I remarked on Mitt Romney having a similar problem some years ago, but Trump is much worse. Where Romney displayed the venal grasping typical of the business class, Trump's campaign is a desperate search for self-validation. He can't stop talking about his poll numbers or how he got such high marks as an undergrad, except when asserting for the umpteenth time that whatever demographic he just insulted really truly loves him. It's so transparent and yet no one will state the obvious that Donald Trump has crushingly low self-esteem.
For further proof, look at his defensiveness on, well, damn near everything. An offhand crack about his ugly hair sent Trump into a Twitter tirade, protesting too much at insinuations he wears a toupee. When Univision reporter Jorge Ramos asked him about his immigration policy, he panicked and had Ramos thrown out. Megyn Kelly had the temerity to question his choice of words and he spent the next week talking about her period! These are not the actions of a confident man.
|THIS FAKE HAIR LOOKS FAKE|
He's gotten a tremendous amount of attention so far for two reasons: a) the only other campaign story is Hillary Clinton's emails and not a single person really gives a damn about that and b) Trump seeks out attention like that grubby kid who's single mom was always too drunk to pay any attention to him. Trump says ugly, hateful things for the same reason a fourteen year old who just discovered punk rock says "Fuck!" at the family dinner table. He needs attention to validate his monad existence, any attention at all. He is terrified of being thought a loser, which is a terror often found in losers.
It's a blatant and easily exploited weakness. Donald Trump insists everyone loves him because he just doesn't love himself. Take away the news cameras, the crowds of racist rubes, and he'll shrivel up in misery and self-loathing. Putting such a fragile person in any position of power, let alone at the head of the world's most heavily armed empire, is guaranteeing not just trouble but embarrasment. Donald Trump is so desperate for the affections of others that he'd bomb his own casinos in his first hundred days in office if Vladimir Putin said it would get him invited to the next Shanghai Cooperation Organization mixer.