A new theory has emerged to explain why Donald Trump has refused to concede defeat despite inarguable evidence proving he lost the US election held last week.
Democratic leader Joe Biden claimed victory on Saturday after winning a series of battleground states to exceed the 270 electoral votes needed in the state-by-state Electoral College.
At this stage Biden has won the national popular vote by more than five million votes, with some states still counting.
Trump however, has relentlessly pursued legal avenues in an effort to support baseless claims of electoral fraud, which he believes has been carried out by Democrats trying to “steal” the election.
Judges have tossed out several of the Trump lawsuits and legal experts say the litigation has scant chance of changing the election outcome.
“I just think it's an embarrassment, quite frankly,” Biden said on Tuesday (local time) of Trump's refusal to acknowledge the election results.
Evita March, a senior lecturer in psychology at Federation University Australia, suggested the cause of Trump’s denial could be psychological.
His display of grandiose narcissism could partially explain his seeming inability to accept that he hasn’t won, Dr March explained in an article written for The Conversation.
She said people who exhibited this personality streak tended to be competitive, dominant and have an “inflated positive self-image regarding their own skills, abilities, and attributes”.
Grandiose narcissists, Dr March said, usually had higher self-esteem and an inflated self-worth.
When it came to defeat, these individuals were most likely to “externalise blame” and attribute their own failures to the “shortcomings of others”.
“Their dominance, denial of weaknesses, and tendency to devalue others results in a lack of comprehension that it’s even possible for them to lose,” Dr March said.
Dr March said an alternative explanation for Trump’s denial was cognitive dissonance which occurs when there’s a discrepancy between what people believe and what actually happens.
In such cases, people engage in strategies like justifying behaviour or ignoring evidence when events inconsistent with their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviour are encountered.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.