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 hate our country..they’re socialists. They’re ant-Semitic.”
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) July 15, 2019
Graham has become a nut case. What the hell is the matter with him? https://t.co/tKTwN8BaDs
— Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) July 15, 2019
WHAT HAPPENED TO @LindseyGrahamSC?
He may be showing what we call “identification w the aggressor” in which prior opponent incorporates negative traits of abuser into oneself incl loss of moral compass.@DMRDynamics @gtconway3d @GovHowardDean https://t.co/OVPxuCiNwN
— NeuroPsychoPhD (@SethN12) July 17, 2019
It started when Trump gave Graham’s cell number away. https://t.co/iNQ4Lr57d6
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) July 17, 2019
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.
It’s that easy, we need not be rocket scientists.
— General Savage (@gfs918) July 17, 2019
I say it all started in October of 2017 when Miss Lindsey went on the golf “outing” with 44.25. Was he handed an envelope with colorful pictures of his private life? Hmmm… I wonder. His tune changed IMMEDIATELY afterwards.
— dream delayed (@dreamdelayed) July 17, 2019
Lordy there’s a high resolution tape -is what it is.
Trump has made a living out of having compromise on people. And clearly he’s got stuff on many many people. Clearly DC is rotten as hell and now they’re all his nº1 fans.
— Marina (@MarinaAmerica5) July 17, 2019
— Dick Wad (@thisDickWad) July 17, 2019
or Russia may have kompromat on him
— @PeggyBrava™ #Resist (@PeggyBrava) July 17, 2019
They’ve blackmailed him. Only thing that makes sense
— Brian Cluxton (@bcluxton) July 17, 2019
Yup. Something dark in his closet. pic.twitter.com/GDQF7aHG1V
— Unknown Stuntman (@CaptainQuint) July 17, 2019
But some respondents offered another observation.
They stated Graham gravitates toward and imitates men he perceives as strong.
I’ve noticed that he tends to pair with a man who he perceives as powerful, identifying with them & taking on their stances, traits, etc. He did this with McCain for so long that ppl assumed the mimicked traits of McCain were truly Graham’s. Instead they vanished w/McCain’s loss.
— A Sands (@avengingmomgel) July 17, 2019
Great point 👍
— NeuroPsychoPhD (@SethN12) July 17, 2019
Plus Graham is a massive wimp who cozies up to power.
— The Guy Next Door (@bealamo7) July 17, 2019
It started when his mother’s egg was fertilized by his father’s sperm. @LindseyGrahamSC is a weak man who has always tried to attach himself to what he believes is power. Once it was McCain, now it’s #CommanderBoneSpurs. He even tried it with Obama
— Jim Dicker (@jimdicker) July 17, 2019
Competing to show Trump you are NOT WEAK
creates a tragic and dangerous situation
formerly good men are racing to the bottom
To gain Trump approval –
Racism and Cruelty are now ascendant pic.twitter.com/vemcFWhbzi
— Students for Democracy (@lister_lester) July 17, 2019
Graham locked lips with djt’s butt when Graham’s conscience (John McCain) passed away. pic.twitter.com/ebDnmYm2au
— Cajun Metro (@cajunmetro) July 17, 2019
Lindsey is a classic wannabe. He licked McCain’s boots to be included at the big boy’s table and now trump’s. It’s not that difficult. Desperate to be relevant.
— Springer Mom (@marsha_frame) July 17, 2019
— Hodgo (@Agent_Hodgo) July 17, 2019
Graham submitted to Trump’s dominance display? I think there’s an argument to be made that submissiveness and collaboration was within Lindsey all along. What if he spoke out against Trump because his mentor McCain was alive, and, since his death, has been his true self?
— Jack Stallings (@morristeflon) July 17, 2019
The abused wife that stays with her abuser
— Trump’s bald spot (@djtsbaldspot) July 17, 2019
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.”