Letter: A silly take on Trump supporters

Published: 11/21/2020 12:01:23 AM
Modified: 11/21/2020 12:01:10 AM

Psychotherapist Jean Stimmell’s “My Turn” column (Monitor Opinion, Nov. 12) offers the opinion that Donald Trump supporters have a delusional psychiatric disorder. This is based on the “groundbreaking” musings of a long dead psychiatrist turned philosopher and a depiction of an allegedly stereotypical Trump supporter, “Ken.” (Apparently “Karen” was unavailable.)

One might consider another explanation that does not resort to the massive labeling of voters with a severe and rare disorder.

Approximately half of the voters chose Donald Trump, for various reasons including the general belief that he is a successful businessman who “says what’s on his mind” and has a “take charge” leadership style that “puts Americans first.” Approximately half of the voters felt this same man is a flawed and immoral man and voted for someone else. Both of these groups presumably were not so disabled that they could not cast their votes in person or by mail.

This voter dichotomy does not support the labeling of a large group of people with a psychiatric disorder based on their votes. Voter behavior is better explained using established research concepts, including confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance. Though such attractive explanatory fictions are often offered by psychotherapists, diagnosing large groups of otherwise normal voters with a rare psychiatric disorder that is unsupported by the research is simply silly.



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