Steven Reisner argues that Trump’s tactical strategies, including lying and bullying, have been such successful political strategies that they cannot be used as evidence of mental illness. I argue that the only delusion in such a successful manipulation of the truth for political advantage is our delusion that Trump is delusional.
An analogy would be calling Kane delusional for believing there was a war in Cuba, in Citizen Kane:
Kane: Read the cable [from the reporter in Havana].
Bernstein: “Girls delightful in Cuba. Stop. Could send you prose poems about scenery, but don’t feel right spending your money. Stop. There is no war in Cuba, signed Wheeler.” Any answer?
Kane: Yes. “Dear Wheeler: you provide the prose poems. I’ll provide the war.”
Was Kane delusional? He lied about a war to create a war.
As he argues in his talk, Trump should be seen as a contemporary version of Freud’s ‘artist’: the one who avoids neurosis by playing on others’ fantasies to make his own desires reality.