I don’t know about you, but I think the old song was right: “There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear.”
America is feeling weird these days. Different. Something strange is going on, even beyond the random mass shootings and new season of “Temptation Island.”
It’s our politics.
It’s a reality TV show: “Dysfunction Junction.” Starring a celebrity billionaire who looks like an aging Vegas headliner and has undeniable superpowers: a personality disorder strong enough to warp the fabric of reality. It’s disorienting. Like seeing that photo of President Nixon shaking hands with Elvis in the Oval Office … Elvis in a purple velvet cape and aviator sunglasses, totally wasted …
Only it feels that weird every day now.
Seeking professional help (and clarity), I contacted the South Hoboken Institute of Technology. For three years, institute scientists have been monitoring Trump’s bizarre effects on the human mind and body.
Trump is all about hormones, says Dr. Harold Budinsky, who leads the institute’s multidisciplinary team of researchers. Here, in Dr. Budinsky’s own words (and Central European accent), is his analysis of what is actually happening here:
“America is a country divided by the persona of Donald S. Trump. The elemental force of Trump’s personality elicits strong visceral responses, both positive and negative, in both men and women. Involuntary, hormonal responses.
“American politics is being conducted at the emotional level – and intensity – of early adolescence. This has split the country into two warring gangs: Trump Lovers and Trump Haters.
“Trump Haters comprise 49 percent of the population. Almost half of all Americans – when confronted with the face, voice or any aspect of the person of Donald P. Trump – respond physiologically with a flood of hormones associated with negative feelings. Anxiety, fear, hate.”
“And what about the Trump Lovers?” I asked.
“I’m glad you asked that,” Dr. Budinsky said.
“Trump Lovers comprise 38 percent of Americans. For them, exposure to the persona of Donald Q. Trump triggers hormones connected to positive emotions. Feelings of love, security, pride. Even worship, for true Trump cultists.”
“So half the country are Trump Haters,” I said. “And about three-eighths are Trump Lovers. What about the remaining one-eighth?”
“Ah, you have hit the nerve on the head,” said Dr. Budinsky.
“No, no. This is precisely the point. Exactly 13 percent of Americans are what we call “Trump Nullers.” For whatever reason, the overpowering personality of Donald R. Trump doesn’t register with this group. A problem with the brain chemistry, perhaps?
“Trump Nullers are the true swing voters. In 2016, a large majority broke for Trump, just enough for him to win. Again in 2020, they will decide the election.”
To predict how these voters break in 2020, Dr. Budinsky recommended a Ouija board and whiskey. Which I took to mean the political future looks cloudy, even from Hoboken. But he did clear up the present, and for that I thank him.