Obsessive Trump Disorder Claims a Rutgers Professor

By Amit Ganguly

  Rutgers Political Science Professor Ross Baker appearing on C-SPAN in 2011. Source:  C-SPAN

Rutgers Political Science Professor Ross Baker appearing on C-SPAN in 2011. Source: C-SPAN

On January 16th, distinguished Professor of political science, Ross Baker, wrote an opinions column for USA Today, wherein he detailed how "[a]fter the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency, I've revised my [American Government] syllabus to reflect my concern over whether the values Madison wrote into the Constitution will survive the next three years." 

In a mildly-related note, an article from the Huffington Post's Jonathan Small notes that Jonathan suffers from Obsessive Trump Disorder, characterized mainly by "impulsive thoughts and urges related to getting negative news about Trump."

Returning to Professor Baker, he notes that in his 45th year of teaching, the Trump administration has caused him to, for the first time, question whether or not the values Madison wrote into the Constitution will survive. His reasoning for this, however leaves much to be desired. After assuring his readers that he teaches "a 'mainstream' course - neither distinctively left or right" as well as discussing his sponsorship of Republican groups on campus, he instantly begins to dispel any notions of neutrality. 

Starting with a reasonable description of Trump's election as "unconventional" he quickly goes on to explain that the firing of FBI Director James Comey inspired him to change his American Government course, citing his inability to explain Trump's flaws as he could with past presidents. While Professor Baker can easily deal with things like Watergate or Japanese Internment camps under FDR, it seems the Trump administration is simply too far gone. 

 

  Baker's office door showcases pins of Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.

Baker's office door showcases pins of Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.

Accusing the administration of neglectful treatment of the federal government, Professor Baker mentions the partisan nature of the recently passed tax reform, saying it "convinced [him] that the constitutional device for ridding ourselves of a defective president that depends on action by Congress — the process of impeachment by the House and a Senate trial — would be impossible given the partisan composition of the present Congress." Of course, for Trump to be impeached, he would have to be found guilty of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. It's almost certain Professor Baker knows this, meaning he believes Trump to be guilty of one of the aforementioned crimes. Of course, having no definitive evidence does slightly undermine the credibility of that theory.

Having cited no substantial evidence, he laments the fact that impeachment is not within reach because of the Republican-controlled Congress. Of course, this ignores the December attempt to impeach President Trump. It died in the House, 364-58. 126 Democrats voted to sideline the bill. It can clearly be seen that Professor Baker does not take into account any factual evidence when drawing his histrionic conclusions. But looking at the way he describes President Trump, using phrases like a "flattery-addicted despot" or a "defective president" the root of his illogical conclusion can be seen. Circling back to the mildly-related note, it seems that Professor Baker suffers from Obsessive Trump Disorder. This goes beyond a simple distaste for President Trump. It is a full-blown, fact-defying fascination with disliking the president, one so strong that it caused him to change the way he teaches. 

Professor Baker ends his rant by saying "I have always urged my students to vote but never for whom to cast their ballot. I will again this year.", a statement that rings hollow considering the rest of the piece. If his personal feelings about President Trump motivated him to write an opinion piece and change the way he teaches a course, what value is his guarantee not to indoctrinate his students? Even assuming he holds true to not telling them who to vote for, he says, "As for my own preference, they can draw their own conclusions." hinting that his own bias will be clear to his students.

Whatever the case, Professor Baker should not put his own feelings about President Trump into his teaching, or if he must, he should at least wait until he has a better case for it.

Professor Baker's USAToday article may be found here.