Saturday, March 12, 2016
We need Jung to analyze the ascendency of Trump
by Larry Geller
Why is Trump advancing steadily in America’s presidential race despite his racism, misogyny and other rather obvious disqualifiers? You’d think this guy doesn’t stand a chance. His own party, the same Republican party that wields almost absolute power over our political system at present, is so far unable to halt his advance.
How can Trump continue to accumulate delegates in his inexorable march toward the Oval Office despite all indications that he should be rejected as a viable candidate?
I suggest that politics and punditry will not give us a workable theory. We must turn to psychology.
If C. G. Jung were alive today he’d be popular on the network talk show circuit explaining how Trump appeals to universal psychological processes.
Trump triggers the collective unconsciousness into an awareness of what is wrong with our government and how it can be changed. Trump unleashes hope that has been repressed and yearning to be set free. He gives us the possibility of individual agency, the promise that our vote can actually make a difference and end our oppression. Note that this transcends views on abortion, human rights, social security, or whatever has dominated the discourse of discontent up to now.
The possibility of electing Trump brings with it the possibility of ending whatever particular oppression is bugging each of us.
If the goal of individual psychology according to Jung is to integrate opposites and advance human development, we can see that the disfunctional processes of American government must also yield ultimately to a process of transformation. We are confronted, at an individual and societal level, by the difficulty, if not the impossibility, of reforming a system of government that is not working for us. We don’t want this dysfunction to simply go on year to year without relief.
How to remove the influence of big money and special interests? It looks to be hopeless. How to regain not only women’s rights, but voter’s rights and racial equality in the current political enviornment? Once again, it appears to be hopeless.
Opposition to the neoliberal leadership that is inflicting damage on the lives of millions of Americans appears weak in comparison to the forces that prop up the status quo.
The apocalypse and the rebirth of power
A Trump (and to a lesser extent, a Sanders) presidency presents the possibility that there is a time ahead when the powerful will be brought down and the commons can be restored.
Perhaps this is the archtype of the Apocalypse, of collapse and rebirth.
So far nothing short of that holds a promise to reform our system of government.
Trump could indeed be the “nuclear option” that brings about the end of the current system, leaving open the possibility to create a true representative democracy in his wake.
Trump needn’t explain in detail how he intends to “make America great again.” It is sufficient that he appears intent on replacing the current political regime.
Trump needn’t explain his failings or defend himself against Romney’s multiple criticisms because it is sufficient that he is intent on replacing the current political regime.
Trump needn’t understand foreign policy as well as Clinton does because it is sufficient that he is intent on replacing the current political regime.
I would love to hear a Jungian analyst’s view of the current political race.