Jun 18

High-Conflict Politicians Should Never Be Elected

The historical and present-day examples generally all show the same characteristics of how high-conflict politicians get elected: seductive personalities, high-emotion media, fantasy crisis triad, and splitting the voters into four groups who fight with each other. Until enough voters recognize these patterns of behavior, voters around the world will continue to elect high-conflict politicians who are narcissistic and sociopathic. Bill Eddy, Psychology Today

According to Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq., Donald Trump is a high-conflict politician (HCP), i.e., one with “traits of narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial (i.e., sociopathic) personality disorder, or both.” Eddy, an expert on high-conflict personalities and the author of Why We Elect Narcissists and Sociopaths―and How We Can Stop, also highlights Hitler, Stalin, Nixon, Putin, and others.

Four main reasons we sometimes wind up electing narcissists and sociopaths are laid out in one of Eddy’s Psychology Today posts. Below are excerpts from his material:

  1. They have seductive personalities: “…(M)ost people miss the simple early warning signs of these high-conflict politicians (HCPs): 1) Preoccupied with blaming others; 2) Lots of all-or-nothing thinking; 3) Unmanaged or intense emotions; 4) Extreme behavior or threats.”
  2. “…(P)eople with extreme personalities will get the most attention” from the High-Emotion Media.
  3. The Fantasy Crisis Triad: What these HCPs convey is that “1) There’s a terrible crisis threatening us all; 2) It’s caused by an evil villain—an individual or group; and 3) An incredible hero is needed—typically an exciting outsider—who will quickly slay the villain(s) and solve the crisis with easy all-or-nothing solutions. The fantasy hero is the HCP who couldn’t get elected if it was based on skills, so they have to create or declare a crisis in order to get everyone thinking about the fantasy crisis triad rather than analyzing real abilities.”
  4. 4-Way Voter Split: Groups of Loving Loyalists, Riled-Up Resisters, Mild Moderates, and Disenchanted Dropouts typically form in relation to the HCP candidate—with the loyalists and moderates providing enough support to overcome the resisters and non-voters.

In an interview with Justin Caffier, Vice, Eddy explains why elected HCP leaders lack the ability to be effective in their positions.

They’re not good at working with other people. They also tend to not have patience. They don’t necessarily read a lot of history, a lot of analysis. They don’t like teamwork. HCPs don’t get along with a lot of people so they don’t have good information coming in, they don’t get challenged when they have a bad idea, and they promote their fantasy life onto the real world. So, they generally aren’t good problem solvers and narcissists in particular don’t have good problem-solving skills.

HCP personalities who run for major offices are actually “Wannabe Kings,” notes Eddy, who encourages readers of Why We Elect Narcissists and Sociopaths to learn how to never again fall under the spell of these dangerous and autocratic types.

As authoritarian expert Sarah Kendzior has repeatedly acknowledged via Tweets and elsewhere in the media: Once an autocrat gets in, it is very hard to get them out. Every day is damage done.