- The American Conservative - http://www.theamericanconservative.com -

Inside The Head Of Trump Voters

 

 

Here is the keynote speech the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt gave to the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association last week. It’s about an hour long, and well worth your time. If you only have time to watch half of it, start at around the 29 minute mark:

Haidt devotes his address to the theme “The Centre Cannot Hold” — which is, of course, a line from the famous Yeats poem The Second Coming. Haidt’s point is that we are at a dangerous time in American public life, one in which everyone is “filled with passionate intensity,” to quote Yeats. And Haidt can back it up with data.

He says three graphs demonstrate the reality of our situation. I can’t figure out how to reproduce them here, but if you click on the PowerPoint page on this Haidt post [1], you can see them. The first shows that Congress is more polarized now than it was in the Civil War. The second shows that the American people are also highly polarized, but only by political party. And the third shows that we really hate the Other Party.

One of Haidt’s point is that while the lower middle class and the working class really have suffered economically, the real divide in our country (and throughout the West) right now has to do not with income, but with moral psychology. So yes, it’s still the culture war, stupid. It’s just that the battlefield and the terms of engagement have shifted dramatically.

Here’s something critical: at around the 22:30 part of his talk, Haidt says you can’t blame Bush or Obama for this polarization. There were ten deep cultural trends that started in the 1990s that pushed us to this point, and neither man could have done anything to stop them.

Then Haidt gets to the gist of his address: the dilemma produced by the axiom that morality binds and blinds.

If you look back far enough in humankind’s history, you will observe that you don’t see civilizations starting without their building temples first. Haidt, who is a secular liberal, is not making a theistic point, not really. He’s saying that the work of civilization can only be accomplished when a people binds itself together around a shared sense of the sacred. It’s what makes a people a people, and a civilization a civilization. “It doesn’t have to be a god,” says Haidt. Anything that we hold sacred, and hold it together, is enough.

The thing is, this force works like an electromagnetic field: the more tightly it binds us, the more alien others appear to us, and the more we find it impossible to empathize with them. This is what Haidt means by saying that morality binds and blinds.

Haidt quizzes the 700-800 people in the hall about their Hillary vs. Trump feelings. The group — all psychologists, therapists, professors of psychology, and so forth — were overwhelmingly pro-Hillary and anti-Trump. No surprise there. But then he tells them that if they believe that they could treat without bias a patient who is an open Trump supporter, they’re lying to themselves. In the America of 2016, political bias is the most powerful bias of all — more polarizing by far than race, even.

Haidt turns to the work of social psychologist Karen Stenner, and her 2005 book The Authoritarian Dynamic. [2] The publisher describes the book like this (boldface emphases mine):

What are the root causes of intolerance? This book addresses that question by developing a universal theory of what determines intolerance of difference in general, which includes racism, political intolerance, moral intolerance and punitiveness. It demonstrates that all these seemingly disparate attitudes are principally caused by just two factors: individuals’ innate psychological predispositions to intolerance (“authoritarianism”) interacting with changing conditions of societal threat. The threatening conditions, particularly resonant in the present political climate, that exacerbate authoritarian attitudes include, most critically, great dissension in public opinion and general loss of confidence in political leaders. Using purpose-built experimental manipulations, cross-national survey data and in-depth personal interviews with extreme authoritarians and libertarians, the book shows that this simple model provides the most complete account of political conflict across the ostensibly distinct domains of race and immigration, civil liberties, morality, crime and punishment, and of when and why those battles will be most heated.

Haidt says Stenner discerns three strands of contemporary political conservatism: 1) laissez-faire libertarians (typically, business Republicans); 2) Burkeans (e.g., social conservatives who value stability); and 3) authoritarians.

Haidt makes a point of saying that it’s simply wrong to call Trump a fascist. He’s too individualistic for that. He’s an authoritarian, but that is not a synonym for fascist, no matter how much the Left wants to say it is.

According to Haidt’s reading of Stenner, authoritarianism is not a stable personality trait. Most people are not naturally authoritarian. But the latent authoritarianism within them is triggered when they perceive a threat to the stable moral order.

It’s at this point in the talk when Haidt surely began to make his audience squirm. He says that in his work as an academic and social psychologist, he sees colleagues constantly demonizing and mocking conservatives. He warns them to knock it off. “We need political diversity,” he says. And: “They are members of our community.”

The discourse and behavior of the Left, says Haidt, is alienating millions of ordinary people all over the West. It’s not just America. We are sliding towards authoritarianism all over the West, and there’s really only one way to stop it.

At the 41:37 point in the talk, Haidt says that we can reduce intolerance and defuse the conflict by focusing on sameness. We need unifying rituals, beliefs, institutions, and practices, he says, drawing on Stenner’s research. The romance the Left has long had with multiculturalism and diversity (as the Left defines it) has to end, because it’s helping tear us apart.

This fall, the Democrats are taking Stenner’s advice brilliantly, says Haidt, referring to the convention the Dems just put on, and Hillary’s speech about how we’re all better off standing together. Haidt says this is actually good advice, period. “It’s not just propaganda you wheel out at election time,” he says. If we don’t have a feasible conservative party, we open the way for authoritarianism.

To end the talk, Haidt focuses on what his own very tribe — psychologists and academics — can do to make things better. They can start by being aware of their own extreme bias. “We lean very far left,” he says, then shows a graph tracking how far from the center the academy has become over the past 20 years.

Haidt says we don’t need “equality” — that is, an equal number of conservatives and liberals in the academy. We just need to have diversity enough for people to be challenged in their viewpoints, so an academic community can flourish according to its nature. But this is not what we have. According to the research Haidt presents, in 1996, liberals in the academy outnumbered conservatives 2:1. Today, it’s 5:1 — and the conservatives are concentrated in engineering and other technical fields. Says Haidt: “In the core areas of the university — in the humanities and social sciences —  it’s 10 to 1 and 40 to 1.”

The Right has left the university faculties, he said — and a lot of that is because they got tired of the “hostile climate and discrimination”

“People who are not on the left … are often in the closet,” says Haidt. “They can’t speak up. They can’t criticize. They hear somebody say something, they believe it’s false, but they can’t speak up and say why they believe it’s false. And that is a breakdown in our science.”

Until they repent (my word, not his), university professors will continue to be part of the problem, not the solution, says Haidt. He ends by calling on his colleagues to “get our hearts in order.” To stop being moralistic hypocrites. To be humble. To be more forgiving, and more open to hearing what their opponents have to say. Says Haidt, “If we want to change things, we need to do it more from the perspective of love, not of hate.”

It’s an extraordinary speech by a brave man who is a true humanist. Watch it all here, and read more about it.  [1]

Here’s what I think about all of this.

I don’t think the center can hold anymore. It’s too late. The cultural left in this country is very authoritarian, at least as regards orthodox Christians and other social conservatives. On one of the Stenner slides, we see that she defines one characteristic of authoritarians as “punishing out groups.” Conservative Christians are the big out group for the cultural left, and have been for a long time.

We are the people who defile what they consider most sacred: sexual liberty, including abortion rights and gay rights. The liberals in control now (as distinct from all liberals, let me be clear) have made it clear that they will not compromise with what they consider to be evil. We are the Klan to them. Error has no rights in this world they’re building.

If you’ll recall my blogging about Hillary Clinton’s convention speech, I really liked it in theory — the unity business. The thing is, I don’t believe for one second that it is anything but election propaganda. I don’t believe that the Democratic Party today has any interest in making space for us. I wish I did believe that. I don’t see any evidence for it. They and their supporters will drive us out of certain professions, and do whatever they can to rub our noses in the dirt.

I know liberal readers of this blog will say, “But we don’t!” To which I say: you don’t, maybe, but you’re not running the show, alas.

The threat to the moral order is very real, and not really much of a threat anymore; it’s a reality. As I’ve written in this space many times, this is not something that was done to us; all of us, Republicans and Democrats, Christians and non-Christians, have done this to ourselves. At this point, all I want for my tribe is to be left alone. But the crusading Left won’t let that happen anymore. They don’t even want the Mormons to be allowed to play football foe the Big 12, [3] for heaven’s sake. This assault is relentless. Far too many complacent Christians believe it will never hurt them, that it will never happen where they live. It can and it will.

There is no center anymore. Alasdair MacIntyre was right. I may not be able to vote in good conscience for Trump (and I certainly will not vote for Hillary Clinton), but I know exactly why a number of good people have convinced themselves that this is the right thing to do. Haidt says that the authoritarian impulse comes when people cease trusting in leaders. Yep, that’s where a lot of us are, and not by choice.

This week, I’ve been interviewing people for the Work chapter of my Benedict Option book. In all but one case, the interviewees — lawyers, law professors, a doctor, corporate types, academics — would only share their opinion if I promised that I wouldn’t use their name. They know what things are like where they work. They know that this is going to spread. That fear, that remaining inside the closet, tells you something about where you are. When professionals feel that to state their opinion would be to put their careers at risk, we are not in normal times.

The center has not held. I certainly wish Jon Haidt well. He’s a good man doing brave, important work. And I hope he proves me wrong on this. I honestly do. Because if I’m right, there goes America. On the other hand, reasoning that this must not be true therefore it is not true is a good way to get run over.

170 Comments (Open | Close)

170 Comments To "Inside The Head Of Trump Voters"

#1 Comment By A.J. Kinnamamn On August 15, 2016 @ 10:03 pm

“Trump will discuss, Hillary will not” Seriously? Trumps badgers, bluffs and bullshits, and often welches on the final agreement. One of Mrs Clinton’s most admired qualities is her willingness to listen.

#2 Comment By A.J. Kinnamamn On August 15, 2016 @ 10:10 pm

“I don’t believe that the Democratic Party today has any interest in making space for us.” Space at the table, but not the head of the table.

#3 Comment By EliteCommInc. On August 15, 2016 @ 10:29 pm

“Actually, I don’t think that is accurate, either. I think that the media, and many Democrats and Republicans are saying he SHOULD NOT say those things, not that he CAN’T say those things.”

If you want to couch the don’ts in shouldn’t that’s fine with me. The intended effect is the same.

He shouldn’t respond to attacks by the parents of veterans.

He shouldn’t claim that some illegal immigrants are rapists, thieves and murders.

He shouldn’t say that the “second amendment people” will deal the Sec of State.

It’s the same effect a hyperbolic, “He can’t say that.” Political correctness lost its purpose ages ago.

Instructor’s can’t rape.

Instructor’s cannot have the title of Master and cannot use the term.

Students cannot say this and they cannot say that.

Trying to hide behind the original optional dissection doesn’t work well in light of the realities of correct speech. In fact, I think that is part of what Dr. Haidt is alluding to here. The language being pressed by many on his side of the aisle is mandated not a choice.

Hence the use of the word — shouldn’t.

The only words missing . . . He should not be allowed to do that.
____________________

#4 Comment By EliteCommInc. On August 15, 2016 @ 10:30 pm

“Instructor’s can’t rape.”

” . . . can’t say rape.”

#5 Comment By A.J. Kinnamamn On August 15, 2016 @ 10:32 pm

“who among your [Democratic] party is to blame for letting all the anti-Christian bigots into the tent?” Bit hyperbolic?
I cant think of a major DP spokesperson explicitly attacking Christianity.

#6 Comment By A.J. Kinnamamn On August 15, 2016 @ 10:49 pm

It would be incautious to extrapolate from Haidt’s teaching technique of pointing out the entrenched values of his audience any general conclusions about left/right or Dems/Repubs.

So while there is much wailing here about the supposed authoritarianism and religious bigotry of the left…

1. it was the GOP that introduced parliamentary discipline into our presidential system and disallowed regional differences.

2. it was the GOP that attempted to delegitimized the admins of WJ Clinton and BH Obama through abuse of investigative powers from Whitewater to #Benghazi!!!

3. It was the GOP that has adopted a policy of blind opposition to the point where they will not even hold hearings to fill a seat on the supreme court or come up with a budget.

Which is why the likes of Mitch McConnell are as much a threat the common good and general welfare as Donald Trump.

#7 Comment By M. F. Bonner On August 16, 2016 @ 8:07 am

“The only words missing . . . He should not be allowed to do that.”

Again, not exactly that. He is running for President of the United States. I will assume that he actually wants to be the President of the United States and that his campaign is not some bizarre form of “performance art.”

Then he SHOULD exercise discretion when he speaks and he SHOULD remember that, at this point, his goal isn’t just to keep his base and his loyal supporters happy, it is to persuade those who do not necessarily agree with some of his positions that he is calm, deliberate, careful, and thoughtful…In a word, Presidential. I imagine that some of his smarter advisors are telling him something very similar to that, and probably have been for several months. He himself said something about being more presidential as he campaigns. Perhaps he should have listened to his own advice.

There are things I SHOULD say at work, and there are things I SHOULD NOT say at work. There are things I SHOULD say in Church, and things I SHOULD NOT say at Church.

I can say any one of the things I SHOULD NOT say anywhere any time, but I have to be smart enough to know that it might cause me trouble if I do. I don’t expect to be arrested (unless I yell fire in a crowded movie house, or the equivalent), but there are certainly things I can say at work that would get me fired. There are things I could say in Church that would get me invited to leave.

There are things that Trump can say on the campaign trail that will cost him votes. Say enough of them, and the cost in votes might cost the election.

“He shouldn’t respond to attacks by the parents of veterans.”

Of course he should. If he wants to get elected, he must. If he is elected his is President of the US, including President of those who did not vote for him and may even despise him. He has to be able to talk to all of them. Sometimes, the most affective way to respond to an attack is not to hit back, but to defuse the situation. I have seen any number of different suggestions for how he might have done this if he had paused for a moment and given serious thought to how to respond.

“He shouldn’t claim that some illegal immigrants are rapists, thieves and murders.”

Being opposed to illegal immigration and wanting the government to do more about it is a legitimate political position. Trump is supposed to be an expert salesman and negotiator. How you state your position (in sales or running for President) needs to be targeted to your audience. His audience now is the same as his audience in the primaries. Didn’t 2012 teach anyone that what you say is fodder for your opponents. Ask Senators Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock.

“He shouldn’t say that the “second amendment people” will deal the Sec of State.”

I will give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he was calling on supporters of a strong second amendment right to get out and vote for him. But again, I am amazed that, it seems to be so hard for him to take the time to be deliberate and think about his response before blurting it out. Unscripted speeches are a skill that takes a lot of time and practice doing. Political speeches are not the same as sales speeches, although there are certainly plenty of similarities. But he seems to be taking a long time to learn that lesson.

#8 Comment By M. F. Bonner On August 16, 2016 @ 8:10 am

One correction:

His audience now is NOT the same as his audience in the primaries.

I His audience now is the same as his audience in the primaries. I SHOULD, perhaps have taken more time expressing the thought in that sentence.

#9 Comment By EliteCommInc. On August 16, 2016 @ 11:53 am

I think we are in agreement. Save this, and it’s a true nuance.

I give Mr. Trump some leeway here because this audience (the general public) and product require a set of skills he is just now learning and some he is rightly ignoring.

But I remain convinced that the import here by the press and his opponents is not the case you are making as to appropriateness, distinction, mannerisms, audience tailoring.

It is press that resembles the new demands of what constitutes sublegal speech violations (supra-police coding) to shut him down a unworthy of the office by the same.

“Being opposed to illegal immigration and wanting the government to do more about it is a legitimate political position. Trump is supposed to be an expert salesman and negotiator. How you state your position (in sales or running for President) needs to be targeted to your audience. His audience now is the same as his audience in the primaries. Didn’t 2012 teach anyone that what you say is fodder for your opponents. Ask Senators Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock.”

In the case of Sen Akin, he used the language awkwardly. But here’s the point. The vitriol by liberals and even conservatives was unreasoned and childish. They are perfect examples of the “should’t” “can’t” intent. Foolish conservatives who ran amok about something so innocuous as phrasing removed an important voice in supporting life in the womb. So offended by the suggestion that few if any actually sought out what he is referring to. As it runs out there is an interesting body of research that examines where the trauma of rape causes chemical releases that terminate a woman’s pregnancy.

I am unfamiliar with Sen Mourdock’s issue. But upon a quick look. I have no doubt that the intention here is turn an idea that God makes no mistakes into some kind of insane speech violation was the outrage of the day.

Instead we get a silly discussion over what a completely misleading faux outrage by women. This is the game of a mass media and punditry clique that have abandoned any sense of objective reality, intended to shut down the speaker. That in my view is the unreasonable standard.
______________________
On a much lighter note and in accordance with semantic, cultural and contextual use of language as to audience, here’s some humor introduced to me by my room mate.

[4]

#10 Comment By EliteCommInc. On August 16, 2016 @ 5:18 pm

Unfortunately the same sex marriage thing is the image. While funny. It is not as funny as the first web site reference.

#11 Comment By joe splieg On August 16, 2016 @ 7:19 pm

The ‘Left vs. Right’ paradigm is dead.

Rather, ‘controlists’ are at one end of the spectrum, and ‘anarchists’ are at the other.

One group wants to ‘control’:
your softdrink size
what lightbulb you use
what car you drive
if you can eat red meat
if you can own a gun
what kind of toilet you buy
who you can sell to from your store
what breed of dog you may own
what kind of flag you may fly
what words they will allow you to use
your beliefs on the ‘weather’
welfare benefits for foreigners who ignore our laws

One group just wants to be left alone.

I’ll let the reader decide which candidate belongs to which group.

#12 Comment By J-Dawg On August 16, 2016 @ 7:45 pm

Most of the people commenting here appear to be voting for President this November. I’m not voting for president. I’m voting for the person best suited to expose and clean out the filth that has accumulated in Washington. The person who is most likely to shine a light on the corruption and then do something about it. It’s really gotten so bad that we can’t function as a productive country any more. Do you really think anyone can lead a country where corruption has more value than basic integrity? MY hope is that Trump will do that. Otherwise, he’ll just be another guy on heap of history.

#13 Comment By Pelham On August 16, 2016 @ 7:56 pm

Camille Paglia has offered an interesting related thought on this general subject. She noted what a wonderful thing it is for gays, transgenders and other individuals of various descriptions that they’re now accepted by society.

But, as Paglia also notes from similar developments in other societies over the centuries, the new freedoms and acceptance tend to point to an irreversible breakdown in the civilizations involved.

Haidt sounds about right, but there’s little chance that the tide can be reversed, though one wishes it could be.

Finally and separately, to be fair, I should note that I’ve encountered a few on the left who basically agree with Haidt and feel some personal guilt for the rise of authoritarianism. He’s not quite as alone as he may think, as even Thomas Frank’s book “Listen, Liberal” also suggests. So maybe that’s an encouraging note.

#14 Comment By EliteCommInc. On August 17, 2016 @ 4:24 am

“Unscripted speeches are a skill that takes a lot of time and practice doing. Political speeches are not the same as sales speeches, although there are certainly plenty of similarities. But he seems to be taking a long time to learn that lesson.”

I routinely get on m bike for some exercise. As a rule, no less than an hour on the trainer and no less than 20 miles on course. Neither of those are that intense for most riders.

Two days ago I added some ab work, it’s been years since I have even done a deep knee bend. But I am not unaccustomed to exercise.
I did less than five reps of push ups, flutters, and kick starts less tn fifteen minutes has me panting and whining, and my ans hurt. One would think exercise is exercise, but it’s not. I have no idea how long it will take my body to accommodate the new routine, if I can stick with it.

But six hours later I am still huffing. And the impact on riding is that I simply don’t have the stomach to get on the bike. I am sure it’s psychological, but until the two get in sync it’ll be a fit and start in which something or both will take a hit until there is some balance.

I have mixed feelings about Mr. trump conforming to the expectations of standard politics but that process was never going to be as smooth as one hopes.

But there’s nothing about where he is now that causes me to into fits of fear and dread and there’s no reason for anyone else to either, in my view.

Just a note; a brief look on the Gold Star business. It was created by Cindy Sheehan and based on my read of her activities. She never intended it to be a shield from political discourse. There’s no indication that she herself would have accused Pres Bush of foul play be engaging in debate or discussion about Iraq by using her sons service or sacrifice to shut down discourse.

Especially discourse initiated by the Gold Star parent. The the democrats have used it in this instance is not her intention. And I doubt she’s fan of Mr. Trump’s. Still I doubt she would say that Mr. Trump must be silent.

#15 Comment By bogbeagle On August 17, 2016 @ 5:56 am

If you ARE voting … then you are one of those Authoritarians whom you despise.

You seek to impose your own world-view on your neighbours, using the violent mechanisms of the State.

#16 Comment By Larry On August 17, 2016 @ 5:57 pm

It seems to me the deep pockets of the right (Koch brothers, et. al) wield much more power and influence than the academic crowd. Cynical decision by Nixon and Reagan to embrace the racism of the South helped propel us to this current predicament. But Fox News and social media intensifies this division and “objective research ” is not likely to be supported or listened to (I.e. Climate change or gun violence). Appreciate Haidt’s effort to listen be open to the different sides and we should not give up our effort to listen to opposing viewpoints.

#17 Comment By Gekko On August 17, 2016 @ 6:43 pm

I’m sorry, but I really disagree with the attribution of agency here. The left is what it is because of close to 100 years of the right purging us from jobs and government, calling us traitors, and taking an enormous amount of pleasure in “pissing off the libtards”. Take the plank out of your own eye, and I’ll meet you halfway, but I feel no responsibility to take the first step towards someone who laughs at jokes where my horrible death is the punchline.

[NFR: You’ve given me a lede for a new piece: “Inside The Head Of Paranoid Left-Wing Haters” — RD]

#18 Comment By WalkingHorse On August 18, 2016 @ 5:24 am

It is the Left that originated the phrase, “The personal is political.” Being one of those who wishes others had the decency to leave me alone, I can discern who is surely my enemy from those who might not be enemies.

#19 Comment By Linda Goodman On August 18, 2016 @ 11:39 pm

Sure, doc..
[5]
“Donald Trump: “[T’he dearest, most thoughtful, most loyal, most caring man”
Brash in public, the Republican candidate’s kindness wins loyalty in private
excerpts:
For 26 years, [Norma] Foerderer was Mr. Trump’s top aide, becoming his vice president. […] No one knew so well both the personal and business side of Mr. Trump. [She] gave me her only in-depth interview about Donald. Foerderer said there are two Donald Trumps: the “outrageous” one that utters brash comments on television and the real one that only she and other insiders know.

“I mean Donald can be totally outrageous, but outrageous in a wonderful way that gets him coverage.” […] The private Mr. Trump, on the other hand, is “the dearest, most thoughtful, most loyal, most caring man,” Foerderer said. That caring side inspires loyalty and is one of his secrets to his success. Foerderer began with Mr. Trump in February 1981 as a secretary. […] After interviewing Foerderer for two minutes, Donald hired her. […] At the time, he had only seven employees. Foerderer found that Donald had no files: He retained everything in his head, and his lawyer kept his contracts.

“Donald is such a man of vision,” Foerderer said. “He allows you to do whatever you want.” […] Foerderer found that Mr. Trump “instills in you the desire to do more and more and more, and you want to please him. And yet he rarely criticizes. I mean he would, if you did something stupid. He allows you to expand, if you come in with an idea, he’ll say, ‘Fine, run with it, and see what you do.’ This motivates and challenges you even more, and you want to please him because you admire him so much.”

Barbara Res experienced the same freedom when Mr. Trump hired her in September 1980 to be in charge of building the 68-story Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue. Female executives in the construction business were almost non-existent, but Mr. Trump put his faith in her and told her he wanted her to “treat everything as if it were my project and my money and I would be his final word,” she says.

Mr. Trump taught Foerderer how to negotiate and would brag about her ability. “Well, I learned from the master,” she said. […] “I’ve sat in on meetings with lawyers where he introduces ideas to them that have merit,” Foerderer said. “I’ve seen him work with architects where he does the very same thing. He’ll take that big magic marker and slash it here or there and change and create rooms. It works. Everybody stands around like dummies because they didn’t realize this could be done.”

Mr. Trump is the opposite of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who is so nasty to her Secret Service agents that being assigned to her detail is considered a form of punishment. When Mr. Trump bought Mar-a-Lago, he kept on 70-year-old gardeners who could barely pull weeds but had worked loyally for Marjorie Merriweather Post on the estate she built in 1927.

The Trump Organization has 22,450 employees, but when Donald’s Palm Beach butler Tony Senecal had heart problems, Mr. Trump visited him in the hospital and insisted that he stay at Mar-a-Lago – a paradise that spans both sides of the island – to recuperate. When Foerderer began having a problem with her eyes and had to stay at home, Mr. Trump called her every week and sent her baskets of gourmet food.

In contrast to some Palm Beach clubs that to this day do not admit blacks or Jews, Mr. Trump made it a point of admitting them, earning the ire of the town’s Old Guard. As I interviewed Mr. Trump on his plane, he imitated the constricted, nasal tones of blue bloods condemning his club because it does not discriminate.

Foerderer believed she clicked with Donald because she was completely honest with him. “As I came to know him, I realized that Donald is a tremendous man, and I admire him enormously, but if I disagree on something, I would be the first to say to him, ‘Donald, I don’t think so,'” she said. In turn, people appreciate the multibillionaire’s candor, another key to his success, she said.

Asked what she would tell others who want to succeed, Foerderer said, “I would tell them to dream, and to have a vision and a goal. Think about what you want to do, love it, and if you love it enough, you’ll realize your dreams. That’s what Donald’s done.”

• Ronald Kessler, a former Washington Post reporter, is the author of “The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents” (Crown Forum, 2014).

#20 Comment By Rick Starr On March 9, 2017 @ 6:29 pm

Poll Conservatives and Liberals about whether Obama is a Kenyan secret Muslim and you will get sharply polarized views, but we know the facts. The “alternative facts” universe so happily embraced by the Right is not a place for Liberals to “be more tolerant”, and the example given is only one of dozens, perhaps hundreds. The author needs to consider whether compromise is a good idea when people are lying and destroying reputations in pursuit of partisan goals, and if it is not, then perhaps he needs to spend more time evaluating, you know, “facts.” (E.g. “Obamacare was *rammed thru*, even though it had months of hearings, while Trumpcare is already out of committee, with virtually no input from liberals.” Where is the outrage? Or is this another place the Left should “compromise”?