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Would Donald Trump pass the psychopath test?

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Trump at a rally in Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix, Arizona.
Trump at a rally in Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix, Arizona.
(Image by Gage Skidmore)
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Heard of the psychopath test? It's based on the Hare Psychopathy Checklist, which is what psychologists use to determine whether someone clinically qualifies as a psychopath. If someone fails the test it doesn't mean they're going to be (or are) a murderer. Nor does it mean they can't function in our society. It means they have a specific set of traits that--let's be honest--help them get ahead in a society that often rewards those who profit at the expense of others.

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You've probably heard of antisocial personality disorder. A person who fails the psychopath test may very well qualify for one of the many types of this personality disorders . Think about what you've seen so far from the Donald Trump persona on the campaign trail. Does any of this sound familiar? Here's a list of the criteria for antisocial personality disorder:

--- Gets angry often

--- Is arrogant

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--- Manipulates others

--- Acts witty and charming to get what they want

--- Lies frequently

--- Steals

--- Acts aggressively and fights often

--- Breaks the law

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--- Doesn't care about others' safety

--- Doesn't show guilt or remorse for actions

Trump certainly gets angry quite a bit. Columbia Journalism Review's Trevor Timm counts at least eleven times Trump has threatened to sue the press during his campaign. He threatened to sue The New York Times over that publication's scoop on his million-dollar tax write-off. He's had members of the press banned from his rallies, he had a Vice reporter arrested, he sued Bill Maher for a joke as to whether he was born an orangutan, Rosie O'Donnell--the list goes on and on.

Trump is arrogant. During the first debate, he said taking advantage of tax loopholes makes him smart. Enough said on this one. I don't think I need to cart out more evidence. But one more: he also said that when you're famous like Trump, women let you get away with anything, including trying to sexually molest them.

Does Trump try to manipulate others? The infamous Trump University fiasco answers that question. He's being sued by students claiming he ripped them off with a for-profit college scheme. Managers from the 'University' are corroborating the students' claims.

Trump has indeed been acting witty and charming to try and get what he wants: the presidency. But this breaks down when he loses his temper and starts acting like an animal backed into a corner. The days of his wit and charm came and went with the battle against other Republicans in the primary.

As for lying frequently, you'd have to be completely oblivious, or a conspiracy theorist, to not recognize the extent of this man's lies. The Politifact Scorecard from 2015 shows a combined total of 52% of his statements were false. Only 4% of them were true. And that's just from 2015. 2016 is revealing a whole raft of lies. If I start getting into them here this would go on for too long.

Does Trump steal from people? The Trump University situation will give us clear proof. And if you Google "Trump" and "theft" you'll see a lot of results that tie him into shady dealings. But he would simply claim negative media reports are all a part of one big conspiracy.

As far as acting aggressively goes, during the second debate he did say he'll have Hillary locked up for her email scandal. He also stalked her menacingly on stage. But there aren't any reports of out-and-out fist-fights. Yet.

Has Trump broken the law? Multiple women claim he sexually assaulted them. But throughout his life, money has, for the most part, determined whether or not his actions are "lawful", as the Atlantic's cheat sheet on his many scandals shows. He did employ illegal Polish workers to build Trump Tower, and he did break New York State law regarding casino lobbying. There are more laws he's broken, but dollars mean he's not in jail.

Finally, it's clearly obvious that Trump does not show guilt or remorse for his actions. A lack of remorse has been his defining characteristic during his presidential campaign, highlighted by a series of public-relations mishaps that academics will be studying for years to come. Even when caught with his pants down for saying he out-and-out molests women, he said that's not who he is. Then who is Donald Trump? Psychologists will make a case study out of the answer to that question for years to come.

 

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Daniel Matthews is a thirty-two years young freelance writer and musician from Boise, Idaho. In 2006 he earned his Bachelor's Degree in English with a Creative Writing Emphasis from Boise State University. Boise State's faculty includes two of (more...)
 

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