Why Is/Was Trump So Popular

It’s certainly not a personality cult - the man definitely does not radiate charisma. It worries me that nobody is asking the question. What caused the events of Jan. 6? For that many people to be unhappy with the election (and I don’t believe they are are all idiots) to me means that there is dissatifaction in a large part of the country with the state of things. Why is the question. That’s what we should be worried about, not the rather minor damage to the capitol building.

Tell certain people exactly what they want to hear and they’ll do anything for you, even when faced with evidence that you’re lying, because the truth you’re giving them is more attractive.

That’s how con men work. He’s just able to con a lot of people at once.

Are you kidding? Even here we’ve had multiple threads where we’ve asked how Trump can be so popular among certain people. And I would disagree with your assertion that it isn’t a personality cult. It’s not like Trump is an idea man or something.

People like candidates who say out loud in public what they think deep down inside in private.

Donald Trump actually does have charisma, sure is a vague, vapid, hollow sort but that’s still mountains above most other politicians, especially democrats.

I truly believe that once people drink the Trump Kool Aid they see the world differently. I’ve seen it happen. He’s good at figuring out what a downtrodden and under-educated person wants and promises to solve all of their problems. Most importantly, he plays on their deepest fears. Afraid of immigrants taking your job and murdering your children? Build a wall! And Mexico will pay for it! It’s all lies but people eat it up and refuse to admit to the con. They want to believe he will “fix their problems” and “change the world” for the better. Most of us see right through his lies. Some people can’t.

James Fennimore Cooper’s four characteristics of demagogues:

  • They present themselves as a man or woman of the common people, opposed to the elites.
  • Their politics depends on a visceral connection with the people, which greatly exceeds ordinary political popularity.
  • They manipulate this connection, and the raging popularity it affords, for their own benefit and ambition.
  • They threaten or outright break established rules of conduct, institutions, and even the law.

Sound familiar?

I think this is the fundamental problem. It used to be that we had a conservative Republican Party and a liberal Democratic Party. People who were the type to believe liars who told them what they wanted to hear were split between the two parties. What Trump did was attract all the people of the type who believe con men into the Republican Party. Now we’re in a situation where we have a Republican Party that isn’t defined by it’s belief in conservatism, but rather it’s belief in lies that the base wants to believe are true. The Democrats, on the other hand, are left with the people who are both liberal and believers in the real truth. The problem the Democrats have is that they have failed to fully attract the odd group out, which is conservatives who believe in the real truth. Sure, there’s a few who came out and supported Biden, but many others have decided to stick with the Republicans even though they know they are following a bunch of loons who believe in fantasy that doesn’t exist.

It most certainly is. At least in part.

You can say Trump has no charisma to you (or me), but he successfully helmed a TV show for fourteen seasons, so someone out there liked him. Of course a personality cult is not ALL it is, but it’s an important part. Trump is a populist with no boundaries and that excites a lot of people who are willing to believe in any “straight-talking” guru who they think can save them from whatever economic woes/cultural ills/alien abductions/dimensional parasites they perceive to be bugging them.

He is certainly building off of decades of increasing political polarization, a probably unavoidable coarsening of political discourse and some of the more insidious and unforeseen effects of modern social technology. And he’ll probably be remembered in history more as a chaotic catalyst for upheaval rather than the creator of a lasting movement.

But Trump got where he is by being a carnival huckster and primed audience or not, he knew how to stoke those fires.

Not an accurate statement. Try this adjusted version:

For that many people to be unhappy with the election (and I don’t believe they are are all idiots) to me means that there is dissatifaction in a large part of the country with what they have falsely been told is the state of things.

The American public has been subjected to a relentless disinformation campaign for about 25 years now. Which has gotten far more intense in the last 10 years and quadruply more so in last ~6 years. A sizeable fraction (nearly half) have fallen totally under the spell of that disinformation.

As Obama said back in 2008: “Hell, If I believed half of what Fox says about me, I wouldn’t vote for me either.” The difference is Obama knew the truth; Fox viewers knew the false and carefully designed “alternate reality” they’d been fed.

The problem is the number of people who’ve been driven into a state of de facto insanity by the disinformation. They’ve been primed for decades to follow the demagogue once he appears. He duly did and they duly followed.


Generations of administrations have promised change. But it’s somehow never the actual change needed to have impact, or the changes people want. Instead all liberal democracies have inched away from action and been happy with the appearance of change. The voters don’t set the platform, the politicians do. Endless committees, watered down regulations without teeth, etc, etc.

People can see that government is broken. That endemic problems remain unaddressed. And that both sides are equally guilty. And the whole clinging to founding father interpretations of 200 yr old documents, is coming at a pretty high price.

If you promise people change/improvement but they just end up with ‘more of the same’, long enough, they’ll eventually roll the dice on someone promising to burn down the house.

People don’t just want change any more, they want audacious changes, NOW.

Barack and Joe and excellent human beings by most measures, widely respected.
But not an ounce of audacity between them! They are peacemakers to their very core, all about conciliation.

But Kamala truly gives me hope. They should let her drive.

(This is my most humble opinion.)

He was a conman department store Santa Claus for the hate-filled, the ignorant and the greedy. They sat on his lap, told him what they wanted in their heart of hearts, and he told them they could have it.

Trump is popular because there are a LOT of racist assholes in this country who fear the ramifications of becoming a minority.

“Donald Trump is a poor man’s idea of a rich man, a fool’s idea of a wise man, a coward’s idea of a hero, and a bigot’s idea of a ‘straight talker’.”
There’s a fairish number of people who fall into one or more of those niches to start with.
Then add in the people who always vote Republican pretty much automatically, those who couldn’t stand the idea of a woman (or that woman) as President…well, it adds up.

One factor is that Trump, who’s not actually all that bright, speaks in a simple way. He doesn’t use big words, his syntax isn’t complicated, and his sentences are easy to follow. Not only can people without much education understand him, but his speaking style plays to the conservative notion that all truth is simple. “Don’t trust anyone you don’t understand” is one of their truisms. The fact Trump is a poor speaker who stumbles around simply makes him even more authentic to many.

As you note, they like that he tells them (falsely) that there are simple answers to the complex issues which they don’t really understand.

The fortnight con has become the Fortnight Cult. Gratification is assured, but somehow it’s always two weeks away. Just two more weeks. The check is in the mail.

In other words, Trump promises everything and a lot of people find it convincing. That he delivers almost nothing is the primary indication that it’s evolved into a cult. Mexico didn’t pay, China didn’t cave, there is no healthcare plan, the debt has ballooned another 8 trillion instead of being wiped out, there is no huge infrastructure investment, and on and on. Yet people believe. Deeply. Is it microwaves? Brainwashing? Drugs? Nobody knows.

This is something I don’t think I will ever understand. Educated Republicans who so fear/hate the idea of Democratic Socialism they will follow a madman like Trump straight off a cliff. They will never come over to the Democrats until the Democrats become as anti-socialist as the Republicans claim to be.

Also, state that you are opposed to abortion, and be a member of the Republican party, and some people will vote for literally anything which plays those party lines no matter what else they stand for, do, or say.

How is he significantly different from the vast majority of nationalist/fascist demagogues who have amassed large followings? I don’t see him as being anything unusual in recent Western history.