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Dealing with the Trump Cult

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Four weeks have passed since the El Paso Walmart shootings and Donald Trump's incredibly insensitive response. During this period the nation has witnessed multiple episodes of Trump's bizarre behavior. His judgment -- always questionable -- has evaporated. As a consequence, many Americans have concluded that Trump is incapable of fulfilling the duties and responsibilities required of the President of the United States. But some, most notably the Trump cult, continue to support him.

The latest 538 Summary found that 54.2 percent of respondents disapproved of Trump, while 41.3 percent approved. It's a remarkably constant finding: Trump's disapproval seldom goes above 56 percent and his approval rarely dips below 40 percent.

On the one hand these polls suggest that Trump will have trouble getting reelected in 2020 -- his recent swing-state polls have been terrible -- but on the other hand the polls indicate that Trump has a solid base of support. There are millions of Americans who either don't care about Trump's behavior or refuse to believe the mounting evidence of his incompetence. There are millions of Americans who belong to the Trump cult.

In recent months, many have written about "the cult of Trump." A couple of months ago, Chris Hedges savaged Trump and his supporters (https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/06/10/cult-trump), noting that Trump shares the characteristics of cult leaders such as Adolph Hitler, Jim Jones, and David Koresh:

"Cult leaders are narcissists. They demand obsequious fawning and total obedience. They prize loyalty above competence. They wield absolute control. They do not tolerate criticism. They are deeply insecure, a trait they attempt to cover up with bombastic grandiosity. They are amoral and emotionally and physically abusive... All those outside the cult are branded as forces of evil, prompting an epic battle whose natural expression is violence."

Hedges continued: "Donald Trump has transformed the decayed carcass of the Republican Party into a cult... Trump did not create the yearning for a cult leader. Huge segments of the population, betrayed by the established elites, were conditioned for a cult leader." Seeking to explain Trump's power, Hedges wrote: "Domestic terrorism and nihilistic violence are the natural outcomes of the economic, social and political stagnation, the total seizure of power by a corporate cabal and oligarchic elite, and the contamination of civil discourse by cult leaders."

Let's start with the assumption that Donald Trump is, at best, incompetent, and, at worst, deranged, "a danger to himself and others." Nonetheless, when Trump is removed from office -- either by impeachment or as the result of the 2020 election -- those of us who are currently shouting, "the Emperor has no clothes," will be stuck with the toxic residue of his cult. Trump may go away but his cult members will still be with us.

There are, at least, four major components of the Trump cult: The first constituents are conservative evangelical Christians. Many have been conditioned by their brand of Christianity, which teaches that the word of God does not come from revelation or studious Bible study but instead from the teachings of their minister -- typically a white male. Writing in The Washington Post, Elizabeth Bruenig (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/08/14/evangelicals-view-trump-their-protector-will-they-stand-by-him/?wpisrc=nl_rainbow&wpmm=1) observed that conservative evangelical Christians typically do not condone Trump's behavior. Rather, they see him as the means to an end: Trump is the only major politician who seems to stand up for their desire for a theocracy. Trump is, in effect, "God's mercenary," their agent in "spiritual warfare." Trump does what they want -- whether it's appointing ultra-conservative judges or opposing abortion or supporting Christian schools -- and they, in turn, ask no questions. "Trump is able, by being less Christian than your average Christian, to protect [evangelical] Christians who fear incursions from a hostile dominant culture."

The second component of the Trump cult are white supremacists -- aka "white nationalists." (click here) They are more supportive of Trump's day-to-day behavior -- this group pointedly eschews "political correctness." The white nationalists also see Trump as a means to an end: the establishment of an autocratic government run by white males.

The third component of the Trump cult are the owners and employees of fossil-fuel companies. Like the conservative evangelical Christians, many members of this constituency do not condone Trump's behavior but see him as a means to an end: long-term job and profit security. Trump has gone out of his way to favor this group, whether by denying the reality of global climate change or by doing everything he can to keep coal mines operating. (There are similar industrial groups -- such as chemical companies -- that are seed beds for Trump supporters; I've noted the most obvious.)

The common characteristic of these three Trump constituencies is that they are locked into a rigid anti-democratic worldview that does not have broad popular support. Among major politicians, only Trump supports them.

The fourth component of the Trump cult are the large segments of America that have lost hope. This group was described in Arlie Hochschild's insightful "Strangers in Their Own Land." (https://thenewpress.com/books/strangers-their-own-land) From 2012-2016, sociologist Hochschild talked to residents of Lake Charles, Louisiana, a Tea Party stronghold. These residents felt they had lost their shot at the American dream. One of Hochschild's key insights was that these Americans no longer believed that "government" would help them; instead they placed their faith in "corporations" or "capitalism" or -- in the period leading up to the 2016 presidential election -- Donald Trump.

My point here is not to vilify members of the Trump cult but rather to point out the obvious: these four groups are going to vote for Trump, no matter what, because they don't see an alternative. Whomever the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate turns out to be, the members of the Trump cult aren't going to switch sides to support them.

Yes, American politics is deeply polarized. And, no, the Democrats aren't going to win because their choice of candidate caused some Republican voters to switch sides. If the Democrats win, it will be because their candidate energized their base and attracted a majority of true independents. The members of the Trump cult are going to stick with Donald to the bitter end. And beyond.

 

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Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer. In a previous life he was one of the executive founders of Cisco Systems.
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Don Smith

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Well said. I agree with the conclusion: "Yes, American politics is deeply polarized. And, no, the Democrats aren't going to win because their choice of candidate caused some Republican voters to switch sides. If the Democrats win, it will be because their candidate energized their base and attracted a majority of true independents. The members of the Trump cult are going to stick with Donald to the bitter end. And beyond."

Submitted on Friday, Aug 30, 2019 at 2:53:28 PM

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I think there are only 2 Dem candidates that can get 2016 Trump voters to switch, Tulsi Gabbard and Andrew Yang both whom the DNC seem to have no interest in them winning, The one thing I think that can hurt Trump is if a right leaning independent runs.

Submitted on Friday, Aug 30, 2019 at 3:57:25 PM

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Reply to Glers:   New Content

Isn't Yang the guy proposing giant space mirrors to block sunlight? That ranks with the nuttiest of Trump's ideas and shows the same boastful ignorance of the real world.

Submitted on Friday, Aug 30, 2019 at 7:09:20 PM

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911TRUTH

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That's almost as stupid as his $1,000 universal basic income idea for everyone, whether you need it or not. And that's probably before taxes, of course.

Submitted on Saturday, Aug 31, 2019 at 5:27:45 PM

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Have you noticed that such articles can change nothing? The difference between democrats and republicans lies in talks, in reality, the difference does not exist. You all have been played by the rich and do not know it.

Submitted on Friday, Aug 30, 2019 at 3:53:50 PM

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The DNC is the fifth group who loves Trump but they do not vote for him, only his policies. As the left wing of the war eagle, they help him in his atrocious behavior so he can drag the country to the right, just like our billionaire masters command. It makes the right wing democrats in the democrat stable look a little more acceptable even though they pledge to carry on the status quo, with a sharp nudge to the right.

"You all have been played by the rich and do not know it." So well said!

Submitted on Friday, Aug 30, 2019 at 4:50:38 PM

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There are two interesting articles in the last couple of days that expose a river running through international struggles brought about by international criminal cabals that can't be ignored by any informed and open societies in their struggles against inequalities by the forces aligned against them.

Despite this headline; "HK mass rally banned as Chinese troops deployed in show of force" if one looks deeper it is not Chinese troop repression but another staged Euromaidan by imperialist capitalism in yet another part of the world. What Mike Head does fail to mention or omits is who has caused and instigates riots to their advantage for profit and control of an already stripped bare citizenry by greed. Why doesn't WSWS admit that?

The protracted protests, mostly involving young people, are being driven by underlying student and working-class concerns about escalating social inequality, low wages and the lack of affordable housing and decent jobs. The HK rebellion is part of a global resurgence of the working class which includes strikes in mainland China, overwhelming strike votes by US auto workers, huge demonstrations in Puerto Rico and the ongoing anti-austerity "yellow vest" movement in France. Thursday's rejection by HK police of a request by the Civil Human Rights Front to hold a rally on Saturday is the first time such a ban has been applied to an entire day's event by that organization. Previous rallies called by the coalition have been huge and mostly peaceful, but the police now claim that Saturday's protest could turn violent and have threatened that anyone taking part could be arrested. a police spokesman said:

If you take part in the already forbidden public assembly " you might be imprisoned for a maximum of five years.

The march is scheduled to end near the Chinese central government's liaison office. A fortnight ago, an estimated 1.7 million people marched across HK after the Front's last rally. It was a mass act of civil disobedience because the police had authorized the demonstration but not the march. The Front is an alliance of NGOs, political parties and groups associated with the pan-democrat grouping in HK's Legislative Council. The pan-democrats represent the interests of the city's super-rich corporate elite, which is seeking to protect its position from Beijing's encroachment, but the protest movement has threatened to develop out of their control. It has mobilized workers and youth whose interests are diametrically opposed to those of the HK billionaires, whose fortunes are based on the ruthless exploitation of Chinese workers since the restoration of capitalism by the Beijing Stalinists from the 1970s.
Mike Head, WSWS, Aug 30 2019 HK mass rally banned as Chinese troops deployed in show of force

The second article:

Conclusion one: it's all a big lie!

"Yes, it is a big lie, all of it. And this is how we end up with an Israeli Prime Minister who, by any criteria, is not only a Fascist, but also a Nazi as long as we make it clear that his brand of Nazism is a Jewish one, not a Germanic one. And it's not just Bibi Netanyahu who does not mind dealing with Ukronazis, so the the the Chief Rabbi of Ukraine (see herefor details). As for the said Ukronazis, they are now trying hard to deny that Bandara and his gang massacred Jews during WWII. As for Zelenskii, he is most definitely not a Nazi, but he has already caved in to the Ukronazi ideology (i.e. a form of Nazism which substitutes myths about "ancient Ukrs" to the more traditional Germanic myths about the Aryan-Germanic "race").

Then there is Kolomoiskii who is simply a typical Jewish mobster who has no personal ideology whatsoever and who has no love for the bona fideUkronazis, but who is being very careful about how to purge them from power lest they beat him yet again. And above them all, we have the leaders of the Empire who use ideological categories as slurs but who don't give a damn whom they back as long as it is against Russia.

Against this background it is worth asking a simple question: do these words even matter? Do they still have any kind of meaning?

Conclusion two: yes, words do still matter!

I believe that they do, very much so! This is precisely why the legacy corporate ziomedia and those brainwashed by it freak out when they see expressions such as "AngloZionist","Ukronazi" or even the rather demure "Israel Lobby". When somebody comes up with a powerful and correct descriptor, say like "ZOG" the propaganda machine immediately kicks into high gear to shoot down in flames whatever author and article dared to use it. In fact, there are at least two types of wannabe word censors which typically show up:

TYPE ONE: the real McCoy. These are the sincere folks (whether of the Nazi or Zionist persuasion) who are truly outraged and offended that such "hallowed" words as Nazi/Zionist (pick one) can be combined with "abominations" such as Nazi/Zionist (pick the other one). These are all the Third Reich nostalgics, the defenders of a "White Christian West" and all the rest of them neo-Nazis.

TYPE TWO: the paid trolls. These are the folks whose task it is to obfuscate the real issues, to bury them under tons of vapid ideological nonsense; the best way to do that is to misdirect any discussion away from the original topic and sidetrack it into either a barrage of ad hominems or ideological cliche's.

Seriously, what we are witnessing today is a new age of censorship in which government and corporations work hand in hand to crush (ban, censor, demonetize, algorithmically purge and otherwise silence) all those who challenge the official ideology and its many narratives. It would be naïve to the extreme to assume that the so-called "alternative media" and blogosphere have been spared such an effort at silencing ideological heresies.

Next time these self-appointed enforcers of the politically correct doxa come out, try this experiment: when you read their comments, don't just look at what they write, but also try to guess why they write what they write and then mentally place a T1 or T2 sign next to their comments and you will soon see that they follow a careful pattern. The Saker, Bibi in Banderastan, or the importance of words

Submitted on Friday, Aug 30, 2019 at 9:46:56 PM

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Bob Stuart

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The one I know does not fit these. As far as I can tell, it's a mix of blind hatred of Muslims, driven by media, not experience, and living vicariously in his bedroom.

Submitted on Friday, Aug 30, 2019 at 3:57:32 PM

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John Lawrence Ré

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"[T]he the Democrats aren't going to win because their choice of candidate caused some Republican voters to switch sides." Strongly disagree. Gabbard could easily walk away with your fourth group...and even some of your third. She is despised more by the atrocious Clintonites and the warmongering democratic party than the republican majority. On the other hand she appeals to all who are sick of the establishment and the following fringe assortment: anti-imperialists, pacifist intellectuals, libertarians, progressive independents, catholic "Francistas" and that antediluvian Republican minority who still subscribe to "The American Conservative."

Gabbard needs to run as an independent financed by the 1% (majority) not invested in MIC who are sick of the festering war economy.

Submitted on Friday, Aug 30, 2019 at 5:21:09 PM

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Dennis Kaiser

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That is exactly why she is being smeared by all of those MSM propagandists who are bought and paid for by the military-industrial complex, and all of the other corporate entities. She would disrupt things to favor the 99%.



Submitted on Friday, Aug 30, 2019 at 9:44:03 PM

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John, I think you're correct that some of the fourth group (those who lost hope) would vote for Gabbard -- or for Sanders. Indeed, some former Sanders supporters voted for Trump in 2016 (I guess they weren't so smart).

I disagree that the Dems are as war-mongering as you imply. They're far less war-mongering than the Repugs: look at the differences between the Senate and House versions of the NDAA. The House version has excellent amendments to rein in military adventurism and to start to call for justifications for overseas bases. Also, it was the Bush-Cheney GOP who invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. Yes, there are hawkish Dems -- Hillary Clinton, for example. Overall, the Dems are much more pacifist, and in the current House, a large block of progressives have pushed the party to the left.

Submitted on Saturday, Aug 31, 2019 at 1:02:01 AM

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When I refer to "democrats," I am refering to its leadership and the dazed and confused rank and file who support them. The neocons know where their bread is buttered and it's at the DNC. Until the "large block of progressives" you refer to actually seizes control and runs an anti-imperialist for executive office, the democrats are nothing more than a wing of ameirca's duopoly...a neoliberal/neocon fusion party. If anything, there is more anti-imperialist sentiment in the American Conservative than there is at Daily Kos.

Submitted on Saturday, Aug 31, 2019 at 1:33:57 AM

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kappie

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you forgot the 5th column of trump support,crooked voting machines,crooked politicians who are purging the voting polls to make sure republicans have a majority.As stalin once said,its not who votes but who counts the votes that matters

Submitted on Friday, Aug 30, 2019 at 8:07:08 PM

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The stupid, non-thinking Christians give other Christians a

bad name. Through my Christian walk I've been most

frustrated by "Christians" who no nothing about Christianity. Like the author says they learn everything

from their minister (big mistake) instead of vigorous

Bible study or revelation from God. Once you understand

Scripture you'll understand why a theocracy would never

work. I'd settle for a politician with some basic moral ethics.

Jesus said: "My kingdom is no part of this world."

A theocracy would never work, the world is too evil for

that. Jesus did not even attempt a theocracy.

As far as trump goes, he represents what's wrong

with the world: lover of money, greedy, chronic liar,

uncompassionate, slanderer of good people, hypocritical,

racist, unconcerned about environment, etc. etc.

The scary part: some people love him.

Submitted on Friday, Aug 30, 2019 at 10:35:20 PM

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911TRUTH

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If you have Netflix, please watch 'The Family.'

Absolutely terrifying documentary.

An enigmatic conservative Christian group known as the Family wields enormous influence in Washington, D.C., in pursuit of its global ambitions.

The Family

Submitted on Saturday, Aug 31, 2019 at 5:38:44 PM

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A real Christian group would not have any "worldly" ambitions.

I'll check it out.

Submitted on Saturday, Aug 31, 2019 at 6:51:20 PM

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The "Democrat Establishment' may be "in Trump's corner" as well, although not admitting it - there's the Democrat House Speaker Pelosi who has "refused to impeach" two Republican presidents, preferring, in each case, "to run out the clock" to "the next election. Pelosi "worked her magic" ("refused to impeach") for W Bush's two terms and now it's "deja vu" for Trump all the way to his reelection in 2020. Trump POLL - #ImperialPresidency. #911Evidence - #SeekingJustice.

Submitted on Saturday, Aug 31, 2019 at 2:26:53 AM

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1. Cory Booker says he wants to punch the president.
2. Joe Biden says he wants to beat up the president.
3. Maxine Waters says to get in Republicans' faces out in public.
4. Jimmy Kimmel and other late night hosts joke about assassinating the president.
5. Snoop Dog makes a video of a fake assassination of the president.
6. Kathy Griffin poses with a severed bloody head of the president.
7. Johnny Depp jokes about assassinating the President.
8. Madonna says she wants to blow up the White House.
9. Black Lives Matter chants they want dead cops and fry 'em like bacon.
10. Antifa routinely assaults conservatives.
11. AOC calls our border agents Nazis and refuses to condemn violence against them.
12. The so-called "Squad" supports terrorists of Palestine and Hamas and routinely spews anti semitic rhetoric.
13. Congress refuses to call out Ilhan Omar for making anti semitic remarks.
14. Rashida Tlaib calls the president a motherf**ker

15. They put on a play in Central Park that depicted the assassination of the president.

Submitted on Saturday, Aug 31, 2019 at 4:03:14 PM

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If trump ordered his most rabid cultist MAGAts to drink his special recipe Kool-Aid, would they do it?

I think they absolutely would follow their Fuhrer's order.

Without question.

Submitted on Saturday, Aug 31, 2019 at 5:44:28 PM

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