Article Title

A Trumpian Mechanism


In 2016, a liar made a hypocrite appear worse and thereby won the US presidency. How did a liar, which is traditionally deemed something worse than a hypocrite, manage to do this? This article offers an answer. It does so by uncovering a peculiar mechanism, a Trumpian mechanism, at the heart of Trump’s relations with his critics. The mechanism explains how Trump benefited from wrong-footing his critics and is thus essential for understanding Trump’s success. The article offers a few key examples of this mechanism working against Trump’s political opponents, e.g., Trump’s (first) impeachment. It then shows how the mechanism also worked against Trump in regard to his handling of Covid-19. Ultimately, the mechanism helps explain both the outcome of the 2016 and the 2020 elections. The article concludes by stressing the importance of using this mechanism to better understand the Trump phenomenon. It claims that using the mechanism as a guide to understand Trump can prevent empowering the very object we, as critics, often aim to disempower.