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The fallout from the 2005 Access Hollywood video published by the Washington Post Friday showing Donald Trump making crude sexual remarks and bragging in obscene language about sexually forcing himself on women, has plunged the Republican Party into “an epic and historic political crisis” as a growing number of prominent Republicans call on Trump to drop out of the race (“GOP consumed by crisis as more Republicans call on Trump to quit race” by Jenna Johnson and Robert Costa, Washington Post, Oct. 8, 2016).

http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.2821853.1475872529!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/article_750/hotmike8n-4-web.jpg
Image: New York Daily News

Trump, who offered “a qualified apology for the remarks” in a video statement, reportedly told the Post “he would not drop out under any circumstances.”

trump-i-will-never-drop-out
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2016

That is fully consistent with Trump’s personality profile, which for practical purposes is nearly identical (see figure below) to that of Bill Clinton, who was similarly defiant throughout his 1998-99 impeachment saga.

midc-profiles_clinton-trump

The major distinctions between Clinton’s and Trump’s profiles are that Trump is more dominant (aggressive, combative) than Clinton, who is more conflict averse (MIDC scale 1A: Trump = 17; Clinton = 7) and that Clinton is more accommodating than Trump, who is less agreeable (MIDC scale 4: Clinton = 5; Trump = 0).

The key similarity between Trump and Clinton is their primary scale elevations on MIDC scales 2 and 3. Scale 2 (“Ambition”) is a measure of narcissism (Trump = 24, Clinton = 17) and Scale 2 (“Outgoing”) is a measure of impulsive, histrionic tendencies (Trump = 24, Clinton = 15).

The “amorous narcissism” of Bill Clinton and Donald Trump

According to psychologist Theodore Millon, Ph.D., a leading expert on personality and its disorders, the “distinctive feature” of the Ambitious-Outgoing personality composite, which he labeled the amorous narcissist, is an “erotic and seductive orientation” (Millon, 1996, p. 410).

For these personalities, sexual prowess serves to enhance self-worth: “It is the act of exhibitionistically being seductive, and hence gaining in narcissistic stature, that compels,” according to Millon — who adds that, because of their “indifferent conscience” and the pressing need to nourish their “overinflated self-image,” these individuals may “fabricate stories that enhance their worth” (Millon, 1996, p. 411).

Digging through the archives: Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct and defiance redux

In the wake of the “Access Hollywood” firestorm, I revisited my “Clinton Chronicle” in the archives of the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics to review my commentary, analysis, and prognostications regarding Bill Clinton, which in my opinion provide a predictive model for how Trump will handle the crisis.

This is what I found:

Do President Clinton’s “Sexual Dalliances” Feed His Male Ego?

By Aubrey Immelman

Sept. 27, 1998 — Tonight, on Fox News Channel’s “This Evening with Judith Regan,” psychologist Judy Kuriansky suggested that the kind of sexual dalliances in which President Clinton reputedly engaged with Monica Lewinsky “feeds a man’s ego.” Though I would not go so far as to cast all men in that mold, there is certainly theoretical support for Dr. Kuriansky’s contention with respect to some personality types – most notably the “amorous narcissist,” whose personality pattern is dominated by narcissistic and histrionic traits.

According to the literature on personality disorders, the “distinctive feature” of amorous narcissists is “an erotic and seductive orientation” (Millon, 1996, p. 410). For these personalities, sexual prowess serves to enhance self-worth; “it is the act of exhibitionistically being seductive, and hence gaining in narcissistic stature, that compels” (or “feeds a man’s ego,” to use Dr. Kuriansky’s turn of phrase). …

Virtually all indicators in Bill Clinton’s personality profile point to a will to fight impeachment and removal to the bitter end. …

Why Bill Clinton Will Not Resign

By Aubrey Immelman

Oct. 9, 1998 — Over the past two months I have been intrigued by the mounting tally of newspapers calling on President Clinton to resign. Not surprisingly, in view of his personality profile, Mr. Clinton is unfazed by those appeals. So certain are some commentators that the president will be unable to prevail that they have all but adopted the mindset of a compulsive gambler on a losing streak who steadfastly believes that his next wager will hit the jackpot.

With reference to the president’s fortunes in the face of revelations and accusations that stick to the president with all the tenacity of water on the back of a duck, Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly, for example, has repetitively expressed the view, “One more thing, and he’s gone.” Perhaps O’Reilly’s unyielding faith in the improbable says more about himself – by all appearances a highly moralistic person with a well-developed sense of decency – than about Bill Clinton, whose inner experience of shame is vastly different.

In situations that would ordinarily elicit shame or humiliation, personalities such as Bill Clinton initially try to screen out negative and judgmental reactions through rationalization and denial, devising plausible “proofs” or alibis to present themselves in the best possible light to salvage their deflated self-esteem. When that fails, these personalities typically become defiant and, if necessary, unleash their self-bolstering rage. Reluctant contrition appears very late in their repertoire, when their confidence is shaken, and even then their experience of remorse or shame is but momentary.

President Clinton has the ability to be unperturbed by circumstances that would prompt most people to hang their head in shame. For that reason, I believe Mr. Clinton is unlikely to resign, unless so pressured by his party that his position becomes utterly untenable. But ultimately, there is no need even for a personality profile to understand why Bill Clinton is practically incapable of resignation: given his obsession with his legacy, it is inconceivable that Bill Clinton would meekly join the ranks of Richard Nixon in the history books as the only president to have resigned from office.

In conclusion, the only plausible scenario in which Donald Trump drops out of the race is if the Republican Party and its electorate abandon their support for Trump in toto.

References

Millon, T. (1996). Disorders of Personality: DSM-IV and Beyond (2nd ed.). New York: Wiley.

For more information, please consult the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics Media Tipsheet at http://personality-politics.org/2016-election-media-tipsheet/

 


Related reports

The Political Personalities of 1996 U.S. Presidential Candidates Bill Clinton and Bob Dole (Aubrey Immelman, Leadership Quarterly, Vol. 9, No. 3, Special Issue: Political Leadership, Fall 1998, pp. 335–366).

A Comparison of the Political Personalities of 1996 U.S. Presidential Candidates Bill Clinton and Bob Dole (Paper presented by Aubrey Immelman at the 19th Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, Vancouver, BC, June 30–July 3, 1996).


 

Related reports on this site

The Personality Profile of 2016 Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump (Aug. 9, 2015)

Trump poster (2016)
Click on image for larger view

Donald Trump’s Narcissism Is Not the Main Issue (Aug. 11, 2016)

Confident-Narcissistic_spectrum Sociable-Histrionic_spectrum
© 2015 MILLON® (Click on images for larger view)

Donald Trump’s Temperament: Trump’s Fitness to be President (Oct. 5, 2016)

temperament_fox-news-poll_9-29-2016

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