In this election season, we’ve seen a flamboyant billionaire reality tv star become one of the most influential political figures in America.
Not too long ago, Donald Trump was just an entertainer/businessman who appeared in movies, tv shows; he even did some pro wrestling cameos. Trump was a caricature of himself, a cartoonish brand in both the world of entertainment and business. The Donald was a performance artist whose infamous celebrity feuds were entertaining distractions and within the lives of the average American, he was as impactful as Scrooge McDuck or Justin Bieber.
When Trump briefly “sort of” ran in 2011, it turned out to be was a publicity stunt. He dropped out to renew a contract for his hit reality tv show, Celebrity Apprentice.
So when the billionaire once again announced he was running for president in 2015, most Americans believed that he wasn’t serious, and anticipated the announcement of another TV show.
However, something profound happened during his announcement speech.
In a typical political climate, after calling Mexicans rapists and murders, Trump’s campaign should have ended on the same day it was announced. Unfortunately, his hate-filled rhetoric touched a strong chord of division separating many Americans.
Suddenly Trump became the anti-PC candidate; rallying disgruntled Republicans, Libertarians, white supremacists, anarchists, and various assorted politically insignificant neocon groups.
And with each outrageous statement his support grew. There was no comment too insensitive, sexist, racist, or xenophobic to dissuade his supporters from voting for him. The willful ignorance exhibited by Trump’s followers have led many to compare them to a cult. Here are a few examples of how Trump’s cult threatens America.
Trump supporters are textbook populists.
Authors Wendy Rahn and Eric Oliver explains in the Washington Post how Trump’s supporters are often mischaracterized as “authoritarians.” They define authoritarianism as:
A set of personality traits that seek order, clarity and stability. Authoritarians have little tolerance for deviance. They’re highly obedient to strong leaders. They scapegoat outsiders and demand conformity to traditional norms.
The authors argue that Trump’s supporters are more in line with populists, which they define as:
A type of political rhetoric that casts a virtuous “people” against nefarious elites and strident outsiders. Scholars measure populism in a variety of ways, but we focus on three central elements:
Belief that a few elites have absconded with the rightful sovereignty of the people;
Deep mistrust of any group that claims expertise;
Strong nationalist identity.
They note that authoritarians and populists do share certain traits such as a penchant for nativism, conspiracism, and racism. However, they do have uniquely different outlooks regarding their perceptions of authority. Authoritarians see themselves as being aligned with the strict enforcers in charge of everyone. Populists set themselves in opposition to all “elites” above them in positions authority.
Trump supporters mistrust experts, facts, and any contradictory information concerning their candidate.
One of the cult-like traits that Trump followers share is that they believe every word their candidate speaks as gospel, no exceptions. In light of this mindset, trying to debate the Trump cult is virtually impossible. Like their master, members of the Trump cult will find a way to twist logic and reality itself to justify their candidate’s statement or position. And if they can’t can’t manipulate logic or reality enough, they are happy to abandon both simply out of inconvenience.
We and ONLY we are “the people.”
Trump followers view only themselves as “we the people” as described in the U.S. Constitution. Anyone who disagrees with them in any manner is immediately labeled anti-American.
As far as Trump’s supporters are concerned, there are not over 350 million “real” American citizens. They only view those who follow the Tao of Trump as “real Americans.”
American Exceptionalism a.k.a nationalism on steroids.
Trump supporters believe that America is the center of the universe and that all other countries on the face of the earth are envious of their prosperity. This mentality seems at odds with Trump’s constant defeatist rhetoric, in which he loves to state that “America doesn’t win anymore.” But in the minds of his followers, Trump only opines the fading glory that made America king of the world.
Any attempt to force them to reconcile Trump’s defeatism with their unrealistic nationalism is likely to result in Trump supporters calling you anti-American.
Here’s a great video explaining how Trump’s neocon populist message is not just limited to America.
The Deification of Trump.
By now most of us have seen signs in which his supporters compare him to Jesus. But you may be surprised at just how demented Trump’s followers have become. If you search YouTube for “trump god emperor,” you’ll find a surprising number of video tributes to Donald Trump with images depicting him as a holy, god-like American king. While it’s easy to write these disturbing videos off as satire, it would be a mistake. And you should understand that those who produce and follow these videos are deadly serious.
Here’s an example.
A few months ago a YouTube artist named MrCitrusvally produced “Make America Great Again,” a brilliant satire song that lampoons Trump and his disciples.
To this day, members of the Trump Cult unapologetically agree with every depiction the song makes of Trump and his “true believers.” And while some do acknowledge that it’s satire, they use their special “logic bypass” powers to make it a song of praise instead of ridicule.
Trump’s supporters exhibit a level of delusion and a contempt of logic that rivals even McCarthism. But unlike McCarthy’s followers, Trump supporters don’t care if their candidate destroys the country. As far as the average Trump cult members are concerned, America is already going to “hell in a handbasket,” so if their candidate pushes it over the edge good riddance. A surprising number of his supporters believe that America needs to fail so that it can become the homogenous white utopia they think America was always meant to be.
This sub-section of the political underworld call themselves the “alt-right,” and they wish to return to a feudal class system with an authoritarian king ruling the masses as opposed to democracy. While they don’t believe Trump is their ideal dictator, they think he’s a great start.
These videos offer a very detailed account the “Alt-Right” and its motives. It’s crucial for reasonable people to understand this emerging force in American as well global politics.
While the willful ignorance of Donald Trump and his followers started out as comic relief, that same ignorance has managed to hijack the Republican Party. Nancy Pelosi accused Trump of playing the “joker card,” after the billionaire belittled Hillary Clinton’s success by attributing it her playing the “woman’s card.”
But, if the Trump cult has shown us anything thus far, it’s that Trump’s so-called joker card is winning the billionaire demagogue the majority of his hands, and the rules are not guaranteed to change in November.
Featured image via informationliberation.com