The Poison of Projectile Politics

You’ve heard of projectile vomiting. It’s when vomit exits the mouth with such force that it is propelled over a short but significant distance. It’s not a pleasant topic but then neither are presidential politics right now.

I’m certainly not the only one to see that one of our major party candidates has a compulsive habit of projecting onto others the crimes and faults that he himself possesses. I call it the politics of projectile poison. Along with the routine lying it is among his most unappealing characteristics.


Projection is a term from psychology that can be summarized as putting onto others the traits you own yourself. Trump does it to excess and when something gets under his skin he lashes out.

The question for someone treating him would be whether his projection habit has reached, or is close to reaching, the level of paranoid delusion.

Examples of this pattern of behavior are many and his Tweets are full of his projections onto others.

Tony Schwartz wrote The Art of the Deal for Trump. He’s not a psychologist but he knows him well. His Twitter timeline nails Trump’s behavior with unerring precision. He has advised to look at Trump’s attacks on others as being self description. It’s a great way to read Trump’s Tweets. The insults and names he calls others are always true of him.These were his comments on Trump’s attacks on Hillary.

screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-2-20-31-pmThe examples of Trump’s political projectile poison are many. Check every day and there – amid the barefaced lies – you can see him at it.

Trump built his political career on #birtherism – the notion that Barak Obama is not a real American, was born abroad and therefore is not a legitimate president. This has resonance with racists and an astonishing number of Republicans came to be of the opinion that Obama is not just black but also foreign and possibly muslim. This group is Trump’s deplorable base base. His dismissive acknowledgement yesterday that Obama was actually born in the USA does nothing to change those views that worked so well for him. He expressed no regret, no remorse and offered no apology. It was a great attempt to weasel out of mounting pressure while also sending a nod and a wink to his fans.

So – while there was no taking responsibility for the damage – he did try to project the crime onto Clinton, claiming that she and her 2008 campaign started it first. (Does any of this remind anyone of the worst of elementary school logic?

Trump accused the Clinton Foundation of being a “vast criminal enterprise” and called for it to be “shut down immediately.” Turns out, Trump has used his own foundation tobuy political influence, and is now under investigation by the New York attorney general for illegal contributions. The Clinton Foundation, on the other the hand, has helped 11.5 million people in the developing world get access to AIDS treatment.

Trump who has surrounded himself with support from the KKK and other white supremacist hate groups calls Hillary Clinton a “bigot.

And so on through the entire campaign. Take Tony Schwartz’s advice and notice that when Trump mouths off insults about someone else it is actually true about him.

Spot the lie and name the projection. With Trump it’s pretty much any time he opens his mouth or writes a Tweet.

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