Home | About | Donate

To Understand Trump, You Must Understand His Cult

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/12/20/understand-trump-you-must-understand-his-cult

1 Like

It’s not a cult. It’s a fascist movement.

9 Likes

The only thing I care to understand is, when are they going to whip up a batch of “Jim Jones Kool-aid?”

10 Likes

I look at the Trump cult the way I’d have looked at pro-slavery, anti-Union Confederate terrorists during the Civil War.
They need to be hammered, the way General Sherman hammered Georgia.

7 Likes

Also, neoliberalism needs to be defeated so its victims won’t be looking for a cult to protect them. Joe Bageant’s book, “Deer Hunting With Jesus” describes the economic forces which sent part of the working class over to the Republicans. How to deal with these irrational forces in a rational manner?

6 Likes

All the Trump idiots aren’t gonna believe ANYTHING that besmirches their “leader”. All these morons can see or believe is seeing their “leader” telling the MSM, world leaders and anyone else that disagrees with him “fuck you”. That is the one thing he does that no other President has said to the world before and his “followers” love it.

6 Likes

Hell, I’ll volunteer to hand it out to his believers.

1 Like

When I worked in Germany during the 70s, three decades after Hitler’s demise, there was a significant minority of Germans whose only beef with Hitler was that he lost WWII.

Cult leaders like Hitler and Trump first establish a brand that the cult latches on to. The brand is often based on nothing that is real so outsiders presenting reality to counter the cult is a challenge. Part of the reason people join a cult is to escape reality. After years of the cult being their identity and cult members being emotionally invested in the cult they are more inclined to save face rather than admit that they too a wrong turn.

Although we should indeed work to peel cult members away from their leader, we cannot expect to peel them away in large numbers.

11 Likes
  1. Trump is not a billionaire. His income is from management fees for various properties that has his ‘brand’ attached.
  2. Patricia above, calls trump supporters ‘morons’. Yes, and Hillary used the term ‘deplorables’. The name calling ruins the chance that more citizen voters will listen carefully or even read the policies and plans of the other party. Only 21% are now willing to give both sides. This group are crucial for truth to break out.
  3. Trump is shallow puppet. He is a TV reality show actor, following the producers script. = If he makes you cry, he wins.
  4. A very well written explanation BUT does not yet consider the life style pain of extreme poverty that occurred in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and rural Illinois due to economic collapse of 2008. The democrats ignore fly over land just as Boston, NYC wall street and DC dictate.
2 Likes

While I agree that you can make an argument for Trump and his followers being a cult - and it does explain some things - I’m also leery of slapping the cult label on these people as an explanation for their behavior. For one, it smacks of that same condescending elitist attitude that so backfired on Clinton when she wrote them off as “deplorables”. For another, lumping all these people under the heading of a cult makes a convenient excuse for not trying to understand them.Sorry, folks, it’s not that easy.

I have talked to Trump loyalists and, believe it or not, they share some of the same feelings on government control and corruption as we progressives, but unlike so many of us, they feel helpless or just don’t care to to sift through the mountains of fact and fantasy that spew forth from the media and Washington on a daily basis and make decisions on their own. Along comes Trump, feeding their paranoia and cynicism, offering simplistic explanations and they listen. An almost universal response when I hit them with facts has been, “Well, I don’t follow politics that much. Who has time? Not my thing” and so on

When asked why they voted for Trump, a lot of these followers tell me they voted for Trump because he promised to “shake things up in Washington”. When the political establishment protests and reacts in shock to the latest Trump transgression, they interpret it as Trump doing his job and the louder the establishment squawks, the better they think Trump is doing that job. They don’t investigate the details, it’s the reaction that counts.

Finally, yes, there is fear, lots of fear, many of those being the ugly and nasty hatred and fears that Trump so deftly exploits.

What I’m saying is that these people are not a looney cult living in a compound out in the Idaho wilderness. We need to understand that they can to be our next door neighbors or people we know and meet in our day to day rounds. I don’t know that these people can be talked out of supporting Trump - I’ve had no success at it - but maybe, just maybe, we can elect someone who won’t so viciously exploit them and at some point down the road, maybe they will lose interest in Trump … or not. At least I’ve tried to understand them, though, and not written them off a a cult or a bunch of loonies.

8 Likes

Your nice thoughts about the Trump cult have one good result: they keep you from feeling anger, hatred and fear, they keep you from realizing you might have to fight to save this country from all enemies, especially the MAGA-hat domestic ones who live next door to you.
Otherwise, your rationale exactly mirrors what Germans who recognized the dangers of Hitler told themselves about their fellow Germans who supported Hitler.
Because the “good Germans” didn’t recognize the virulent fascist plague rising around them, they failed to get rid of Hitler and his followers, and we all know the result.
It can happen here.

4 Likes

You’re a nice person and I know you don’t want to see your Trump cult neighbors as the enemies of Nature, the rule of law, and the constitution that they really are.
I would point out though that the same rationale you use to attempt to justify their love of Trump was used by good Germans to justify why some other Germans embraced Hitler (bad deal at end of WW II, bad economy, loss of national honor, not very politically astute, etc.)
The way I see it, the Trump cult is a cancer and must be excised by any means necessary.

4 Likes

The trouble is, I live in the heart of Trump-loving Appalachia and the Rust Belt and I simply don’t see anything I would call “poverty” much less “extreme poverty” among the fervent Trump supporters. The typical home with a “Trump 2020” sign or flag is a nice ranch house with a multi car garage containing a couple late model loaded pickup trucks, plus an array of his, hers and children-size “quads”.

Frankly, I see little poverty at all in the Appalachian region - very few people even live in mobile homes anymore. Yes, the modern neoliberal economy has a large element of precarity in it - especially with the absurd cost of US health care and the absurd amounts of gasoline needed to support gig-style employment at far-flung locations (making their love of big pickup trucks and SUV’s even more paradoxical) - but nonetheless, most maintain a middle class existence which is better than previous Appalachian generations.

So where do you go to see real poverty in the rust belt? You go to the remaining non-gentrified blighted neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Buffalo, Detroit and Milwaukee. And what do the poor USAns there look like? Most are black USAns. And do any of these poor USAns support Trump? No, they don’t.

Edit…
Basically, Trump’s supporters come from a base of white people who have seen a tiny loss in their white privilege - and are going totally and dangerously lunatic about it. Yesterday, I was in fear of getting assaulted by the driver behind my Smart electric with a “impeach and remove” sign I taped to the back window. The raging shouting driver was a well-off looking millennial guy driving a late-model Subaru Impreza (yeah, not quite the stereotype). I feel no reason to extend any sympathy to these Trumpist scum.

10 Likes

As of today, nobody I know in Ohio is moving to the left. Driving the back roads of Michigan displays not a newer building except for a few schools. Same in rural Illinois.
Houses need roofs, paint, gutters. The elderly cannot afford. And neither can families raising children. Verified by the vehicles parked in driveways. old.

We got into this mess so that 25% manufacturing plant profits can go up to 110% by off shoring. From 25% of american workers in mfg to 11% now.

The german lutherans and catholics did not see Himmler murdering 3 million Polish Catholics, many jews, and the mayor, priest and landowner were usually murdered immediately as certain army units arrived in a town. The russian toll was 22 million dead. One area suffered nearly 12 million killed, starved, frozen.

4 Likes

wondering if particular zip code still helps provide low interest auto loans?
Naperville, Illinois zip code had immigrants from south asia living 6 to an apartment to gain the valued zip code that provided them higher credit score - and a new toyota!!

Am getting emails that will raise my credit score if I load their APP. No thanks.
About 7 million car loans are 90 days or more behind. Please notice that the four door pickup truck has added one floor pan, seat, two doors and a longer roof. The cost is minimal but the sticker shoots up nicely. Ford will only have trucks, SUV’s and Mustang soon.

1 Like

Total nonsense. It’s because I have taken the trouble to get to know what I am up against that I am all the better prepared to fight. Writing these people off as cultists, or loonies or empty-headed is to grossly underestimate them. Clinton and her followers made that mistake in 2016 and here we are with Trump.

1 Like

Trump got elected because Hillary was even worse – arrogant, condescending and even more corrupt (and that takes a lot!). Who took Bernie out of the running? Why the Democrat elitists who also know better than anyone else what is best for us. Now we are dealing with another circle-firing-squad Democratic debate. AmeriKa is a dying Fascist Oligarchy Empire imploding upon its own corruption. Blaming just Trump and the GOPers is more than just a bit short of the mark, but it does spare having to look deeper at one’s own cult… Gopherit

3 Likes

One way to attempt to get through to people you know who have allowed themselves to be propagandized, is to ask them simply if they have been forced to pushback on their ‘gut’, their intuition, in order to hold their current beliefs. Discuss with them how sometimes it is more peaceful to allow the untruths to remain than it is to accept what our guts tell us, and that we understand that, but, it is crucial that we allow our intuition to win out.

1 Like

This isn’t meant to offend/incite at all, but…when one takes an honest look at the history of our species…is it not impossible to conclude that the peoples of Middle Ages Europe and their descendants essentially destroyed the planet?

Let’s be honest: things are going to get worse before they get better. The ecosystems of the planet are already at (or past) the point of no return. And yet a broad swath of the human species still can’t get past differences of skin color - stick a fork in this species. Abandon all hope, faith and trust in others.

You already mentioned it, defeat the neoliberalist cult or at the least throwing all of them out of the leadership of at least one of the major political parties.