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Maria Konnikova, The New Yorker, March 19, 2016: Donald Trump, Con Artist?
Ms Konnikova wrote this article in March 2016 or eight months before Trump was elected. I think she perfectly nailed Trump as a con artist at the time. The "term con artist" has certain qualifying criteria as she explains, and Trump seems to meet them all. You should read the article for full substance, but I'll highlight a few points.
"Con artists aren’t true believers; they are opportunists. Trump, as a con artist, would give up on politics the moment it stopped serving his purposes, moving on to the next thing that gave him the same level of attention and adulation.
"Confidence men [con artist] know that the best way to achieve their desires is to tell people what they want to hear rather than what is true. The quickest way to gain a mark’s trust is to sell him a vision of the world as he wants, or believes, it to be.
"Con artists don’t sell reality; they sell an illusion that their victims already want to believe.
"Trump the con artist would knowingly use emotion to deceive and mislead, caring little about the words or the substance as long as he gets what he wants.
"If Trump is indeed a con artist, and if he is, in the end, elected, we may end up not wanting to admit that we were scammed. At the moment [March 2016], Trump’s supporters see him as authentic and honest..."
Konnikova asked the rhetorical question in 2016, "If Trump is indeed a con artist?" Well the verdict three years later is damn yes, he is a con artist. But for many voters, they still refuse to admit they were scammed.
For those so interested, I recommend Konnikova's article to be fully read. I referenced her article in a blog post two years ago but felt with the attention of "con artist" in the news again by various politicians and pundits, it is worthwhile reading to fully appreciate what Trump really is.