Behind the Romney play 

There are probably ten or twenty books-worth of articles now in existence that speculate as to why Donald Trump does anything he does. But I find the speculation around why Trump keeps doing a do-si-do with Mitt Romney to be some of the most intriguing.

Chris Cillizza in the Washington Post, Frank Bruni in the New York Times and Reneé Graham of the Boston Globe are all wrong. Here’s what’s really going on:

Donald Trump realizes and hates that not everyone who voted actually voted for him, let alone likes him, trusts him, believes him or wants him anywhere near governing this country.

Exhibit A: His rejection of the recount efforts, and the facts

Exhibit B: He isn’t telling these supporters to stop telling lies

Exhibit C: He thinks people have to be paid to protest him

However, although Trump is dysfunctional, he’s got eyes and he can see how attractive Mitt Romney is: in appearance, in how he speaks, in his fidelity, in his wealth, in his experience in politics and governing.

And these visuals, as Trump might call them, form the basis for why he can’t quit Romney: he wants all the good stuff to rub off and hopes that by surrounding himself with certain motifs, he will become those things to the people who might otherwise be disaffected, and manage to get their support. Remember, we are talking about a guy who is willing to let the people who did vote for him believe that millions of their fellow citizens didn’t cast legal votes for his opponent, simply because Trump can’t handle the truth that Hillary Clinton got 2.5 million votes more than he did.

Trump’s ego – and his daily functioning – cannot tolerate knowing haters are out there. In his heart of hearts, he cannot understand how everyone can’t see his greatness and cannot love him. Didn’t he do this, didn’t he do that, what more do people want of him? Oh, the sacrifices he’s making just to get them to like him.

Of course this shows Trump’s fundamental misunderstanding about being in politics: Winning an electoral race means you only need 50 percent plus 1 to win (or less when there are third-party candidates). And in his case, he didn’t even need to do that because of the electoral college. That means people who win elections live with the knowledge that some usually statistically significant quantity of people didn’t want them, and may never want them. Donald Trump refuses to believe that, and some of the choices he’s made since November 8 reflect just how strongly he rejects accepting that.

One quick recollection that might aid this argument: Remember how Trump handled the “receipt” of a Purple Heart? A veteran came up to him before he took the stage and handed him a copy of his (the veteran’s) Purple Heart. And Trump says, “I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.”

In other words, he wasn’t ever really interested in doing anything to earn a Purple Heart,  but he loved having it handed to him.

He can’t understand why everyone doesn’t want to just hand it to him, including Mitt Romney. And he really wants to figure that one out, so he can get closer to having fewer people feel as negatively about him as Romney did.

3 thoughts on “Behind the Romney play 

  1. Jill,

    I think the world is filled with people like Trump—drama queen is one term we use for the extreme form—-they just don’t have national media covering them 24/7.

    As for doing whatever we must to protect our particular perception of reality, I think that Cognitive Dissonance pretty much covers that nearly, if not completely, for all of us.


    • Thanks, Diana. There really are very few people who behave like Donald Trump, to the extent he behaves like he does. That’s a good thing. The bad thing is that for people who do behave like Trump, they never change. They really, truly don’t have the capacity. Their ego would be too crushed by reality to survive and so they do whatever they must to protect it.

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