Falling Into the Bully's Trap: Bullying in Real Time on Prime Time

As an expert in bullying, I am as astounded by how a bully has entrapped so many in such a short period of time. What is even more astounding is the lack of understanding and appreciation on how dangerous bullies are, and in this instance the potential of turning a democracy into a dictatorship.

Bullying is all about power and control. Bullies are calculating masters of deflection who deceive and manipulate to achieve their ends. Donald Trump, now partnering up with another renowned bully, Chris Christie, has and continues to bully his way to the most powerful position in the world. Christie's endorsement of Trump validates what Trump is leveraging: anger at, disdain for and distrust in the establishment candidates. Trump’s bluster and outrageous statements continue to resonate because he is perceived to tell it like it is. What is missing is an effective offence that convinces the populace that most of what he preaches is a blatant distortion of the facts, and how dangerous he is.

Until the Republican debate on Thursday night when Marco Rubio took on Donald Trump, the mainstream media and the other candidates allowed Trump to go unchecked. Predictably, Trump, using childish school yard bullying tactics, shifted his focus from Ted Cruz to Rubio. Rather than challenging political positions, tried to discredit him by ranting about things like Rubio sweating and drinking too much water, as though they were akin to treason. Unfortunately, Rubio, rather than being more substantive in challenging Trump on his bigotry, racial slurs, intolerance of dissenting viewpoints, inconsistencies, and inflammatory and extreme positions, fell into the bully's trap by taunting Trump on things that have nothing whatsoever to do with his character, capability, qualification or temperament to be the leader of the free world.

An opinion piece called 'Trump Agonistes' in the February 27 - 28, 2016 Wall Street Journal, provides a balanced perspective on how Trump’s competitors are trying to expose his weaknesses. More importantly and worrisome is how Trump is unable to tolerate any kind of criticism or dissent.

To illustrate this, consider a disturbing piece on the front page of last Saturday's New York Times called ‘To Fight Critics, Donald Trump Aims to Instill Fear in 140-Character Doses’ by Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman, reports how Cheri Jacobus, a Republican political strategist, was viciously and personally attacked by Trump, his campaign manager and Trumps followers: "For days they replied to his posts with demeaning, often sexually charged insults aimed at Ms. Jacobus, including several with altered, vulgar photographs of her face." This example is a classic case of how a bully retaliates and is why so few have been courageous enough to expose him. Yes he is feared because people do not want to endure his wrath and this is perfectly understandable. To date, his wrath has just been an articulation, what should be feared is what he could potentially do if he is elected.

Usually bullies are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Fortunately, Trump is more transparent in that what you see and hear is what you get. By being transparent, Trump is also predictable. This predictability offers the populous a view into what could happen if Trump becomes President.

Consider – his threat to sue the New York Times for trying to expose him. As President, will he dilute the first amendment?

Consider – his promise to deport eleven million undocumented immigrants. If he is unsuccessful, will he, as Hitler did, find a final solution?

Consider – his position on Muslims. Will we see a return of internment camps?

Consider – his intolerance of anyone who opposes him. Will we see a return of McCarthyism?

Consider – his high regard for Vladimir Putin. Will he become a Putin?

Consider – his refusal to denounce the endorsement of the KKK. Will they influence the government's agenda?

Consider – his position on free trade. If Canada and Mexico resist, will they be annexed?

Consider – his comment "I love the uneducated.” Will we see a U.S. version of Hitler's Brownshirt movement?

Consider – his obsession with winning. If four years from now, his power and control is at risk, will he abolish the next election?

As indicated at the outset, I am a bullying expert and I know what bullies are capable of and the horrors and damages they can inflict. I also believe in thinking in time. Pre-World War II, in Europe many fell into the bully’s trap. In the early 50's, many in the United States fell into the bully’s trap as well.

All that I can now do is implore Americans to think in time to prevent history from repeating itself.