Four Post-Election Syndromes

December 12th 2016

Kyle Jaeger

Many Americans are responding to the election of Donald Trump in problematic ways, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich argued in a Facebook post on Monday.

Reich describes four post-election "syndromes," from thinking Trump will be just another president to just being numbed by it all.


1. "Normalizer Syndrome"

This first "syndrome" became a point of conversation even before Trump's election. The charge is that many Republicans and Democrats have taken too lax a stance on the unconventional and extreme elements in the president-elect's campaign and transition team, making extremism seem legitimate.

While Reich maintains that "normalizers are under a grave delusion," there's also a case to be made that the continual normalization of Trump would strip him of his "outsider" status, which could detract from his appeal. But Reich argues it's the fear that this normalization will lead Americans to assume Trump will "make rational decisions once in office" that makes it so dangerous.

2. "Outrage Numbness Syndrome"


This one is distinct from "normalizer syndrome" in that those who have succumbed to it aren't necessarily under the impression that Trump's behavior is "normal." Rather, these individuals have simply "shut down emotionally" following repeated Trump outrages. Still, their exhausted complacency threatens to make the outrageous normal too.

3. "Cynical Syndrome"

cynical syndrome

Then you have the cynics. These people are apathetic toward Trump, seeing him as no different than any other president and the fear as just partisan hysteria. Things don't always get better, though, and the not-so-good can soon become real bad.

4. "Helpless Syndrome"


Giving in because nothing can be done is the last dangerous syndrome that Reich diagnoses. This defeatist outlook denies the power of collective efforts, justifying inaction. Thousands of people have protested Trump in the streets and by calling lawmakers and congressional committees to lobby against the president-elect and his agenda. The least effective action is not doing anything at all.

Read the full post from Reich here.