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Is Donald Trump clinically sane? Seriously.

This morning my inbox contained two fascinating items.

One was forwarded to me by a friend, an article from the Right Wisconsin, Charlie Sykes' magazine, written by a gentleman named Jerry Bader. It's entitled, "Is Trump Still the Lesser of Two Evils if He's Crazy?" It cites a second article by Stephen Hayes in the Weekly Standard entitled "Donald Trump Is Crazy, and So Is the GOP for Embracing Him."

Basically, Bader and Hayes simply put a more charitable construction on Trump's bizarre behavior and crazy statements than those of us who have noticed these obvious and troubling patterns have hitherto. Maybe he's not the liar he appears to be when those statements are compared to the facts. Perhaps his simplistic, erratic and obviously unworkable "solutions" to our nation's problems are not cynical ploys to exploit the anger and frustration of middle-class voters who may not be informed enough to recognize them for the nonsense they are.

Maybe Trump actually believes them.

This is, as I said, a charitable reading of the facts which have lead so many to believe that Trump is an incorrigible and pathological liar. He may honestly believe those things. He may be delusional.

The question arises at this particular time because of Trump's reaction to Ted Cruz's non-endorsement at Cleveland. One of Trump's multitude of crazy statements and tinfoil-hat conspiracy theories is that Ted Cruz's father had breakfast with Lee Harvey Oswald before the JFK assassination, and, by implication, may have been involved in the conspiracy to kill the president.

It should be said quite firmly that there is absolutely no evidence of this other than a picture in the National Enquirer that Trump thinks looks like the elder Cruz. It should be said that despite all the examination of the evidence concerning the Kennedy assassination and all the crackpot theories out there about conspiracies nobody but Trump has ever made that accusation. No student of the events of November 22, 1963 even takes Trump's bizarre accusation seriously.

Cruz understandably takes exception to this innuendo, which- along with Trump's ungallant, gratuitous and inaccurate attack on the looks of Cruz's wife, understandably took the rivalry between the two men into the realm of the personal. I  would certainly have an issue with somebody who accused my father of being a co-conspirator with Oswald and publicly, for no particular reason, suggested that my wife was a bow-wow! Moreover, I would not be especially inclined to endorse that man for the presidency!

But it gets even more bizarre. This is the Republican nominee discussing Cruz, less than twelve hours after accepting the nomination:

I don't know his father. I met him once. I think he's a lovely guy. I think he's a lovely guy. All I did was point out the fact that on the cover of the National Enquirer there was a picture of him and crazy Lee Harvey Oswald having breakfast. Now, Ted never denied that it was his father. Instead, he said Donald Trump—I had nothing to do with it. This was a magazine that, frankly, in many respects should be very respected.

Let that sink in for a moment. Trump's source for all but accusing a man of complicity in the assassination of the President of the United States is  a picture which nobody but him even suspects is Raphael Cruz in the National Enquirer- which he regards as "a magazine that, frankly, in many respects should be very respected."

The National Enquirer.

He continues:

Did anybody ever deny that it was the father? They're not saying: 'Oh, that wasn't really my father.' It was a little hard to do. It looked like him.

One of two human beings who may next January become President of the United States takes the National Enquirer as a credible source and believes that it is undeniable that Raphael Cruz is the man in the picture because he thinks it looks like him.

The thing is, Cruz has in fact repeatedly and angerly denied that it is his father, even citing the slander as one of the reasons why it would be hard for him to support Trump! Furthermore, experts on the assassination don't take Trump's accusation seriously. Nobody but Trump (and of course his followers, who believe literally anything he says) does.This is one of the disturbing things about The Donald: if a fact is inconvenient at the moment, he won't simply ignore it. He will categorically state the opposite, no matter how patently silly and transparently false his statement is. He lies boldly, knowing that in any case, his uninformed followers will believe anything he says and belligerently deny the truth no matter how strong the evidence. Hillary Clinton is a much slicker liar than Trump is, and lies considerably less often (remember the study that said that Trump, on the average, tells one falsehood every five minutes?)  And she is not nearly so shameless.

Or are they lies? Could there be another reason for Trump's bizarre and transparent disregard for the truth?

Could it be that Trump honestly believes that the man in the picture is Raphael Cruz, that the National Enquirer is not only a credible magazine but one which should be "very much respected," that when he made that statement he was not consciously aware that Cruz has repeatedly and loudly denied the very thing Trump says that he never denied!

Trump continues:

I know nothing about his father. I know nothing about Lee Harvey Oswald. But there was a picture, on the front page of the National Enquirer, which does have credibility—and they're not going to do pictures like that because they get sued for a lot of money if things are wrong, okay?

This of the National Enquirer, which is routinely sued and shrugs it off because sales are so profitable that the damages don't make a dent in them.

Do a Google search on "Donald Trump and Narcissistic Personality Disorder." Here. I"ll even provide you with the link. This is a mental disorder akin to psychopathy, and it's very dangerous for a person with this disorder to be given power. Go ahead. Read a few of the many articles by qualified professionals who believe that Trump has it.

The Mayo Clinic website lists the criteria for a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder given by DSM-V, the diagnostic and statistical manual of the American Psychiatric Association as including the following:

Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
Exaggerating your achievements and talents
Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
Requiring constant admiration
Having a sense of entitlement
Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
Taking advantage of others to get what you want
Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
Being envious of others and believing others envy you
Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner

No, appearances to the contrary, that is not the outline of a biography of Donald Trump!

Some also believe that he is an out-and-out psychopath or sociopath. The co-author of The Art of the Deal, Tony Schwartz, worries about Trump's "sociopathic tendencies." Former New Hampshire Senator Gordon Humphrey comes right out and expresses his belief that Trump is, indeed, a sociopath. The idea that the erratic and often bizarre Trump is mentally ill is not a new idea. Trump himself once told Jimmy Fallon that he never does anything wrong. On another occasion, he said that he doesn't have to repent or ask God for forgiveness because he doesn't "make mistakes."  He said, however, that he goes to communion and "that's a form of asking forgiveness."

These statements do nothing to dispel concerns about possible sociopathy or psychopathy. The DSM-V criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder, as psychopathy and sociopathy are now called clinically, are found here.

I do not give these either to play armchair psychologist or to encourage you to do so. There are things about Donald Trump's history which raise real and genuine questions about whether he's a sociopath or even a psychopath. Some who are qualified to make such a diagnosis- which I am not- believe that he is one. Given the stakes and given the fact that it is we who have the responsibility of deciding whether or not this man will be the next President of the United States,  there are obvious patterns in his behavior which, it seems to me, are cause for legitimate concern.

But Hayes takes it to the next step. Could it be that Trump really believes the absurd things he says? "Crazy" is not a clinical term. But could it be that Trump is delusional? Could he actually be psychotic? It doesn't seem unreasonable, given the patterns observable in Donald Trump's life and behavior, to be concerned.

And Bader asks the inevitable next question: as bad as Hillary Clinton would doubtless be, is it really better t have a man who may be a psychopath or even psychotic  with his finger on the nuclear button, making the decisions every day which all of our lives and well-being depend on ,  and having the enormous powers of the presidency at his fingertips?

If Donald Trump is crazy, does that still make him the lesser of two evils? It's not crazy to be concerned that he might be.

The other piece of mail in my inbox was rather sobering in light of the Bader article. Jim Geraghty of National Review points out that Trump did, in fact, get a "bump" from his convention, and that according to two polls he now leads Hilary Clinton.

I don't expect that to last. Hillary has her convention this week, and unless it's our nation that has also lost its mind I don't think Trump can possibly survive an examination of the kind a general election campaign will subject him.

But I"m a bit frightened anyway. You should be, too.


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