Most candidates aspire to sound mature, wise, and trustworthy. Trump’s playground behavior was at the opposite extreme. He called his repulsive sexist conversation with Billy Bush “locker room talk,” but his usual campaign demeanor reflected an even earlier stage in male development. At times he resembled a kindergartner: My __ is bigger than your __.
This is why Republican candidates did not know what to make of him. It’s hard for an adult (which most of them were) to have a serious conversation with a child in the midst of having a months-long tantrum. Some tried talking above him, some down to him, some shouting back, and nothing worked because their hearts weren’t in that age group and his was.
And ultimately he dragged enough of the voters down to his own level of immaturity. When you’ve been seeing an angry child day in and day out, it’s hard not to get that way too. And on election day, those voters threw a tantrum.
“I don’t care what anyone says and I don’t care what happens tomorrow, I’m going to do this now because I’m so angry and you nasty old adults can’t stop me” could have been the mantra of many of Trump’s most ardent supporters.
No wonder the pollsters fell down on the job. How could they predict that the country’s inner child would stand up and scream at a time like that?
The frustrations that produced that resounding primal scream have underlying causes. Unfortunately, Trump is not the one to deal with those causes. He enabled the scream but now will be at a loss what to do about it.