If he’s that out of control

The Washington Post edges up to the task of discussing Trump’s pathological narcissism.

Trump’s frustration that he’ll be inaugurated despite having less demonstrated support than his opponent is the most likely explanation for his tweets. He’s clearly annoyed that Clinton agreed to participate in Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s efforts to review balloting in Wisconsin and other Midwestern states (an annoyance also made clear on Twitter). It’s remarkably similar to what happened when he lost the Iowa caucuses to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.): At first, he accepted the result as it was. Within a day or two, though, he began lashing out at Cruz, accusing him of stealing the vote in the state.

Of course, there’s no evidence that Cruz did anything that could be identified as “stealing” the election. But that wasn’t the point. The point was that Trump was mad. (Incidentally, this was also the genesis of “Lyin’ Ted.”)

There has been some social-media speculation that Trump is laying the groundwork for federal efforts to curtail voting access. That’s probably backward. It’s more likely that Trump is leveraging long-standing, unfounded murmurs of rampant voter fraud as a way to assuage his ego, just as he claimed that Cruz stole the election to save face.

This has to be carefully explained to us, because it’s (still) so hard to believe that a grown man who has just been elected president of the US has that little self-control and discipline. It’s hard to believe and it’s also terrifying to believe. If he’s that out of control, maybe he’ll send a pilot to drop a nuclear weapon on our house because we sent him a rude tweet. If he’s that out of control, maybe he’ll speed up climate change even more out of sheer spite. If he’s that out of control, maybe there’s nothing we can do to limit the destruction.

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