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Monday, November 21, 2016


I'm not sure what to make of whether or how Trump really relates to this incident or the prior one with the guy yelling at the barista. I'm inclined to think these types of people would have said most of what they said even if Trump had lost or never had won. I'd beware of reducing all support for Trump to these types of people.

I recall some video (I don't have the link) of a guy harassing a Chik-fil-a employee because of that company's anti-ssm advocacy. In contrast to people like Rod Dreher, I wouldn't want to imply that all ssm supporters are like that guy. (I support ssm and I'm not like that guy.)

At the same time, I do realize support for ssm is about inclusion while support for Trump is more plausibly read as being about exclusion. (Some pro-ssm advocates may say some nasty--and in my opinion inexcusable--things about evangelicals, but I realize it's not the same thing.) So I'm not saying you're wrong to document these things or to draw a relationship with Trumpism. I just want to parse closely the conclusions we draw from such examples.

The "how" of the relationship is for me, a psychological explanation, which I'll get to later in my comment.

At 45 seconds, the man in the video above shouted "Trump is president asshole!." The Starbucks tantrum-thrower ordered his drink, giving his name as "Trump," so that the barista would have to call out "Trump," which is a thing that Trump supporters are doing at Starbucks as a post-election thumb in the eye.

My guess is that's the reason he construed the slowness of his drink delivery as an affront. He assumed he was the target of retaliation for his mildly obnoxious Trump strutting. More likely, his drink just came up slow because that happens, but people who are deliberately provocative assume retaliation is coming their way. I don't think that incident would have occurred if he wasn't celebrating the Trump victory with his little stunt.

As for the driver who verbally assaulted the Uber driver, Trump's victory was clearly on his mind -- it was in the rant. Sure he could have done that even without the Trump victory, (although not the part about "Trump is president") but he seemed to suggest that the Trump victory vindicates his odious views and perhaps his behavior. Given what he said, I thinks it's actually a stretch to deny that the Trump victory had no part in emboldening his aggression.

The psychological dynamic would be something like riots by fans of a victorious team after a sports victory. An identification with the the idealized object (my team, my powerful candidate) fuels fantasies of limitless, annihilatory power, giving rise to the abandonment of normal social restraints (if you identify with limitless power, the normal rules don't apply to you).

Quite some time ago, I touched on this in a post about narcissistic rage and violence. It can be triggered by feelings of humiliation (see narcissistic rage), or by the victory an idealized object of identification. Explained more here:


I won't belabor this, but there's a further interesting discussion to be had about what kinds of people (in terms of personality) tend to react in these ways, and what kind of idealized object (what characteristics ) particularly inspires these types to react aggressively to victory.

Thanks for the explanation. Before I read it, I would have attributed the driver's rant more to Trump's victory than the Starbuck customer's. From the video, I didn't get that he had said his name was Trump. I just thought he was the a**hole customer people sometimes have to wait on and because saying "I voted for Trump" is now a way to be an a**hole, he chose that.

If I have time I'll read your link and, the story you posted later today.

I will say, as a non-psychologist, one of my defaults is to start from believing people are basically the same and that, for example, I'm not much different from either the Starbucks customer or the driver, even though I never have and (I hope) never would do what they did. I am aware that there are diagnoses such as sociopathy and narcissistic personality disorder that if true suggest people so diagnosed are fundamentally different from the rest of us. But I still start to see myself in whatever (probably very uninformed) picture I have in my mind of what such people are like.

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