I should preface this piece by disclosing that although I am qualified, I am not a doctor of sociology or social psychologies.
All I have to justify the following argument are about seven or eight ghost-written PhD dissertations on the subject, my own undergraduate degree (that I completed in three years with a thesis at a British university), 10 years of published journalism, a wealth of editorial and practical research, and an O1 Visa. The visa designates me as an Alien of Extraordinary Ability under the United States Department of Immigration.
I may not have the doctorate title, but according to the United States I am extraordinarily qualified to make the argument that Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump, probably didn’t have any friends growing up. Oh, and I can make this argument using science.
The Science Of It
My own specialization is in theoretical sociologies. Like Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, theoretical sociologies cannot be explicitly proven. They can, however, be determined to be a “paradigm.” In this context, the term paradigm means that the theory is the closest thing to proof available.
The paradigm being used in this argument is social capital.
That is the beauty of sociological theory. It allows one to make an argument, but also to allow others the option to fight against it with alternate paradigms and data. This, I welcome.
What Is Social Capital?
Social capital, in the absolutely simplest, most layman’s terms available, is the scientific explanation of street cred. It is a subconscious gains and loss system set in place by a particular social group.
For example, if your parents are vehemently right-wing, you might also play the role of being the same in their company. This will gain you social capital. If you act like the democrat we know you are (because you’re reading Liberal America), then you will experience a loss of social capital by your parents.
More commonly, social capital is identifiable within your friendship group. If your friends aren’t into drinking and you show up drunk, BOOM, loss of capital.
This gains and loss system is so subtle that many don’t realize that it is the reason we argue. It is the reason we fall in love. It is behind every decision you make that will be known to another person.
Social capital is such an inherent part of society, it can even affect the way we speak.
A great example of this occurred when I was visiting my first love in the British capital city of London. Around his family, my love would say the following when requesting a beverage:
“Please could you hand me that drink?”
However, around his friends it would be more like this:
“Oh fam, chuck us that bevvy yeah? My throat is dry as fuck, init.”
This isn’t a criticism. It’s an observation. 99% of sociology and social geographies are based on observation. So, when observing Donald Trump in the last three debates, I began to notice his speaking patterns, his linguistic ability as a whole.
It struck me that Donald Trump’s inability to use real words, make an argument for himself, or even converse with a human being on a normal level showed a distinct lack of social capital.
Okay, So What?
Social capital forms when one is exposed to groups of people.
School, family, friends, colleagues, all of these groups will develop their own unique social capital in terms of phraseology and language skills. You’re not going to call your boss a twat, but you might call your best friend one and laugh about it. Get me?
Watching Donald Trump, it strikes me that his use of words such as “bigly” and repetition of the same phrase would suggest that he has never had to adapt his language for different groups of people.
Most people learn to do this during their youth. These adaptations we subconsciously make continue to evolve into young adulthood. Therefore, Trump’s total inability to hold a conversation where he even sounds like a normal part of society suggests that he has never been part of one.
His rhetoric may be music to the ears of the ill-educated, racist masses, but to those of us who have a basic comprehension of the English language, it’s all bollocks. He has never been exposed to normal people, those whom he feels qualified enough to govern. He has never had a friend close enough to say, “mate, you sound like a fucking idiot.”
“Get tough with Mexico and China, which are killing us […]”
Trump’s parents clearly did not see it important enough to teach their child grammatically correct spoken English. This suggests that they didn’t like him enough to teach him, either.
Trump’s stunted cadence also helps to solidify this argument. Those of us who have conversations with people know that even a minor pause can lead to a lost train of thought. Breaking mid-sentence also allows the person you are conversing with to hijack your point.
This suggests that Trump has never had a human conversation, or anyone close enough to have one with. He never even learned how to have one, implying that this issue goes back into his infancy.
Trump’s language choices, his inability to change his rhetoric when faced with different voter demographics go a long way to proving that he didn’t socialize as a child. Even one-on-one relationships call for social capital mutations.
Trump’s linguistic skills suggest he wasn’t exposed to a great deal of other children and/or anyone of fluctuating demographics. Ever. Most individuals will adapt their accents, terminology, phraseology to those around them as a form of social capital, which Trump doesn’t seem to do/have.
In layman’s terms basically means he didn’t have any friends growing up, nor into his twenties. This in turn could mean that he has lived his entire life thinking he is the paradigm of humanity as he has never had to assimilate into social situations where his linguistic ability (and likely his broader opinions) would obviously make him stand out in a negative way.
The Alternative Theories
Of course, this is just one over-qualified sociological scientists spin on the situation. He could just be an egomaniac with borderline personality disorder, who never listened to the people around him. However, this would also qualify my argument as valid, because people like that don’t have friends either.
This lack of exposure to friendship-like relationships may also be why Trump’s biggest words are “Mexico”, “America”, and the way he pronounces “Chiiiiinnnaaaaa”. However, the language development of infants is not my area of extraordinary ability. You’ll have to hire someone else for that.