I like this take from Allen Frances, a psychiatrist.
Confusing mad and bad is a very dangerous precedent. It’s not at all restricted just to Trump. The National Rifle Association happens to believe that whenever there’s a mass murder, the person must have been crazy. It’s not the guns that did it; it’s the crazy person. They actually work hard to get the mentally ill more armed. There are against laws that restrict arms for the mentally ill, but then the minute there’s a serial murder, any kind of homicide, it’s the crazy person who did it, not the gun. We are criminalizing mental illness. We have 350,000 people with mental illness in jail because they couldn’t get treatment. We’re medicalizing bad behavior.
When the Harvey Weinsteins and Tiger Woods and all the others get caught with their pants down, the first claim is sex addiction: “I’ll go off for a rehab program and I’ll be cured in a month.” We’re medicalizing immorality. We’re medicalizing people who rape and say they have mental disorders. Bad behavior is part of the variety of human nature. Only a small portion of bad behaviors are done by people who are mentally ill. Most bad people are not mentally ill; most mentally ill people aren’t bad. When we confuse the two, it’s a stigmatizing insult to the mentally ill. It’s terrible for them to be lumped with Trump because most of them are well-meaning and well-behaved, and Trump is neither.
I mean, the other problem with this is it treats Trump as if he’s a one-off and he’s crazy. It takes away from the fact that we’re crazy for having elected him.
The Republican party is full up with cunningly sane people — they are not insane at all. From their perspective they’re being productive and accomplishing their goals in an effective way. It’s just that their goals happen to be driven by narcissism and greed, and are destructive to everyone around them.
That last line is important. I expect the Russians were tinkering with our elections, but all they did was play into the worst features of the American electorate. If we could wall off all foreign interference, we’d still have the problems of gerrymandering and voter suppression and ignorance and xenophobia working to elect Republicans.