Does Donald Trump have dementia?
The presidential campaign of Donald Trump has proven to be far more durable and powerful than any pundit could have predicted.
Despite Trump’s naked demagoguery, open racism, blatant lies, constant flip-flopping, and lack of any policy seriousness, he has struck a deep cord within the GOP electorate. Far from being the attention-starved, human comments section he was before, Trump has personified the Ultimate Drunk Uncle campaign and become the figurehead Troll God of the angry so-called “silent majority” of the Republican Party. Since his presidential announcement in June, Trump said many things that might have doomed other political candidates — but who else could really get away it? Only the elderly and the mad. He seems less a man possessing character than one possessed by his character. Now, bear with me …
The thing about Trump that no one really mentions is that he is 69 years old. He’ll be 70 on Election Day 2016. He’s older than Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. The only top-tier candidate older than Trump is Bernie Sanders. Trump is fucking old. Now here’s something else to consider. Trump’s father, Fred Trump, suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease before his death in 1999. Recent studies have shown that Alzheimer’s affects its victims much earlier than previously thought, and, considering The Donald’s behavior on the campaign trail, it might not be too far off the mark to consider that Fred Trump gave more to his son than millions of dollars and a particularly virulent form of racism. Let’s take a look at the symptoms and compare them to Trump’s specific brand of politics.
Loss of recent memories
Very low ratings radio host Hugh Hewitt asked me about Suleiman, Abu Bake al-Baghdad, Hassan Nasrallah and more – typical “gotcha” questions
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2015
After botching the answer to a question from Hugh Hewitt about the Iranian Al-Quds force, Trump attacked Hewitt on Twitter later in the day, misspelling the names of the terror leaders whom he claimed to know. A week later, during a satellite address to a conference on Ukraine, he offended many in attendance by referring to the country as “The Ukraine.” Ukraine has been independent since 1991.
Trouble with speech and turning thoughts into words or understanding others
Anyone who has watched one or more of Trump’s rambling, incoherent aimless political speeches about himself can identify this most common trait. One would need to look no further than Trump’s use of the verbal tic “bing bing bong bong,” which refers to the ease at which he has bought politicians through campaign contributions. Trump has also shown a disconcerting habit of talking about his policies without being able to properly articulate what those policies actually are.
Less interest in work or social activities and more time spent around the home and watching TV
Trump hasn’t filmed an episode of The Apprentice in quite some time, and, far from “building things” as he likes to say he does, Trump makes a great deal of money by selling his name and brand to more active real estate developers. While most candidates spend their days on the road in Iowa or New Hampshire, Trump has spent the bulk of his campaign calling in to television shows from his headquarters at Trump Tower in Manhattan. After claiming multiple times that no one is more militaristic that he, Trump was asked where he gets his military information from. He claimed “I watch the shows.”
Having a hard time with everyday tasks, such as balancing a checkbook
Though Trump is a billionaire, he has never been able to properly tell the public exactly how much he’s worth, frequently exaggerating the figures. In fact, he should be worth much more than he is, considering he inherited a real estate empire in the 1970s worth hundreds of millions. And then there are the bankruptcies…
Not dressing properly for the weather
Trump has shown flexibility in the color of his “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” hats, but he has refused to appear at any public event without a suit jacket, even as his fellow candidates campaigned in shirtsleeves through the hottest days of summer.
This one kind of speaks for itself. Then again, what politician running for president couldn’t this be said about?
Sleeplessness and insomnia
Trump has gone on numerous-hours long tweetstorms and rants in the middle of the night, most notably involving his sexist reaction to Megyn Kelly after the first GOP presidential debate.
Clingy and childlike behavior
There is not one facet of Trump’s campaign where this symptom would not apply, especially his attacks on Rand Paul at the Reagan Library debate.
Meaningless repetition of words, repetitive speech or actions
While repetitive speech and actions can be used to describe any politician in any campaign since the beginning of time, Trump has made excessive use of a number of words and phrases to an almost mind-numbing degree. In campaign speeches when he’s not reciting the fact that he went to Wharton and that you have to very smart to go there, Trump will repeat poll numbers ad nauseum before getting into anything resembling policy.
There are the constant mentions of the book he wrote (with help) decades ago, The Art of The Deal. Calling people “losers” or “stupid” while proclaiming himself “smart,” repeatedly referring to himself as the GOP’s “fair haired boy” to “bing bing bong bong,” professing his “love” of immigrants, Muslims, women or any other group he has offended, calling both Jeb Bush and Ben Carson “low energy” and that he’ll “be so good at the military it’ll make your head spin.” Trump sounds less like a political broken record and more like a person suffering from some form of mental illness with meaningless slogans and shallow figures of speech” swirling around his head.
Mood-swings, aggression, irritation
From Trump’s new squabble with Fox to his treatment of Jorge Ramos and literally anyone else he perceives to have treated him unfairly, Trump has created, for the moment, a successful campaign platform of aggression itself. Trump spent the latter part of last week attacking Fox News, Megyn Kelly, Bill O’Reilly, Politico, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, the New York Times, even a photographer who took pictures of empty seats at one of his campaign events. Outside of gross hubris, there seems to be nothing to Trump’s campaign platform other than mood swings, aggression, and irritation.
Trump may be defying all political expectations, but if he is actually suffering from Alzheimer’s, his campaign may be saying more about the base of the Republican Party than even he realizes. It would be extraordinarily easy for Trump to disprove that he’s suffering from dementia. All he has to do is take a MMSE/Folstein Test and release the long form results. Because if Trump can prove he’s not suffering from a degenerative neurological disorder that has left him with a damaged mind devoid of all shame or self-awareness, he might just be an asshole.