”
Trump and his supporters, DeVega wrote in Salon, “manage” their terror at the prospect of death by “an attachment to objects, ideas, and symbols such as the American flag.” In that way, Trump’s repeated hugging of the American flag — an act he has performed in public “multiple” times since kicking off his 2016 campaign, according to The Cut — is his way of reassuring his supporters that he will protect them from death.
Psychologists have previously applied various theories to explain some of Trump’s seemingly “unhinged” public actions on previous occasions. As The Inquisitr noted last year, psychiatrist Justin Frank — author of the book, Trump On The Couch: Inside the Mind of the President — has analyzed Trump as being “erotically attached to violence.”
Frank described Trump’s psychology, in a Salon interview, as “like a child.” The difference, Frank noted, is that unlike a child, Trump now has access to nuclear weapons.