How Donald Trump Satisfies His Craving For Attention

Since Donald Trump announced his run for the presidency almost a year and a half ago, many, including myself, have wondered: why would Donald Trump want to be president? His supporters see an honest man who is, as they are, fed up with Washington insiders, and who wants to “drain the swamp” and be the voice of those who have been ignored by the political system. His opponents see a selfish billionaire who wants to do what’s best for himself and an unqualified leader whose recent decisions show that he’s in over his head. Originally, I thought in line with most other Trump opponents, but something still didn't seem right. The more I thought about Trump's candidacy, the more I realized that he may be motivated by something else entirely.

When Trump attacked the smash-hit Broadway musical “Hamilton” in a 3am Twitter tirade, I thought to myself: why would the President-elect of the United States waste his time attacking a popular musical? I thought back to who Donald Trump is, and it led me to a new theory on what might make him tick. When I look at Donald Trump, I see a masterful media manipulator, a man who, throughout his life, has used his name and larger-than-life personality to build an empire. However, thinking back to 2015, I saw a celebrity on the decline, a man who gets a high from being the center of attention facing the sobering realization that the world was moving on. Like any addict facing withdrawals, he relapsed. He launched an outlandish presidential campaign guaranteed to stir up emotions from the first speech. When the news started to move on, he continued making offensive statements designed to spark outrage. Since he won, he’s been timing his outrageous actions perfectly, so that as soon as people stop talking about his last move and return to their daily lives, he draws them right back in with another. So when I look at Donald Trump now, I see a man addicted to fame making a desperate plea for attention.

During the campaign, Trump ensured he was always the center of the news cycle. He said Mexicans were “...bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” When that left the news cycle, he said that a prisoner of war was not a hero “because he was captured.” Next up, he mocked a reporter’s disability during a campaign speech. Then he called for a “complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” Followed by an attack on the parents of a man who died serving this country. And throughout the campaign, he made disgusting remarks about women, leading up to calling his admission of sexual assault “locker room talk.”

Once Trump was elected, the controversial actions didn’t stop. He’s been revealing a shocking staff appointment every few days, each crazier than the last. A white supremacist as chief strategist, a climate change denier to run the EPA, a secretary of education who’s against public schools, and the list goes on. Each of these announcements is timed perfectly, so that as soon as the news coverage about one ends, there’s another for the news to cover, and everyone’s always talking about who Trump has appointed now.

Then we have the infamous Tweets. During the campaign, he used Twitter to reach the masses directly, to spread masterfully crafted conversation-starters in a format that seems to resemble uncensored thoughts. Once he won, it didn’t stop. He attacked Hamilton in a 3am Tweet, stirring up the show’s massive fan base. He Tweeted a baseless claim that the only reason he lost the popular vote is because millions voted illegally, angering those who oppose the electoral college. And most recently, he claimed that flag-burning should result in a loss of citizenship, sparking a nationwide firestorm with the possibility of taking away first amendment rights and stripping Americans of their citizenship.

Each of these controversial actions may seem impulsive, but they may be meticulously planned. Trump is a narcissist who takes joy in seeing the world revolving around him. Even when most of the world is critical of him, he still wins, because he’s not seeking our approval, but instead our attention. When we post and repost criticisms of him, we are fueling the fire and giving him exactly what he wants. The fact is, he has no real power until he’s sworn in on January 20th. Until then, all he has is the attention that we give him. This will be my last article about Donald Trump until he actually becomes president. I’ve realized that, in devoting so much thought to him and taking time out of my day to criticize him, I’ve become a victim of his tactics, as I’ve given him my attention. It’s like what our parents told us when we were little; all a bully wants is attention, and we can beat him by simply ignoring him. That’s why I’m done writing and sharing posts about whatever controversial move he’s made next. Until January 20th, all he has is a desire for attention, and the best thing for us to do is to call him out on the games he’s playing with the American people, and to stop feeding the frenzy.

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