Faux News, OAN, etc. The mind altering in this case is the constant fear-mongering.
Gonna disagree completely with this. This is a grass roots movement. Trump himself is rapidly becoming outmoded and irrelevant. Others are quickly learning to scratch the same itch that Trump did. Sure, they need someone saying something, someone tweeting or blogging or posting on Facebook, but anyone could be their new hero. As long as they own the libs. This thing has moved way beyond Trump. Maybe he’d die and be some sort of Jesus figure, but that’s more like a normal religion and not like a cult. I don’t see Trump’s importance any more, which is why I’m rejecting this premise.
He still has a huge amount of influence. From two days ago:
And, he is still, by far, the choice of Republican voters for 2024:
Are there a number of Republicans (like DeSantis and Abbott) who would appear to love to become the heir apparent to Trump? Absolutely. Will “Trumpism” continue after he leaves the scene? I don’t see how it won’t. But, at this point in time, the GOP is still clearly very beholden to the guy and his whims, and the desires of the grass-roots voters who adore him.
What you posted really has nothing to do with the topic of Trump having a cult.
It was in response to your statements that:
What I posted demonstrated that he really is still relevant and important to his supporters (and to most of the GOP, as well).
Anecdotally speaking, I think this is a two way street and I don’t believe it’s caused by Trump. We’ve grown more, and more polarized over the years as each one of us can live in our own little bubbles where we only hear what we want to hear. Even before Trump, I knew plenty of people on the left side of the political spectrum who were keen on cutting off their friends/family on the right. I haven’t deliberately cut anyone out of my life, but I’ve become a little withdrawn from those I know who are Trump supporters because I feel as though I can’t have a meaningful conversation with people whose opinions I have no respect for.
In what way are his rallies mind-control sessions? It’s just a standard rite of intensification where a bunch of like minded people get together and cheer for a common cause. They’re no more mind control sessions than any other political rally.
Statements of this kind lack credibility, and thereby argue against the credibility of other statements made in the same space.
What Trump opponents should find worrisome is how little Trump had to offer and yet how much fanatical fervor he inspired. That means we haven’t even come close to how high the right-wing’s ceiling could be.
Trump was the opposite of an admirable guy - he wasn’t young, buff, handsome, articulate, wise, witty with a rousing life story or heroic achievements or anything. In fact, the pudgy 70-year old guy with fat fingers who said “Two Corinthians” was about as un-adorable as could be, and yet his fans all but swooned over him.
What happens when a genuinely charismatic, tall, smart, cunning, good-looking right-wing demagogue who truly knows the Bible verses and all the religious buttons that need to be pushed comes along?
I don’t think this is it. In fact, I think you have it backwards. I think millions of Americans were yearning for exactly what Trump is - the biggest asshole in the room. That’s what they wanted, and that’s what they got. It can’t be faked - Trump’s kids don’t have it, DeSantis doesn’t have it, Pence doesn’t have it - no one has it but Trump. The guy you describe wouldn’t make my (and presumably other liberals) skin crawl, or freak me out with every utterance (while Trump does both, completely effortlessly). But that’s what they wanted, more than anything - liberals like me furious non stop. Some handsome, charismatic, Bible quoting politician wouldn’t do it - that’s just another boring Republican. They wanted a truly despicable asshole, loud and in public, and that’s what they got.
I don’t dispute that they want an asshole. My point is that a young, handsome, charismatic asshole would go even further than an old, pudgy, ugly, ignorant asshole.
Assholes are assholes, but having those other advantages could only propel one even further in politics.
I’m not so sure about that. If they were truly charismatic, they wouldn’t be the kind of asshole I’m talking about.
For example, I’m very suspicious of preachers in general, and especially the prosperity gospel, and yet I find Joel Osteen interesting and even soothing to listen to (on those rare occasions that I’ve heard his sermons). He’s a very skilled and charismatic communicator, even though his message is so far from what I think is right. His charisma and skill at communicating would be a disadvantage for someone who wanted to be the next Trump. He’s not intrinsically hateful. He doesn’t make me furious with every word. And making me, and those like me, furious, constantly, is the greatest quality of Trump for millions (IMO).
No one does that but Trump. I don’t know if anyone else can. We’ll see, but I’m not sure if the Trump magic can be captured by anyone else who’s not an even more obvious raging bigot (or similar). Just like the cruelty is the point - the scumminess, and hatefulness, and vileness, etc., is the point. That’s what they wanted - a hateful raging id with no filter, no plan, no nothing, except the ability to enrage liberals completely effortlessly. They didn’t want someone actually skilled at communicating complex ideas, or changing people’s minds, or whatever. They wanted exactly what Trump is.
I call them followers (and it makes them very cranky). Trump is their messiah. They do not question anything Trump says, or anything Trump says he did, or didn’t do. They disregard any proof that Trump did or didn’t do/say something, no matter the source. “I didn’t know/hear about that” is their standard reply when told anything negative about Trump. And if you provide proof, see the previous point. People who formerly distrusted any government official, questioned any and all authority, take as gospel any statement Trump makes, no matter if he stated, or did, the opposite yesterday. Yet I don’t think it’s a cult, more like a flock of birds whirling in perfect synchrony on a signal invisible to outsiders. Fortunately, so far, the flock is just moving randomly. If Trump figures out how to deliberately direct them, it will get ugly.
There’s a difference between a cult and a political cult of personality.
Trump has the latter.
His being the 2024 GOP nomination front-runner after losing in 2020 is one indicator. His getting away with repeatedly saying he would run three times, or be President for life, is another.
Cleveland 1892? Stevenson 1956? Nixon 1968? That was different because those prior losers didn’t dominate their party — as proven by Nixon having left office because party leaders told him to. Also, retiring after being held to one term has become a norm, and norms don’t matter when you have a cult of personality.
They booed him when he tried to promote vaccines.
At least half of Trump is a middle finger towards libs. They support him because he pisses off the other side. In other words, Trump is the benefactor of the feelings of the base, rather than actively cultivating such feelings. The causation is backwards here.
Sometimes they don’t even carry torches! (of course, sometimes . . )
(This is not to make light of the events at Charlottesville where some “very fine people” did carry torches even if they were kind of just symbolic it being daylight and all.)
I agree with your entire post, and I share the concerns you have raised.
That being said, Romney arguably fits that bill (although most Evangelicals consider him a member of a decidedly “unChristian” cult). Romney did tank as soon as he, like McCain before him, listened to the party strategists who told him to run to the right and hold on to the base. If either of those guys had remained the moderate, centrist that made their careers they would have won.
Like your racist, sexist uncle or grandfather you only see once a year at Thanksgiving but sort of love in spite of yourself? A lovable guy from a different are you have to admire a little for his bravado no matter how inappropriate? De Niro in Dirty Grandpa?
They openly say they love him because he says what people are thinking, but are afraid to say out loud. They think everyone thinks like they do and like Trump does; they secretly wish they had the nerve. It is the Take This Job and Shove It mentality I guess.
I am not the one who made that claim, but I do sort of agree with it. I will read the links sometime later when I am not just amusing myself with what passes for light internet banter on my Saturday night. I will say this before bothering to read the material you have provided. Being in social situations with people is not the same as being Best Friends Forever. I have sat next to Gray Davis’s wife on an airplane, and years ago when I had a friend who played in a once very big nationally touring Southern Rock band I have been in a tour bus (which is the coolest thing ever!) But sitting backstage at a concert is not the same as being part of the band.
All of that said, I have no problem imagining that Bill was more than willing to be a special friend to Melania. But enough said about that for tonight!
Yes, I would be very interested to see a breakdown of cult support of candidates in the 2016 vs 2020 election cycles. I don’t believe all cults are Republican leaning by a longshot, but many of them do share the traits & interests of promoting unquestioned leader-worship and opposing all transparency into their doings.
This actually jibes with my own personal theory is that Americans yearn for a mythology, a pantheon of gods, superbeings not bound by the rules. Trump had established his brand long before the election, and his followers admire how he breaks all the rules and gets away with shit. He does what they wish they could do. Sometimes the barbarians don’t want to be civilized.
Chelsea and Ivanka: maybe.
Bill and Hillary genuinely liking Donald, and Donald genuinely liking them? No.
Associating for photo opportunities at various functions: sure. But that’s not “friendship” much less “close friendship.”