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Old 03-19-2020, 10:34 AM
chargerrich is offline
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Serious Question - Are Trump Supporters Brainwashed?

So I am both mystified and fascinated at the frequency and boldness with which Trump will just flat out lie and how his base seems completely unphased by it.

I did a tiny experiment with my (only) 3 hardcore republican friends. Two of which I would call smart, caring people (outside of politics lol). I had them watch a video (link below) which clearly shows how Trump is clearly and FACTUALLY lying to change/cover the narrative of his attitude toward the current pandemic.

I simply cannot rationalize how ANY human could watch that and not agree these are defacto lies.

So I tracked the first one or two comments my 3 republican friends made to defend "Team Red (or orange)"

Friend 1 - "That's from CNN, the words are taken out of context"

Friend 2 - "Media manipulation from CNN"

Friend 3 - "Are you telling me Obama never lied?" "All POTUS lie, it does not change anything, I support the policies not the man".

IMO friend 3 has the only practical response so I went back to the first two friends and just asked them bluntly do they like Trump and both said YES, friend 1 even went so far as to say that "history will prove Trump as one of the best POTUS in modern history"...

I have to say after that last comment i may need to reconsider/remove myself as a friend of his.

But how can any intelligent human say that outside of the same brainwashing I witness in the Televangical arena?
Old 03-19-2020, 10:42 AM
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What you are describing is not "brainwashing" in the technical sense of that term. Brainwashing means to make someone adopt beliefs that are dramatically different from what they previously beleived - like, say, making a determined patriot be a Communist mole, stuff like that.

Trumpists generally always believed conservative, reactionary, xenophobic stuff. Their willingness to ignore inconvenient facts like Trump saying A and later saying B is not something they're being forced to do, they do it willingly. "Doublethink" is a more accurate term.
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Old 03-19-2020, 11:45 AM
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One of my favorite, and most true, sayings: It's always easiest to lie to yourself.
Old 03-19-2020, 12:09 PM
madmonk28 is offline
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I think they're in a cult. I don't know if that makes them brainwashed, but it makes it difficult to have a democracy with them. It is amazing to me how quickly after their leader says something completely untrue and often completely at odds with what he was saying earlier, that they flood social media to repeat the new lie.
Old 03-19-2020, 12:17 PM
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I've watched my Foxnews watching family evolve in lock step with Foxnews over this whole coronavirus. Two weeks ago it was a Democratic hoax and no bigger deal than the flu. Yesterday it was a big deal, but it's all China's fault and we should destroy China economically. Also, this only kills old people, so it's fine. And it's not worth hurting the economy if only a few million old people will die.

They start with the conclusion (Trump and Republicans are doing everything right and Democrats are doing everything wrong) and then whatever needs to be believed that day to make that right is what they believe. Even if it is the opposite of what they believed yesterday. These are college educated people. I have no idea whether to describe it as a cult or brainwashing, but I absolutely have no idea how the cognitive dissonance is maintained.
Old 03-19-2020, 12:25 PM
Velocity is offline
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IMHO, it's just confirmation bias. Whatever agrees with my side is true, whatever disagrees with my side is false. Tribal epistemology.
Old 03-19-2020, 12:46 PM
campp is offline
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Anymore, I just view them as plain ole' racists. There's nothing else in the GOP or this Presidency that anyone can point at. Everything he and they claimed going in to this administration has been proven to be a lie.

I really like what JohnT said: It's always easiest to lie to yourself. This would explain my fanatical brother and his wife.
Old 03-19-2020, 02:08 PM
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Some primates are meaner than others.
Old 03-19-2020, 02:43 PM
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I'd describe it more as willful ignorance
Old 03-19-2020, 04:55 PM
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The GOP base are people who score high on authoritarianism and threat response. They are very easily threatened by things many people consider non-threatening (a multiracial, multicultural society) or by things that are somewhat threatening but overblown (Islamic terrorism, MS-13). But even those somewhat threatening things are just a proxy for their fear of multiculturalism. Trump supporters are far more scared of foreign born brown skinned muslim terrorists and foreign born brown skinned latino gang members than they are of domestically born, white christian conservative domestic terrorists despite the latter being a bigger threat.

Point being, a decent percentage of Trumps base are arguably in survival mode. They feel threatened all the time by a rapidly changing society that is leaving them behind and taking away their status and privilege, and Trump is their great white hope to push back against multiculturalism. Their critical thinking skills have shut down while their brain goes into panic mode as they see American becoming less and less of a native born, white, christian patriarchy that puts people like them at the top.

Obviously not all Trump supporters are like this. But of his base, its a significant fraction.

This study found 5 traits common in Trump supporters.

Authoritarian Personality Syndrome
Social dominance orientation
Intergroup contact
Relative deprivation

All five are metaphors for either bigotry or authoritarianism.
Sometimes I doubt your commitment to sparkle motion

Last edited by Wesley Clark; 03-19-2020 at 04:59 PM.
Old 03-19-2020, 04:58 PM
madmonk28 is offline
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I agree, which is why I found it baffling that they weren’t afraid of COVID-19, but then Trump called it the Chinese Virus and they were duly afraid and the world made sense again.
Old 03-19-2020, 05:44 PM
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Hypnosis is real. I think there's a lot of cognitive or emotional behavior that can be viewed as derived from (mild?) self-hypnosis. I'll bet this is a major field of psychology, but using some terminology ("super-ego"?) other than "self-hypnosis." What is the terminology?

Studies have shown strong differences between liberals and conservatives in their cognitive and emotional responses. I've copied some random excerpts on this topic below, but one simple trait may be often overlooked: Loyalty. Most of us are loyal to our family, but for liberals non-family has to earn trust. Many other people (conservatives) OTOH once they've extended loyalty to some person or cause, will not give up that loyalty. Once they've invited Trump into their hearts, they will not reject him: His behavior is irrelevant.

I've observed this tenacious loyalty among people who are not obviously "conservative" but who come from a certain culture. I'd be curious to read any studies of this loyalty character, or if it can relate to the "super-ego(?)" I mention above.

Miscellaneous correlations, politics to mentality:
Originally Posted by Andrea Kuszewski
Recent converging studies are showing that liberals tend to have a larger and/or more active anterior cingulate cortex, or ACC—useful in detecting and judging conflict and error—and conservatives are more likely to have an enlarged amygdala, where the development and storage of emotional memories takes place. More than one study has shown these same results, which is why I felt it was worth investigating.
When there is a flow of ambiguous information, the ACC helps to discern whether the bits of info are relevant or not, and assigns them value. People with some forms of schizophrenia, Paranoid Type, for instance, typically have a poorly functioning ACC, so they have trouble discerning relevant patterns from irrelevant ones, giving equal weight to all of them. Someone can notice lots of bizarre patterns—that alone isn’t pathological—but you need to know which ones are meaningful. The ACC helps to decide which patterns are worth investigating and which ones are just noise. If your brain assigned relevance to every detectable pattern, it would be pretty problematic. We sometimes refer to this as having paranoid delusions. You need that weeding out process to think rationally.
Originally Posted by various
Decades of research have shown that people get more conservative when they feel threatened and afraid.
On the memory test, the same 120 scenes were presented along with 120 new scenes and participants were to respond whether a scene was old or new. Results on the memory test showed that negative scenes were more likely to be remembered than positive scenes, though, this was true only for political conservatives. That is, a larger negativity bias was found the more conservative one was. The effect was sizeable, explaining 45% of the variance across subjects in the effect of emotion.
Liberals focus on the future more than the past, while conservatives focus on the past more than the future.
Brain responses to a disgusting image are sufficient to make accurate predictions about an individual's political ideology.
Threats of terrorism make everyone less liberal — researchers found this was especially true in the months after 9/11. During that time, the US saw a conservative shift, and Americans displayed increased support for military spending and for President George W. Bush.
... we find that conservatives tend to emphasize the intrinsic value of actions during moral judgment, in part by mentally simulating themselves performing those actions, while liberals instead emphasize the value of the expected outcomes of the action. We then demonstrate that a structural emphasis on actions is linked to the condemnation of victimless crimes, a distinctive feature of conservative morality.
“The educated moral relativism worldview is fundamentally incompatible with the way 50 percent of America thinks, and stereotypes about out-of-touch elitist coastal Democrats are basically correct,” sighed the snarky Web site as it summarized [Haidt's] studies.
Old 03-19-2020, 05:53 PM
Velocity is offline
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I'm reminded of the saying, "You can't say no to something unless you have something better to say yes to." Many Trumpers may not like Trump's lies, but the alternative is........a Democrat. (Well, they could demand that Pence be president, but that requires Trump dying or stepping down.) So they end up swallowing Trump's lies as the default.
Old 03-19-2020, 05:54 PM
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Thanks for those cites, septimus. Brain science has a lot to tell us about this. It certainly provides a plausible explanation of Trumpitis.

At bottom, it's fear, and a tendency to believe that authoritarian solutions are best. Another way to put it: a longing for the Great White Father who will make all the decisions, and provide loving care for those who are loyal to him. It's an orientation toward remaining a protected child throughout what would otherwise have been an adult life.
Old 03-19-2020, 06:13 PM
joebuck20 is offline
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Originally Posted by Fiveyearlurker View Post
I've watched my Foxnews watching family evolve in lock step with Foxnews over this whole coronavirus. Two weeks ago it was a Democratic hoax and no bigger deal than the flu. Yesterday it was a big deal, but it's all China's fault and we should destroy China economically. Also, this only kills old people, so it's fine. And it's not worth hurting the economy if only a few million old people will die.
Isn't this supposed to be the pro-life crowd?
Old 03-19-2020, 06:28 PM
Ukulele Ike is offline
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Originally Posted by campp View Post
Anymore, I just view them as plain ole' racists.’ economic anxiety!
Old 03-19-2020, 07:04 PM
Mahaloth is offline
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Plain and simple.
Old 03-19-2020, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by joebuck20 View Post
Isn't this supposed to be the pro-life crowd?
"Pro-life" isn't anything to do with life, silly. It's about getting and keeping the ladies back in their proper place.
Old 03-19-2020, 09:25 PM
madmonk28 is offline
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Originally Posted by Sherrerd View Post
"Pro-life" isn't anything to do with life, silly. It's about getting and keeping the ladies back in their proper place.
Exactly, it’s about controlling female sexuality.
Old 03-21-2020, 06:09 PM
Chris 7:14 is offline
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Dilbert creator Scott Adams is a self-described trained hypnotist. In a 2016 interview, Adams described Trump as a "master hypnotist" and noted noted how Trump's grade school level speech pattern and repetition is actually a very effective reinforcement technique. The interview is on Youtube:
Old 03-21-2020, 06:42 PM
Locrian is offline
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A lot of it is just willful ignorance. For example, a teen works at his first job. Gets his first paycheck. He worked 40 hours at $20 per hour. He forgets about taxes, insurance, etc. His expected paycheck of $800 is actually $563.67. He asks someone older, like a dad, brother, sister, etc., why all this money was taken out of his paycheck. They tell him, "Democrats", or "The media" or "Obama".

The teen doesn't look it up, find other resources and continues to be that way for decades.

That is my theory for most of the willful ignorance.

They can also learn ignorant traits from our own president. "Everybody's saying..." "Everybody knows..." and all that shit.

The only people who actually read the Constitution since I've been alive is either survivalists or sovereign citizen wannabes. And their willful ignorance is upheld because they never bother to read the Amendments or local laws in their county.
Old 03-21-2020, 07:16 PM
Stranger On A Train is offline
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Trump’s continuous stream of lies isn’t an accident or brainwashing; it is a deliberate policy to overwhelm any attempt at factual refutation by injecting so many falsehoods per minute that fact-checking is pointless.

Vox: ”Why obvious lies make great propaganda”

Trump’s followers don’t care that he is lying, and in fact they enjoy how much it upsets his detrators that Trump doesn’t care about being caught red-handed in his falsehoods. They call it “Trump Derangement Syndrome”, as if being outraged by such patent malfeasance is somehow an indication of mental illness or baseless distress. And as Trump’s supporters are so fond of saying, “Take him seriously, but not literally,” even though it is impossible to take such a buffoon seriously when he does something like berate a White House News Corps member for asking a straightforward question or when he complains that his own election was invalidated by millions of illegal votes, and if you can’t take a sitting president literally at least at some point it is impossible for him to actually govern or lead.

Trump supporters are just getting what they (think that they) want; someone who will give them the ‘cultural security’ to avoid having to acknowledge that other people not like them also have a say in a democratic society. What they are actually getting is a would-be demagogue who doesn’t even have a clear notion of his own ideology and is simply looking to line his own pockets via executive authority because he is too terrible of a busniessperson to even make a profit running a business with a statistically guaranteed gross take. Unfortunately, that also makes him pliable to people who have actual agendas to maximize profit and power at the expense of working Americans and the environment.



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