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Donald Trump has a nickname for everyone. Lying Ted, Little Marco, Low Energy Jeb and we can't forget Crooked Hillary. The latest is apparently Sloppy Steve.
Well, it is time to give Trump a nickname, and one nickname he has clearly earned is Dumb Donald. Of course Conman Donald is a good as well. I am sure there are MANY others.
Trump doesn’t think he’s stupid, of course. As he recounted, “I went to an Ivy League college … I did very well. I’m a very intelligent person.”
Yet Trump wasn’t exactly an academic star. One of his professors at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and Finance purportedly said that he was “the dumbest goddamn student I ever had.”
But hold on. It would be dangerous to underestimate this man.
Even if Trump doesn’t read, can’t follow a logical argument, and has the attention span of a fruit fly, it still doesn’t follow that he’s stupid.
There’s another form of intelligence, called “emotional intelligence.”
Emotional intelligence is a concept developed by two psychologists, John Mayer of the University of New Hampshire, and Yale’s Peter Salovey, and it was popularized by Dan Goleman in his 1996 book of the same name.
Mayer and Salovey define emotional intelligence as the ability to do two things – “understand and manage our own emotions,” and “recognize and influence the emotions of others.”
Granted, Trump hasn’t displayed much capacity for the first. He’s thin-skinned, narcissistic, and vindictive.
As dozens of Republican foreign policy experts put it, “he is unable or unwilling to separate truth from falsehood. He does not encourage conflicting views. He lacks self-control and acts impetuously. He cannot tolerate criticism.”
OK, but what about Mayer and Salovey’s second aspect of emotional intelligence – influencing the emotions of others?
This is where Trump shines. He knows how to manipulate people. He has an uncanny ability to discover their emotional vulnerabilities – their fears, anxieties, prejudices, and darkest desires – and use them for his own purposes.
To put it another way, Trump is an extraordinarily talented conman.