As the “run-up” to the 2020 midterm elections unfold; and as we witness the dark divide becoming wider, deeper, and darker, contrasting candidates for political positions can bear fruit for American democracy. It appears the critical decision is to select candidates who can best close the gap between current reality and a desired vision for freedom in America.

How one chooses to “show-up” in the world can be critiqued by research, examination, and witnessing talents, skills, habits, virtues, identities, and experiences; making observations; and scrutinizing character, personality, mentality, and interests. Former President Donald J. Trump offers an excellent example of necessary candidate homework.

Research, Examination, and Witnessing[1]

A track record of business and government failures and absolute chaotic disasters: most consequential president in history; puppet of Vladimir Putin; foreign policy bullying, badgering, and destroying; has abandoned allies; personal business endeavors with several bankruptcies; North Korean nuclear weapons stockpile doubled; pandemic management and leadership non-existent (dereliction of duty resulting in an estimated 250,000 American deaths; and passed buck off to governors who became blame targets); enlisted foreign interference in elections (Russia and China); several obstruction of justice charges; numerous lawsuits; two impeachments; accepts payoffs for positions; and has numerous Trump party cronies—Lindsay Graham, Mitch McConnell, Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, Kevin McCarthy, Josh Hawley, Marjorie Taylor Greene, et al—who are lost souls in search of a tribe and chief. Zero leadership: no decisions made based on strategy, makes decisions on how he feels at the time; can handle small projects and sign executive orders; not able to lead projects large in scope. Orchestrated overthrow of 2020 election, bypassed Constitutional order, and directed a violent insurrection to support a coup against the Vice President and Congress. Immigration policy is inhumane and selection of judges and environmental deregulations may be legacy.  As Bernie Sanders has eloquently noted, “Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Trump golfs.”


Donald J. Trump is a genius at networking and using the media to recruit, retain, and fire, at will, addicted surrogates, circles of friends, admirers, celebrity hangers-on, and wannabes who savor and long for safety and security sought by bonding together and identifying with a tribe to persevere and protect against outsiders. Allegiance and admiration are given to the chief and clan. Mystical signs, conspiracy, and desires of powerful spirit beings must be followed for the continued safety and well-being of the tribe. Four years of behaviors revealed the following:

  • A cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a predator, a con man.
  • Racist, incendiary, casts hate, disruptive, name caller, and divisive; mentally unfit for political office.
  • Repeatedly has disparaged the intelligence of service members: Americans who die in war are “losers” and “suckers.”
  • Tax cuts were a corporate “boondoggle.”
  • Vision for country merely to fix what his administration undermined, agitated, deconstructed, or destroyed during his time in office. Examples: intelligence, FBI, CIA, U.S. Postal Service, voting integrity, CDC, and Supreme Court.
  • Continued stoking of fear, celebrity, and brand building; and show-photo opportunity is the foundation for his rhetoric.
  • Staff selection of addicted surrogates was a disaster and revolving door; and demanded loyalty even if unethical.
  • Surrounded by fixers and “yes men”; encourages rivalries and thrives on personal attacks.
  • Protected by political party sorted, partisan, power worldview associates of the Federal government institution he and his cronies chose to deconstruct and destroy.
  • Conspiracist (example QAnon) and guilty of political cowardice, blaming, passing the buck, and dereliction of duty; shirked constitutionally mandated duty and rewards misconduct.
  • Sexist, multiple lawsuits, and misconduct.
  • Racist: a person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another.
  • Dishonest, arrogant, and narcissist; uses position and financial power for personal gain.
  • Creates martyr, irrelevance, and distractions; misleads, boasts, is egotistical, blamelessness of self, never wrong, and anxious to criticize.
  • People mistakes.
  • Lies, denies, blames, and spins; egotistical and self-serving; unqualified for the position and did not grow into the job because he could not.

Character, Personality, Mentality, and Interests.

  • Low-functioning: includes persons who “… do not exhibit polished and polite behaviors as a mask for their manipulations…may lack the education or interpersonal skills to control and deceive. Instead, they might use threats, coercion, or intimidation to achieve their desired outcome.” (Source: Dr. Timothy J. Legg, “What Is a High-Functioning Sociopath?”, 5-28-2019, https://www.healthline.com, 1-3.)
  • Narcissistic sociopath: one form of antisocial personality disorder and is the result of environmental factors such as a child or teen’s upbringing in a negative household that resulted in physical abuse, emotional abuse, or childhood trauma. (Sources: Mary L. Trump, Too Much and Never Enough, 2020, Simon & Schuster; https://psychcentral.com, Dr. John M. Grohol, “Differences Between a Psychopath vs Sociopath,” 5-20-2020, 1-5; Dr. Tarra Bates-Duford, “Psychopath vs Sociopath: 16 Key Differences,” 9-7-2018, 1-3; https://www.health.com, Rosie McCall, “9 Ways to Spot a Sociopath,” 10-4-2019, 1-7.
  • Gangster, corrupt, and behaves as if above the law.
  • A stale breath of death, hate, narcissism, chaos, fear, conspiracy, norm erosion, “dark,” institutional deconstruction, and neo-facism.

Partisan politics is a dangerous duel of limited and partial truths; and binds party sorted folks to fixed, literal or otherwise limiting beliefs and frames of minds. The trans-rational paradox is quite clear: a fresh breath of hope, empathy, virtues, core values and guiding principles, trustworthiness, leadership, “light,” inspiration, and democracy. W. Edwards Deming remarked, “If a person is not performing as expected, it is probably because they are miscast for the job.” The United States definitely needs a constitutional provision that authorizes the Cabinet, with consent of the Vice President, to declare a sitting president unfit for office.

Pick political leaders who have mastered the authentic self and model the way as persons, in relationships, institutionally, socially, culturally, by caring for and helping others, and putting quality, common good, compassion, and virtue in all he-she is and does. America needs them today and for the evolving future of this great democratic Nation.

[1] Resources list is available with email request to JohnDeVore@aol.com

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