Showing posts with label DeSantis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DeSantis. Show all posts

June 1, 2023

Does the GOP choice boil down to being between a psychopathic fascist or a sane one?

 By Hal Brown, MSW, Caricatures by DonkeyHotey

Click above to enlarge. 
The DoneyHotey caricatures show DeSantis looking sane
 and Trump looking more or less unhinged.

I use Creative Commons DonkeyHotey (pronounced Don Quixote) caricatures for many of my blogs. You can read more about him here and look at his website here.

Of course because I am one of the less acclaimed experts on Trump's psychopathology (scroll down to bottom of page for some of my articles), I was going to write about this Salon article which says what I've been writing about Trump since 2016:

Trials and triggers: Psychiatrists warn Trump's psychosis will grow "as he becomes more desperate"

The article is by Chauncey DeVaga, a Salon columnist who has written about Trump's psychopathology numerous times, and interviewed mental health professionals on the subject. He has, as far as I'm concerned, earned himself an honorary advanced degree in a clinical mental health profession.

His article begins with the Memorial Day Trump Truth Post:

I wrote about this post in "The malignant megalomaniac's Memorial Day message" here. Below is the DonkeyHotey caricature I superimposed over Trump's post for my illustration

In the current article, DeVega interviews two prominent psychoanalysts, Justin Frank and Lance Dodes, both of whom he has interviewed previously, and who have themselves published articles or books about Trump's dangerous psychopathology.

Here's the warning from Lance Dodes:

When a person has a chronic illness, we all know to expect recurrence of symptoms of that problem. Donald Trump is a permanent, chronic psychopath who has repeatedly demonstrated an inability to be empathic with other human beings, a frightening need to dominate, control and destroy others, an inability to tolerate criticism or accept any defeat, an utter disregard for facts and the truth, endless lying, and clear delusions, insisting things are true that are demonstrably and unquestionably false. As with other permanent conditions, these aspects of his psychopathic personality will not change.

Trump's behavior is worse now but that's only because we're seeing a peeling away of his façade as he becomes more desperate; his actions and speech will continue to show more of what he really is. He's already saying he will call out the National Guard to suppress dissent, as dictators have done forever, and it would be no surprise if eventually, like Saddam Hussein when he was finally put on trial, he shouts that he is the one true ruler and any effort to hold him accountable is illegal and immoral.

Unfortunately, nations being taken over by psychopathic dictators is common in human history. It happened in Germany, in Iraq, in Russia, and for centuries earlier all over the globe. It could certainly happen to us unless enough people recognize that Trump is psychologically just another Hitler, Stalin, Saddam or the other malignant tyrants throughout history.

It is important to consider, as DeVega does in the conclusion to his article, the following points, with my bold added for emphasis:

  • The picture is clear: As the 2024 presidential campaign begins in earnest, Donald Trump will become more dangerous, violent, threatening, unhinged, and his true horrible self, further unmasked and unleashed if such a thing is even possible.
  • Unfortunately, because of its horse race coverage and other failed norms and approaches to the news and politics in a time of democracy crisis and ascendant neofascism, the American news media will continue with its failed fixations on the "heroes" and "villains" and "winners and losers" of the week, month, and election cycle. In practice, this means that the American mainstream news media will desperately try to find a "normal" Republican character to juxtapose with Donald Trump's increasing extremism and radical threats to American society and democracy.
  • As of now, the mainstream news media has decided that the more "reasonable" and "sane" and "traditional" Republican is Gov. Ron DeSantis. In reality, DeSantis is as least if not more dangerous than Donald Trump. Both are neofascists who want to destroy America's multiracial pluralistic society. The choice between them is a false one because the outcome will be the same: the American people will be made to suffer even more as the fascist fever dream nightmare and its culture of cruelty takes hold even more and threatens to become permanent.

As national candidates there are two opposite personality rather than policy factors which would make it difficult for Trump and DeSantis to defeat President Biden. 

  1. Trump is crazy
  2. DeSantis is boring

While Trump and others want to depict President Biden as doddering and dull he is really anything but. His embracing the moniker Dark Bandon really reflects who he is. Read NPR article.

I think Biden in his Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses, the same glasses Tom Cruise wears in his Top Gun movies, makes him look like the badass he is.

With Trump it is what is described in the DeVega article. He is, to use colloquial terms, unhinged, unmoored from reality, and a tantrum throwing toddler. He is more likely to behave in increasingly abnormal ways as the primary season progresses. If this happens it will gradually lead some of his current supporters to see DeSantis as less risky choice fearing Trump will decompensate even more especially if he feels he is losing what he thought was his iron grip on the nomination. 

DeSantis will pounce of this weakness and try to out-Trump by adopting a vicious manic style of grandiose narcissism and braggadocio. He is well aware that Trump is a showman adept at riling up his cult with what passes for performance art.

DeSantis knows he comes across and stiff and unlikable. I predict he won't bother trying to change this because he knows that while personally boring his war on woke is the most exciting thing he has to offer. 


In the psychological weeds, explaining sociopath and psychopath, the two words often used to describe Trump and DeSantis.

The current official diagnosis for those who used to be called sociopaths and psychopaths, and still are by most people, is anti-social personality disorder. In common usage psychopath is used to describe someone worse, more brutal, than a sociopath. The current definition of antisocial personality disorder is as follows. I put a T for Trump and a D for DeSantis after the deceptions I think are applicable to each off them.

  • Clinical criteria (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental DisordersFifth Edition [DSM-5])

For a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder, patients must have

  • A persistent disregard for the rights of others (T and D)

This disregard is shown by the presence of  3 of the following:

  • Disregarding the law, indicated by repeatedly committing acts that are grounds for arrest (T)

  • Being deceitful, indicated by lying repeatedly, using aliases, or conning others for personal gain or pleasure (T)

  • Acting impulsively or not planning ahead (T is impulsive)

  • Being easily provoked or aggressive, indicated by constantly getting into physical fights or assaulting others (With T using verbal aggression)

  • Recklessly disregarding their safety or the safety of others (T and D)

  • Consistently acting irresponsibly, indicated by quitting a job with no plans for another one or not paying bills (T not paying bills)

  • Not feeling remorse, indicated by indifference to or rationalization of hurting or mistreating others (T and D)

Also, patients must have evidence that a conduct disorder has been present before age 15 years. Antisocial personality disorder is diagnosed only in people  18 years.

Patients with antisocial personality disorder may express their disregard for others and for the law by destroying property, harassing others (T, in writing and verbally), or stealing. They may deceive, exploit, con, or manipulate people to get what they want (eg, money, power, sex). (T) They may use an alias. (T did this)

These patients are impulsive, (T) not planning ahead and not considering the consequences for or the safety of self or others. As a result, they may suddenly change jobs, homes, or relationships (T with marriages and affairs). They may speed when driving and drive while intoxicated, sometimes leading to crashes. They may consume excessive amounts of alcohol or take illegal drugs that may have harmful effects.

Patients with antisocial personality disorder are socially and financially irresponsible. They may change jobs with no plan for getting another. They may not seek employment when opportunities are available. They may not pay their bills, default on loans, (T) or not pay child support.

These patients are often easily provoked and physically aggressive; they may start fights or abuse their spouse or partner. In sexual relationships, they may be irresponsible and exploit their partner and be unable to remain monogamous. (T)

Remorse for actions is lacking. (T and D) Patients with antisocial personality disorder may rationalize their actions by blaming those they hurt (eg, they deserved it) or the way life is (eg, unfair). (T) They are determined not to be pushed around and to do what they think is best for themselves at any cost. (T)

These patients lack empathy for others and may be contemptuous of or indifferent to the feelings, rights, and suffering of others. (T and D)

Patients with antisocial personality disorder tend to have a high opinion of themselves and may be very opinionated, self-assured, or arrogant. (More T, but to a lesser extent D)  They may be charming, voluble, and verbally facile in their efforts to get what they want. (T)

You can see that Trump meets the criteria more than DeSantis does.


Click images to read a sample of articles I published from Capitol Hill Blue (list) where I was a columnist, from Daily Kos where I was a community poster (list of some 1700 posts not all about Trump), and from my own blog.

Daily Kos, June 16, 2020

May 23, 2023

Florida AG wants to outlaw weird orgies, wild weed parties, and unleashed passion

 I read the Raw Story article 

Florida AG — wife of a DEA agent — accused of 'not standing with the people' as she vows to fight legal pot

and was inspired to post this in the comments section:

The poster above, like some of the propaganda shown below, mixes the salacious and lurid with dire warnings of misery (above in a syringe). Notice the pointy fingernails on the hand, presumably of the Devil, holding lust, crime, sorrow, hate, shame, and despair. 

Whoever made this poster thought that nobody would be intrigued by this part:

I wonder how many people were more tempted to try marijuana by this propaganda than were scared by it. These warnings might have been about as effective in their intended purpose as the well-known "This Is Your Brain On Drugs" frying eggs public service ads.

Who knew that John Wayne was in a marijuana movie with James Arness?

Even though Lady Gaga (“The pot leaf is the new peace sign”) proclaims “Baby let’s get high, John Wayne” in her song John Wayne (2016), it is highly unlikely that the actor would have accepted her invitation to smoke a joint together. John Wayne (1907-1979), who still holds the record for the Hollywood actor with the most leading parts (142), was known for his conservative, anti-communist and anti-drugs political view. A clear example of this is his movie Big Jim McLain (1952), where he hunts down communists in Hawaii. The version released in Italy and Germany was retitled Marijuana and has John Wayne chasing drug smugglers instead of communists. From The Hash Museum
Back to Florida...

The campaign to stop the pot legalization ballot petition is the latest, and possibly the most likely to backfire shot in the Florida culture war. It makes more sense politically to fight the initiative than to rail against all the woke issues DeSantis is hysteria hyping. He is going on the assumption that the alleged horrors of children been lured into changing their gender orientation by being dragged into drag shows by their Commie parents will lead to mobilizing voters to help him win the GOP primary. Obviously other Republican governors and legislators are buying into this assumption as the recent Montana ban on gender affirming care shows.

Fred Grimm wrote this in Florida GOP would like pot amendment to go away “Republicans don’t want pot as a running mate to Joe Biden on the Florida ballot because marijuana can do what Joe Biden can’t — rouse the apathetic wing of the Democratic Party... The GOP’s faux populists know ballot questions like these would have coattails long enough to blow up an election.”

The marijuana issue seems to currently be a Florida issue without national implications. If DeSantis wants to beat Trump in the primary he could lose in Florida and if he wins in enough other states he could end up as the GOP presidential candidate.

What will be interesting to see is how robustly DeSantis supports his attorney general in fighting the demon weed ballot measure. If he adds fighting pot to his culture war it could make his fight against Disney look like a minor blunder. Consider the following:

An overwhelming share of U.S. adults (88%) say either that marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational use by adults (59%) or that it should be legal for medical use only (30%). Just one-in-ten (10%) say marijuana use should not be legal, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted Oct. 10-16, 2022. These views are virtually unchanged since April 2021. From Pew Research article
So far Donald Trump, either out of political savvy or just because he really doesn't care, has not gone all-caps manic on an anti-woke crusade. He may observe what DeSantis is doing and realize that the anti-woke act does not play well on a national stage. 

I think Trump is reading the sentiment of GOP voters accurately in that he knows his route to victory is to keep doing what he always has done. He basks in knowing that he is the potentate of personality politics and he sees DeSantis in being as bland as unsalted butter. I think Trump thinks the anti-woke DeSantis deluge is dumb.

Assuming Trump is the GOP candidate I'd like to see him include the war against woke in his repetoire since it is a loser.  He's already come out and blamed DeSantis for Disney's cancelling its expansion in Florida. I doubt becoming a DeSantis style anti-woke warrior would give him any more votes than he already has. 

May 18, 2023

He made me do it... DeSantis showing his true colors.


 By Hal Brown

Another blog on DeSantis, Dumbo Dumps DeSantis, posted Friday, May 19 here.


Yesterday I read 

Ron DeSantis Signs Draconian Anti-Trans Bathroom Bill Into Law

and  I was inspired to spend almost the entire afternoon making the snarky irreverent illustration above in reaction to this news.

 DeSamtis is wearing shorts in the colors of the transgender pride flag. The large flag is the LGBTQIA+ Progress flag. Of course, it's of Bud Lite he's drinking.

If you haven't followed the Bud Lite brouhaha here's the story.

However as much as I enjoyed sticking it to DeSantis by making him look like he and his wife were on an LGBTQ+ party boat, his relentless attack on what he calls woke and what I call compassionate and enlightened culture is serious business. It is downright cruel, and utterly devoid of empathy. Not only that, it is dangerous and a public health hazard.

I looked through a hundred photos of DeSantis like these to put together the illustration until I found one where he wasn't wearing a buttoned dress suit. Note here that his idea of warm weather casual is wearing jeans and a dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up.

You can find many casual photos of Trump relaxing, mostly playing golf. However DeSantis is almost always pictured wearing a suit. I finally found one I could use from this tweet.


It is difficult to see the awkwardly stiff DeSantis partying down in any way, shape, or form whether on a gay party cruise or anywhere. I have a feeling that if he tried to dance to a pop song like Trump does to YMCA and Macho Man he'd make the former president look like John Travolta in "Saturday Night Fever" in comparison.

Here are more illustrations of DeSantis. I made them for my blog about him going after Disney:



 I asked ChatGPT to make an image of him wearing an anti-woke Superman style costume. This was the result:

I'm sorry, but as an AI language model, I cannot create visual images. However, I can provide you with a written description of Ron DeSantis wearing an anti-woke Superman-style costume.

Ron DeSantis stands tall, clad in a bright blue and red costume reminiscent of the iconic superhero Superman. The costume is emblazoned with the phrase "Anti-Woke" in bold white letters across his chest. The suit is form-fitting and muscular, accentuating DeSantis' physique.

The blue material of the costume is covered in stars, representing the American flag, and the red cape flowing behind him in the breeze. DeSantis wears a pair of blue tights and red boots that reach up to his knees. His face is stern and focused, with a determined expression. As he stands with his fists on his hips, a symbol of strength and confidence, the people around him look on in awe. With his Anti-Woke Superman-style costume, DeSantis is ready to fight against the forces of political correctness and cultural Marxism that threaten the values of the American people.

Someone posting on Mastodon found this picture which I modified:


Whether it's going after Disney or what has been dubbed by critics his "don't say gay" law the anti-woke war DeSantis has been waging is seems to be resulting an a be careful what you wish for outcome.

For example, a story which has been getting substantial national attention, as I write my blog this, is on MSNBC:


The teacher, Jenna Barbee, who is under investigation has put a very human face on the DeSantis insanity. I am not sure what an evil and scary groomer of children is supposed to look or sound like but I rather doubt many people who see her interviewed will think she fits this image.


You can watch the Morning Joe interview here:


The latest news is that Florida investigators want to interview some of Barber's fifth grade students. What are these children supposed to make of this?

So not only is DeSantis out to lure the Mickey Mouse into a killer trap (sensitive readers don't click here), but he's after elementary school teachers for daring to show a Disney film, the 2022 movie "Strange World,"  the first Disney movie with an openly gay character.

Read "Florida teacher investigated by state for showing Disney cartoon movie in class" from CNN.

The latest news is that DeSantis will probably announce his candidacy next week. This should be a fun race to watch. He's clearly the undog, and I don 't mean the cartoon superhero. It will be interesting to see how he combats the perception that he has the charisma of a stick in the mud. Watch for photo ops where he appears in shirtsleeves like everyone else does during a Florida summer.

He's staking his chances of beating Trump on two discreet hopes. First is that he's a saner younger and possibly more intelligent version of Trump. Second, that enough voters in the primary, and eventually the general election, care about his anti-woke war. Arguably the first is true. I rather doubt that second isn't. Even Trump doesn't particularly seem to care about being an anti-woke warrior. 


Click above to read article
Click here, scroll down, to comment.

April 27, 2023

DeSantis tries out a tv and movie bully trope and it backfires big time


Hal Brown's Blog

This is a blog with my opinions on politics, psychology, and other subjects. My posts are sometimes serious and sometimes snarky. I'm a retired MSW clinical social worker/psychotherapist and mental health center director who was also a cranberry farmer. Scroll archives on bottom of page to see previous blog stories. There are new ones added almost every day, although if I don't have anything original to say I try not to say anything at all.

Click this and other images to enlarge

If DeSantis wants to run for president he has one rival in the GOP primary, a formidable foe, who he can only attack for being too old. This might not sit well in the state which is second only to California in the number of senior citizens.

He's also boxed in when it comes to going after Trump because he can't alienate hard-core Trump supporters by running as the younger and smarter version of the greatest president in American history. All he can say is "vote for me I'm the second best" which is hardly a good idea when the best is running against him.

DeSantis, like Trump, is a grievance obsessed person who thrives on hate and resentment so it isn't any surprise that he campaigns on what and who he's against, not what he's for. All he is saying is that he's for what he's against.

He, not Trump, demonized the group of beliefs in social justice called woke. This is a term added to the Merriam-Websters dictionary in September of 2017 though the word was used back in the 1930's. DeSantis wanted to puff out his barrel chest and plaster an anti-woke label on it to wear on his version of Trump's Superman outfit. 

I asked ChatGPT to make an image of him wearing an anti-woke Superman style costume and this is the result:

I'm sorry, but as an AI language model, I cannot create visual images. However, I can provide you with a written description of Ron DeSantis wearing an anti-woke Superman-style costume.

Ron DeSantis stands tall, clad in a bright blue and red costume reminiscent of the iconic superhero Superman. The costume is emblazoned with the phrase "Anti-Woke" in bold white letters across his chest. The suit is form-fitting and muscular, accentuating DeSantis' physique.

The blue material of the costume is covered in stars, representing the American flag, and the red cape flowing behind him in the breeze. DeSantis wears a pair of blue tights and red boots that reach up to his knees. His face is stern and focused, with a determined expression.

As he stands with his fists on his hips, a symbol of strength and confidence, the people around him look on in awe. With his Anti-Woke Superman-style costume, DeSantis is ready to fight against the forces of political correctness and cultural Marxism that threaten the values of the American people.

Trump and other Republicans pay lip service to being anti-woke but aren't obsessed with ranting about it.

You've seen the television shows and movies about fighting bullies. There are two versions. In the first, a kid moves and has to start gong to a new school where right off he's picked on by a bully. His father or someone else explains that the way to handle this is to take out the bully in no uncertain terms.

From Ranker: Wherever there's a young outsider or a bumbling protagonist, there's a bully. Bullies help our downtrodden teen/pre-teen become a hero; help them make the speech or the punch that inspires the slow clap from their peers, and forces them to learn to kick standing on one leg like a crane. There are a lot of memorable movies and TV shows that feature some of the most memorable bullies in pop culture. Those who have seen any of the Back to the Future movies can attest that anyone from the Tannen family, Biff, Griff or Buford "Mad Dog," are great examples of memorable bullies. 

Bullies can come in any size or form. Wayne Arnold from The Wonder Years and Eddie Haskell from Leave it to Beaver are two very different, yet menacing bullies who at one point were considered the biggest bullies on TV.

  See Ranker for who are the favorite bullies on TV and in the movies.

The other example involves the tired old story about someone being sent to prison for the first time. You know how that one goes. He or she figures out who the biggest and baddest bully is and they take them out quick and dirty.

Now we have the malignantly narcissistic Ron DeSantis who rather that trying to take out a bully - bear with me the metaphor isn't perfect - he goes after the largest and most powerful corporation in Florida. 

His first mistake was trying to make them evil incarnate because he wants them to represent a lifestyle he supposedly - who knows what he really believes - thinks is dangerous to the sweet children of Florida. He wants Floridians to think Disney endorses a perverted lifestyle which will turn the children of Florida into wicked heathen members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Of course Disney isn't a bully, but Disney is big, and beloved by the woke community, so they have a bullseye on them as far as DeDSantis is concerned.

What better way to prove his mettle than kick them in the cojones?

This just backfired big time. Here's my version of yesterday's lead story illustration from HUFFPOST which explains what I mean:

Click above to enlarge

As my top illustration shows, guess who got kicked in the cojones by the most famous and adored mouse in the entire world.

 Move over Mighty Mouse...
Wikipedia Commons
... there's a new superhero in town.


I made the illustrations and wrote most of this last night. This morning when I made my coffee and turned on MSNBC as I always do to watch "Morning Joe" as I work on my blog the discussion was about the DeSantis war against Disney.

Joe Scarbough said Mickey Mouse has brass knuckles and made DeSantis look like a fool — again which I would put as that Mickey has been doing well well with his white gloved fist and might answer "I need brass knuckles, thank you very much."

Click above and below to enlarge


You have to scroll down the liberal Raw Story website passing at least 15 stories about Donald Trump to get to the first one about Ron DeSantis:
"Look, I mean, this is really emblematic of the way Ron DeSantis appears to have decided to run for president," said (political analyst Ron) Brownstein. "You know, the video, God made me a fighter, he'll fight every fight that Donald Trump does but he will not bring all of the baggage that he has. I am Trumpism without Trump. And that is his pitch to Republican voters. There is an audience for it in the Republican Party. But you have to ask yourself, is he kind of losing sight of the bigger picture here?"
My speech bubble added. Click above to read article.



“Maybe the governor knows better than to get between voters and their beer,” said another top Republican, who also spoke on condition of anonymity. “Or perhaps he’s realizing that these retaliatory and vindictive acts by a supposedly free market Republican government isn’t making Florida look very free. Pro-business Republicans and members of the legislature are already grumbling privately.”

Thanks for reading. If you are reading this on scroll down to make comments and share on social media. The archives and tags are on the bottom of the main page. If you are reading on Booksie,Substack,, or Medium click below to go to the blog web page. 

Click to go to main blog

If the Disquis comment section isn't below click here to add your comments.

Homelessness: Daytime nightmare about to unfold in Portland

  Public domain, Creative Commons.. By Hal Brown, MSW, Retired psychotherapist This is a classic case of municipal decision makers putting t...