Trump: An Outsider Playing an Insider’s Game!

There are tons of quotes from Donald Trump that would have destroyed any other candidates for the race for the presidency of the US or for any other presidency for that matter. These two on Mexico and Mexicans are examples of his outspoken opinions: “I will build a great wall – and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me – and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words” and “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists… And some, I assume, are good people”. Yet, the opinion polls are still volatile, giving Hilary Clinton the edge, at least for the moment. But what lies behind this bombastic style of a Washington outsider that has upset so many insiders?

We know from the Clinton propaganda machine and the liberal media every sin and misdemeanour Donald Trump, his parents, and even grandparents have ever committed. We have lists of his outrageous statements which have caused such indignation among the liberal classes. So questions are being asked. Is it that Trump just speaks his mind and hasn’t got the sophistication of the Washington elite to be politically correct and keep one’s thoughts to one-self? Or is there something more profound in his background that propels him with complete disregard of the consequences?

Donald Trump’s family are Presbyterians and attended the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan where Dr. Norman Vincent Peale was the pastor. The church is one of the few institutions that survive from the foundation of New York by the Dutch. Peale published a best seller, ‘The Power of Persuasive Thinking’ in 1952, which was on the New York Times best-seller list for 186 weeks and sold over five million copies.

The basic idea of this book lies in merging worldliness and godliness: ‘Believe in yourself’, ‘Have faith in yourself’ were expressions echoed throughout Peale’s sermons, and publications. He told his audiences ‘Never to think of yourself as failing’ and ‘depreciate every so-called obstacle’. ‘Negative thoughts’, he stressed, ‘especially a tendency to dwell on one’s faults, could interfere with the divine charge’.  It was a doctrine of self-confidence that turned every negative remark on its head. You are in charge and those who put obstacles in your way were to be brushed aside. Trump holds the ideas of self help based on Norman Vincent Peale’s mix of popular psychology and religion: it is all about being positive and getting ahead in life.

The religious side of Norman Peale’s message has much to do with heretical Calvinism: the Arminian movement. The Calvinistic tradition believes in predestination; that man is corrupt (depraved) and that it is only by God’s gift of salvation that a man can be saved; we have no choice in the matter. Arminians, on the other hand, a breakaway group from the Dutch Calvinist church in the 17th Century, believed that man has free will to accept or reject God. In other words it depended on us, and, appears to be the basis of Dr. Peale’s message: the idea that life depends on oneself and along with God’s help there is a positive path forward in which we can better ourselves. For Norman Peale, “attitudes are more important than facts.” The man who displays “a confident and optimistic thought pattern can modify or overcome the fact altogether.”

So when Trump’s wife Melania was accused of plagiarism, Trump saw the whole dispute as an opportunity for publicity and would not accept that it caused him any setback. He believes that all publicity whether good or bad, is positive in the long run as it keeps his name in the news. He will not be put down with criticism. This self-belief gives him an evident self-confidence to brush off any criticism by the media and to maintain a positive attitude. Even when the instance of the Kahn family broke onto our media headline, he turned the criticism around and just brushed the negativity off. It appears not to have damaged Trump’s self confidence, although it may have damaged him in the eyes of voters.

Some months ago, ‘First Things’, the influential American Journal, published an in-depth article on Donald Trump and the influence of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale on his character and ideas. This article gives us some insight into what makes Donald Trump the personality he is. In contrast, the media continues to describe Trump as a dangerous populist.

We should not automatically take what the media says without exploring a little further into what lies behind this rather bizarre individual. Gore Vidal warned many years ago about the language used by politicians and the media, “As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by destroying it. Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests.”  This game of words and how the politicians, media and public relations people play this game, demonstrates clearly just how the insiders make the rules for the outsiders to follow, and this includes Mr. Donald Trump, the ultimate outsider.

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