It all started with coverage of an appearance by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Fox News denigrating the four Congresswomen President Donald Trump recently targeted with racist tweets. From there, physician and former Vermont Governor and DNC Chair Howard Dean asked what happened to the South Carolina GOP Senator who was once a vocal Trump critic but is now one of his most vocal cheerleaders.
Neuroscientist, psychologist and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine, Dr. Seth Norrholm aka @SethN12, provided an answer.
"He may be showing what we call 'identification [with] the aggressor' in which prior opponent incorporates negative traits of abuser into oneself including loss of moral compass."
Then frequent Trump critic George Conway filled in another blank by stating:
"It started when Trump gave Graham’s cell number away."
Follow the progression from demonstrated behavior to potential diagnosis here.
On Fox right now, Sen Lindsay Graham describes @aoc and others as "a bunch of communists. They hate Israel. They ha… https://t.co/eWxLwKocFN— Jim Sciutto (@Jim Sciutto)1563194726.0
Graham has become a nut case. What the hell is the matter with him? https://t.co/tKTwN8BaDs— Howard Dean (@Howard Dean)1563205089.0
WHAT HAPPENED TO @LindseyGrahamSC? He may be showing what we call “identification w the aggressor” in which prior… https://t.co/W4d1bf9ZfQ— NeuroPsychoPhD (@NeuroPsychoPhD)1563363693.0
It started when Trump gave Graham’s cell number away. https://t.co/iNQ4Lr57d6— George Conway (@George Conway)1563364068.0
Even those closely associated with Graham, like Megan McCain, showed alarm and disbelief in his Trump turnaround. Many speculated the Trump administration—or others—might have leverage on Graham.
@gtconway3d Lordy there's a high resolution tape -is what it is. Trump has made a living out of having compromise o… https://t.co/8tMkWePzuw— Marina (@Marina)1563364457.0
@gtconway3d Is that what happened to @KellyannePolls ? I mean, she wasn't always a psycho-phant https://t.co/KgPsW5xcN8— 🔥 Anti-corruption Super-Patriot 🇺🇸 (@🔥 Anti-corruption Super-Patriot 🇺🇸)1563364408.0
@SethN12 @LindseyGrahamSC @DMRDynamics @gtconway3d @GovHowardDean or Russia may have kompromat on him— @PeggyBrava™ #Resist (@@PeggyBrava™ #Resist)1563364470.0
@SethN12 @CaptainQuint @LindseyGrahamSC @DMRDynamics @gtconway3d @GovHowardDean They’ve blackmailed him. Only thing that makes sense— Brian Cluxton (@Brian Cluxton)1563364457.0
@bcluxton @SethN12 @LindseyGrahamSC @DMRDynamics @gtconway3d @GovHowardDean Yup. Something dark in his closet. https://t.co/GDQF7aHG1V— Unknown Stuntman (@Unknown Stuntman)1563364532.0
But some respondents offered another observation.
They stated Graham gravitates toward and imitates men he perceives as strong.
@avengingmomgel @LindseyGrahamSC @DMRDynamics @gtconway3d @GovHowardDean Great point 👍— NeuroPsychoPhD (@NeuroPsychoPhD)1563365149.0
@gtconway3d Plus Graham is a massive wimp who cozies up to power.— The Guy Next Door (@The Guy Next Door)1563364116.0
@gtconway3d It started when his mother’s egg was fertilized by his father’s sperm. @LindseyGrahamSC is a weak man w… https://t.co/eQZvO2obHn— Jim Dicker (@Jim Dicker)1563365700.0
@gtconway3d Competing to show Trump you are NOT WEAK creates a tragic and dangerous situation where formerly good m… https://t.co/LELSIgJpHn— Students for Democracy (@Students for Democracy)1563373724.0
@gtconway3d Graham locked lips with djt's butt when Graham's conscience (John McCain) passed away. https://t.co/ebDnmYm2au— Cajun Metro (@Cajun Metro)1563364475.0
@gtconway3d Lindsey is a classic wannabe. He licked McCain's boots to be included at the big boy's table and now tr… https://t.co/1XCuzd4JEX— Springer Mom (@Springer Mom)1563366993.0
@gtconway3d 🤷♂️ https://t.co/hkbzokbv5F— Hodgo (@Hodgo)1563364406.0
@gtconway3d Graham submitted to Trump’s dominance display? I think there’s an argument to be made that submissivene… https://t.co/ILQSF2AyiR— Jack Stallings (@Jack Stallings)1563364421.0
@gtconway3d The abused wife that stays with her abuser— Trump's bald spot (@Trump's bald spot)1563364268.0
Whatever is the basis of the shift in Graham and other prominent onetime Trump critics in the GOP, the results are a free pass for the President in the Republican controlled Senate. The 2020 election is 474 days away. 22 GOP Senate seats will be up for reelection.
The book Witness to Treason: How the GOP, Trump, & Greed Betrayed America, available here, details how "espionage, blackmail, sex, greed, murder, spies, treason, and betrayal are all actors in this recounting of the front-page events from December 2015 through the summer of 2018."
The book Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America, available here, says "behind today’s headlines of billionaires taking over our government is a secretive political establishment with long, deep, and troubling roots. The capitalist radical right has been working not simply to change who rules, but to fundamentally alter the rules of democratic governance. But billionaires did not launch this movement; a white intellectual in the embattled Jim Crow South did."