Today's post differs from any of the previous several thousand on this website. Rather than pointing at any one particular nonverbal behavior (although a few examples shown below), I'm making a prediction gathered from the collective of many observations made over the past thirteen and a half months regarding the public behavior of Presidential Candidate Donald Trump. Numerous posts in the past highlight and support the following observations (as well as those made by thousands of other people, including many individuals in his own political party).
First a gentle reminder: This website serves as a reference source for the art and science of Body Language/Nonverbal Communication. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the author. In an effort to be both practical and academic, many examples from/of varied cultures, politicians, professional athletes, legal cases, public figures, etc., are cited in order to teach and illustrate both the interpretation of others’ body language as well as the projection of one’s own nonverbal skills in many different contexts – not to advance any political, religious or other agenda.
Donald Trump has repeatedly exhibited bullying behavior. He has on numerous occasions used his power and position to intimidate, berate and threaten others. He has done so via TV interviews, his campaign functions, via cyberspace and allegedly in person. The chronic nature of his behavior is one of the primary characteristics of bullying. Such behavior fits the definition that any psychologist or psychiatrist would classify as bullying. Trump's verbal statements and his tweets criticizing the grieving parents of Humayun Khan, a soldier who died on the battlefield in Iraq in 2004, will be for many the tipping point of this election.
Earlier today (in the video above), Trump singles out a mother with a crying infant - both verbally and with index finger pointing multiple times (never recommended as such pointing is offensive in all cultures), implies she's gullible and alleges her lack of understanding, while mocking her physical efforts to comfort and quiet her child (image shown immediately above) and several times waves her off in gestures of impatient dismissal.
Donald Trump has also been widely criticized for configuring his arms (along with his voice and words) in a manner mocking New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski, who is afflicted with a chronic, crippling disease.
Some say Donald Trump speaks his mind, yet those with a clinical background would classify a portion of this behavior as a subset of impulse control disorder.
In January Mr. Trump said, "... My people are so smart. And you know what else they say about my people? - The polls. They say, 'I have the most loyal people'. Did you ever see that? Where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters, Okay? It's like incredible!"
During this statement, Trump even made a hammer cocking motion with his thumb - which is a symbol for pulling the trigger. With the exception of some professions, such as military or law enforcement, this is an extremely rare nonverbal display for anyone in a leadership position to use - particularly those who are running for high office. This is so rare, you could probably will never witness such behavior again. As noted above, even the more simple (and common) index finger (forefinger) pointing is highly offensive and hyper-aggressive - regardless of the culture. However a simulated gun firing - pointed directly at the camera/audience is profound. The use of this illustrator in this context is highly correlative with low (or absent) empathy, narcissistic personality disorder, impulse control disorder and antisocial personality disorder.
The image immediately above was captured on 29 July 2016 during a campaign event where Trump was commenting on some of the speakers from the Democratic National Convention where he said, "... I wanted to hit a couple of those speakers so hard - I would have hit them ...". Note that Trump exhibits a jaw jut, his eyebrows vectored down, high tension in his eyelids - as well as extreme tension in his "mustache area". He also is exhibiting significant nostril flaring. This nonverbal cluster demonstrates a significant level of anger rarely seen in political settings.
Those who exhibit bullying behavior and impulse control disorder have a very high tendency to think in false dichotomies (seeing the world metaphorically in black and white). Thus, in these individuals, real world situations which present in shades of gray and ambiguity evoke extreme anxiety. Their inability to cope with uncertainty and possible failure results in various secondary deviant behavior (e.g., If I can't have it my way, I'm going to wreck it for you too).
Prediction: If Donald Trump slips in the Polls to about 15% or more behind Hillary Clinton - and holds there in the next several weeks (and particularly if this deficit grows with time), he will either pull out of the Presidential race and/or self-destruct in a dramatic act or series of acts.
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3642: Does Donald Trump Know Vladimir Putin? - Body Language
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3640: Khizr Khan’s DNC Speech, Donald Trump & Body Language
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3638: Hillary Clinton's DNC Speech - and One Expression Which Profoundly Lowers Her Likability
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3636: Donald Trump, Hillary's Emails, Putin and Russia
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3626: Mike Pence's Wikipedia Profile Picture says "WTF"
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2747: Adam Lanza's Warning Sign
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3587: The Orlando Mass Shooting, Omar Mateen and Warning Signs - Body Language Red Flags
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3438: Hillary Clinton, What's Your Relationship with Vladimir Putin?