"The Cult-of-Trump" or "How Stupid Can People Be?"
Since blogging nearly ten years ago, I have continuously sought to look at reality objectively (that is, without the liberal and/or conservative bent...as if those two life forms were the only ones in the known universe). For the most part, I have adhered to the practices of offering solutions—not just rant and rave about sociopolitical issues—and going out of my way not to purposefully offend my readers…with an explicit purpose that I will reveal later. But for the first time, I am going to go out of my way to intentionally provoke a segment of my readership…just to prove my point. My point—and the subject of this post—is that supporters of Donald Trump illustrate the reality that they represent more of a rabid cult following than mere political supporters ( subject I recently touched on recently in a previous two-part blog posting, “Conservatism In The Age of Trump, Parts 1 & 2”).
Some of you already know this. But for those of you who don’t, I invite you to visit any news website that regularly features news on the sociopolitical front. Pay close attention to the comments sections. Facebook news feeds are a great introduction to the Cult-of-Trump. Getting right to the point, these people are beyond fanatical. They are every bit the thin-skinned “snowflakes” (a derogatory term they often use in their comments and responses to describe those who can’t stomach the idea that Trump won last year’s elections…one that I have appropriated for this piece, simply because it describes them far more those they accuse others of being such) that their false “messiah” is.
Most everyone with eyes to see, and a mind that is comprised of more than a single firing neuron can see that Donald Trump is exceptionally susceptible to bruises to his ego, whether he is outright insulted, or when others have the nerve to defy His Holiness’ wishes. In response to any personal slight, he customarily takes to Twitter, or calls a rally where is he usually embedded in the safety of his most rabid—and gullible—cultists, and insults them…with their tacit blessing (usually by way of raucous applause and laughter). Oblivious to the lack of tact, class, maturity, and presidential caliber that such actions represent, his cult-following usually ignores these high-ground attributes by supporting his responses, and—not once—considering how immature, and rather stupid he looks compared to his fellow world leaders. More to the point, no matter how inappropriate, offensive, unprofessional, or embarrassing his behavior is, there's always someone around in Trump’s orbit of personality to defend his actions with near-insane reasoning and/or twisted logic.
One can only presume that this social-psychological dynamic is related to Trump’s extremely narcissistic personality, and messiah complex that he exhibits. These particular personality disorders of Trump are probably the hardest aspects of the man-child himself for Trumpers to dispute or deny. But this is not to say that they don’t give it the old college try. Many a times I have engaged with these cultists over these aspects of The Donald’s character flaws (and no doubt, others have too). When confronted, their usual line of “defense” is to compare this to former president Obama’s rock-star-like stature that he held (at least early in his is presidency) globally. However, there are several reasons that this isn’t even remotely comparable. This first is that by most objective standards, most people would agree that Obama’s personality was one of congeniality, even in the face of racist attacks by Deplorables and Tea Party extremists. Not once did Obama go to his Twitter account and verbally attack those who held the most racist and extreme animus toward the nation’s first black president (e.g., “Racist Trolls Attack Malia Obama For Getting Into Harvard,” “Carl Paladino, Trump Ally, Wishes Obama Dead of Mad Cow Disease in ’17,”Obama Tweets Draw Racist, Hateful Comments“). Go ahead and search the internet for any vinegar-laced responses by Obama on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, or wherever to those who consistently attacked him and his family is such a manner….again, I’ll wait for you (BTW, this means actual childish tirades, and not those that you alone consider verbal attacks based on a typical new-jerk defense of Trump’s character).
Second is Trump’s extreme narcissism in that he believes that the universe revolved around himself. And in this, both Trump and his cult following have something in common; they believe themselves to be smarter than everyone else. Now again, Trump supporters, in failing to acknowledge that this character flaw is exceptional and unprecedented among modern presidents, will seek to bring others down to the level of false idol by false comparisons. Those who hated Obama, and believed him to be the equal of Trump in this regard come to mind. However, both facts and reality—anathemas to Trump people—don’t bear this out (for you Trump supporters, “anathemas” are things that you don’t like). How many individuals within the mental health profession have questioned the mental and/or emotional stability of a sitting president? This was not an issue under Obama. But under Trump? Here are just a few brief rundowns of clinical mental health professionals who suspect Trump of questionable mental and/or emotional stability:
“Shrinks Battle Over Diagnosing Donald Trump.” Psychology Today (01/31/17)
"At Yale, Psychiatrists Cite Their ‘Duty to Warn’ About an Unfit President." New York Magazine (04/23/17)
"Donald Trump Has 'Dangerous Mental Illness', Say Psychiatry Experts at Yale Conference." Independent (04/21/17)
"Is Trump Making America Mentally Ill?" Washington Post (06/13/17)
And of course, because Trump supporters could never find as many (read: any) articles and or the documented concerns of mental health professionals questioning the mental and/or emotional stability of Obama or Trump’s 2016 Election opponent, Hillary Clinton, they will just continue to embrace their personal beliefs that Trump himself is no different than any other public previous office-holder.
Lastly, anyone who sings his own praises as much, and as often as Donald Trump lends much evidence to the very valid suspicion that the Trumpster he an overall unstable individual. If for no other reason, the many times that he himself has explicitly stated that “Only I can fix/solve…” As you might recall,
I would invite you to—again—search the media archives to find anyplace, chapter and verse, or anytime either President Obama, or Hillary Clinton declared so boldly that “only” they could be the solution to any problem American has (hint: No, this doesn’t mean that Trump is “confident” and/or “self-assured.” Such an overbearing perceptions of self-importance is a textbook symptom of narcissism). But before you decide to take the time doing so, you might want to pack a lunch…it’s going to be a while before you find it. Bottom-line Trumpers; to call Clinton or Obama “narcissists” on the same level as your boy Trump simply doesn’t work.
And this is the problem with the Cult-of-Trump. No matter what he does, the will overlook the worse of his attributes (and there are many), and exaggerate his positives (or which, you’d need an electron microscope to find them). Trump is a pathological liar (“Canadian Newspaper Compiles List of Almost 500 Trump Lies During Campaign,” “President Trump's Lies, the Definitive List - The New York Times,” and “All False Statements Involving Donald Trump” as examples). But if an intelligent observer points how excessively and regularly Trump lies (in order to inflate both his ego and competence levels), Trumpanzees will instantly jump into deflection mode; “But what about Hillary Clinton when…,” or “What about Obama ‘s promise of….” First, those tired deflections are just empty exercises in false equivalency. Don’t believe me? Google the terms, List of lies by President Obama, or Hillary Clinton. In fact, I invite you to find the most conservative of websites to try this with. Search all you’d like; you won’t find a compiled list of lies, half-truths, or delusional statements anywhere near as long as those others have compiled of Trump’s lies (go ahead and try those search terms….I’ll wait). For Trumpers, the reality of his eerily preternatural ability to lie is usually ignored, excused, or simply “explained away” by his cult-following in lieu, of all the grandiose promises he made during his campaign up to the election…and his legislative “successes” he’s “accomplished” since taking office. Paradoxically, this mindset of rabid Trump supporters has a sense of warped logic to it because in many cases, ludicrous levels of dissonance and twisted logic is the only way for these misguided people can fall back on in defending Trump.
In much the same context, those who belong to the Cult-of-Trump share tend to share Trump’s almost clinically-pathological rejection of facts and consistent logic in lieu of their own delusional beliefs. And while an examination of social media websites will yield how much of a bubble of anti-reality Trump and his cultists, nothing cements this fact more than a conversation with a Trumptard. However, if you are going to engage in doing so, do so with the knowledge that no amount of empirical evidence—no documented transcripts, no documented dates/times/places, no amount if unassailable logic, no video evidence to the contrary—is going to dissuade this cult-followers from their own blind devotion to Trump and his decisions…even when those decisions contradicts their own long-held sociopolitical perspectives.
Take Trump’s nomination (and subsequent confirmation) of Betsy Devos to cabinet position of Secretary of Education. Her elevation to this position, despite her lack of a record of commitment to public education as an educator, administrator or elected official, stands in stark contrast to Republicans’ decades-long opposition to affirmative action as a policy. But in Devos, a woman (i.e., a member of a historically-recognized minority group), with no background in education, no education-related education, background, or experience, and a proven obviously questionable grasp of education laws (see: “Unqualified and Dangerous,” US News & World Report) represents the epitome of an affirmative action appointee. The same could be said with Trump’s appointment of his former Republican Primary rival, noted neurosurgeon, and equally-unqualified lack-wit Ben Carson to the post of Secretary of Housing. Apparently, appointing (read, “hiring”) unqualified minorities is an “unconstitutional” evil when liberals do it, but is OK insomuch as Trump, under the intention of “Making America Great Again” is doing it. His cult-following is perfectly able to reconcile traditional Republican principles, and their messiah’s political appointees that seem to violate them. At this point, Trumpers would craft some dissonance-ridden “explanation” to imply that what Trump does is somehow “different.” However, his appointment of former Texas Governor Rick Perry as cabinet head of the Department of Energy, who Perry himself didn’t even know was responsible for overseeing America’s nuclear arsenal (“What We Heard — And Didn't Hear — from Rick Perry About the US Nuclear Arsenal” and “‘Learning Curve’ as Rick Perry Pursues a Job He Initially Misunderstood") until he actually had the position asserts a pattern of appreciation for being uninformed among Trump supporters. Indeed, many Trump voters themselves have hyped the notion of having “non-professional politicians” in positions of decision-making that affect not just their lives, but the lives of those who feel safer with having more-informed and seasoned decision-makers in such positions. What’s ironic though is that these Trump voters are the same individuals who would, no-doubt not be as willing to hire unprofessional neophytes to perform services in their own lives…but are willing to put them in charge of running the most powerful nation on the planet. Trump supporters wouldn’t, say, hire a plumber to repair an automobile, or an electrician to fix leaky pipes in their homes. And of course, they wouldn’t hire an automobile mechanic to perform open-heart surgery on their favorite relatives…but can, somehow, reconcile counter-intuitive logic to justify making counter-intuitive decisions for the rest of the country. As such, consistent logic and critical reasoning isn’t on the side of most Trump cultists.
For Trumpers, logic and facts seem to be beyond their ability to grasp, much like in the case of their political-spiritual figurehead. Despite both reality and proof to the contrary, many of Trump’s most ardent supporters believe—among other things—that former president Obama was/is a Muslim, that he was born in Kenya, that his birth certificate was/is a forged fake, that Trump’s 2017 inauguration crowd was the biggest in the country’s history, and pretty much any outlandish statement that trump himself tries to pass off as “fact.” And since many Trumpists only bother to fact-check those they already have predisposed opposition to, most won’t bother to test the veracity of his claims. In fact, their inclination for taking their Dear Leader’s word as indisputable gospel, without even questioning the credibility of his claim by employing even the most rudimentary of research (or logic), only illustrates the cult-like fervor around Trump. Take for example Trump’s declaration that between 3 million and 5 million illegal (immigrant and others) voters caused him to lose the popular vote to Hillary Clinton in last year’s elections.
Because Trump himself, his immediate sycophants, and his adherents want to elevate Trumpism to an all-encompassing, all-powerful movement far more reaching than it is, all devotees involved believe this unfounded, and often debunked delusion of Trump to some extent. Trump for his part, does not want to believe that he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, so—for whatever reason—he embraces this often debunked, often discredited assertion; it doesn’t help that Trump has offered no facts, stats, or even logic to this extent (“Trump’s Bogus Voter Fraud Claims Revisited” FactCheck.org). His immediate staff, such as former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus has asserted on multiple occasions that “Despite losing popular vote, Donald Trump won in 'electoral landslide,' GOP's Reince Priebus says” (Politifact). As you might expect, the reality of an “electoral landslide” is anything but a reality. His worshippers, because Trump ran a campaign on an anti-immigrant platform, simply believes what Trump says…because he said it. Any proof to the contrary of a total Trump “victory” in last year’s elections coming from any reputable quarter is normally dismissed out of hand.
In fact, this habit among Trump and his cult to attack long-established media outlets and otherwise unaffiliated organizations leads to probably the most cultish aspect of his presidency; the “fake news” narrative. This is the tendency of both Trump and his cult-following malign information sources as “fake news,” why they themselves promotes baseless accusations, thoughts, and other various conspiracy theories. Though some of this stems from Trump’s desire to have otherwise unaffiliated media outlets serve as his proxy public relations vehicle, it also stems from Trump’s lifelong obsession with controlling his own image and the public’s perception of his image, at least as he was able to as a private citizen.
But since Trump is unable to control his image and the effectiveness of the narratives that he spins in the public sector, he attempts to revise the narrative by impugning the veracity of any entity that he can’t directly control, or that dares to engage in fact-checking his assertions. And since many Trump supporters don’t fact-check his statements anyway, it’s just far easier for them to adopt his tactic of calling news “fake” when it doesn’t report a narrative to his (and their) liking.
So after such a long-winded drubbing of the Cult-of-Trump, why be so hard on them? Because of their intellectual intransigence. A more intellectually-open person would look at an assessment of Donald Trump and at least consider the possibility that he is found wanting as a political candidate…to say nothing of as president of the U.S. He is overly-thin-skinned, childish, and the fact that he feels compelled to respond to any perceived “attacks” on either his character or his ability lends credence to the real possibility that he is—at the very least—emotionally unstable. As much as his followers are concerned, they are little better at exerting self-control or exhibiting critical reasoning skills that can actually break through their blind devotion to Trump. How do I know this? Because, if his ardent followers remain true to form, they will respond in the comments section with their usual (and predictable) accusations that someone who dares to speak ill of their messiah is a “communist,” “socialist,” “Obama/Clinton-tit-suckling,” “libitard” Or some other such “anti-Trump” slander. They can’t help it…its part of their (*ahem*) charm. It’s their Pavlov-like way of proving a point….that they will respond to any criticism of their Jim Jones-like cult leader, no matter how logically-structured the argument is, how much proof against their beliefs is provided, and how many facts are presented. And, that, dear people, is the epitome of what a cult is.