Psychohistory Forum Panel:
The Threat to American and World Democracies in Light to the 2024 US Election
• Paul Elovitz: Donald Trump as the Great Emotional Clarifier and the Appeal of Authoritarian Leaders (40 min)
• Jeffrey Rubin: The ‘Killer’ and the ‘King’: A Psychobiographical Examination of Trump and His Threat to American Democracy (20 min)

Psychohistory Forum Panel: The Threat to American and World Democracies in Light to the 2024 US Election

Abstract for the panel: In light to the 2024 US election, we should consider that the American Republican Party primary leader is being an individual who tried to overthrow with violence the 2020 election, despite having lost the election by over 7 million votes and 74 electoral college votes. There is considerable concern, especially given former President Trump’s saying he will be dictator for a day. Because the destruction to democracies and threats to them is a worldwide phenomenon, this panel includes collogues from a variety of other countries with eroding democracies. Our goal is to have each and every presenter to focus on specific as well as general threats from a psycho-political, psychoanalytic and psychohistorical perspectives.

Paul Elovitz: Donald Trump as the Great Emotional Clarifier and the Appeal of Authoritarian Leaders (40 min)

Abstract: As a presidential psychobiographer with perhaps ten publications on Trump, my greater focus will be on his appeals to his base as well as to Caucasian Americans of both genders who, in the majority, voted for him in 2016 and 2020. The confusion of the incredible rate of change of modern life and the deliberate obscuring of policy realities by both parties (the Republicans have excelled in this regard), Trump is a great clarifier, which is important for his appeal. This is reflected in current public opinion polls, where Trump surpasses President Biden in popularity despite the current Democratic President’s avoidance of a recession, a healthy economy, beneficial environmental policies and protections of democracy around the world. Millions of voters are terrified by the uncertainties of our modern capitalistic system and Trump’s emotional clarity is reassuring. At the moment, it appears that it is emotion rather than economics that favors the Republican front runner. Also, voters look for their presidents being able to survive all sorts of adversity, and Trump, who has survived two impeachments and is now defiantly facing numerous legal challenges, has this appeal to a significant part of the electorate.

Bio: Paul H Elovitz, PhD, is a historically and psychoanalytically trained psychohistorian who has presented at every IPhA conference after being part of the group that planned of the first one Included in his specialties are presidential and psychobiographical psychohistory. In 2023-2024, he was teaching psychobiography online at the postgraduate level, and now, he is teaching a course on creativity, psychoanalysis and psychohistory. This is after a long career of teaching at Temple, Rutgers, and Fairleigh Dickinson universities as well as being a founding professor at Ramapo College, New Jersey, where he taught History, Psychohistory, and interdisciplinary studies for a half century. He is the author of over 400 publications, the founding editor of Clio’s Psyche, and the founder and director/convener of Psychohistory Forum.

Jeffrey Rubin: The ‘Killer’ and the ‘King’: A Psychobiographical Examination of Trump and His Threat to American Democracy (20 min)

Abstract: In this psychobiographical study of Donald Trump, I draw on Trump’s family, Trump himself, and journalists and reporters, to attempt to link his indictments to his childhood and his parents’ treatment of him. I also briefly explore three other topics: 1) The Real Big Lie—the fact that Trump is terrified that he’s a “Loser”—not that Biden stole the 2020 presidential election; 2) what the available evidence suggests would happen if Trump eludes jail-time and wins the 2024 presidential election—Trump would operate like a dictatorial king; and 3) Trump-as-King would be the culmination of a ghastly trauma—the final hijacking of his soul in his blindly following his father’s injunction to be a killer and a king. At that moment, Trump would have given up his right to a life that should have been his own.

Bio: Jeffrey B. Rubin, PhD, practices psychoanalysis and psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy in New York City and North Salem, NY. The author of six books, he has taught at various psychoanalytic institutes and lectured around the country and abroad on psychoanalysis and psychoanalysis and meditation.

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