After several months of Trump’s outlandish demagoguery, disgraceful political attacks, and generally abhorrent behavior, it is time that America ask the question: Is Trumpism a cult?
Indeed, there are three types of Trump voter:
- Those who voted for him because he isn’t Hillary.
- Those who would vote for Satan himself if he were the Republican nominee.
- Those who agree with his positions, and admire the fact that he is a populist, who promises to appeal to national interests.
Opinion polls show that the first two subsets of his base are beginning to regret that decision. His approval rating currently hovers between 33-45%, depending on which pollster one is willing to believe.
However, his most rabid supporters, the third category, mainly comprised of working class white men, are still devoted to Dear Leader. The idea that his core supporters are having doubts is nothing more than a fanciful dream, like the idea of Trump releasing his tax returns.
The reason that the myth of the disillusioned Trump supporter is so prevalent is that, by all accounts, it should be the case. Rather than draining the swamp, Trump has filled his cabinet with billionaire bankers, CEOs, and other Wall Street titans, admitting that he “doesn’t want poor people on his cabinet.” Furthermore, the optimistically titled GOP “healthcare” plan would have cut hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicaid, which Trump promised not to touch.
So why do his supporters fail to stand against him? For that, look no further than his personality cult.
During the RNC Convention last year, Trump boomed “I AM YOUR VOICE” in front of an adoring crowd of zealots. These are people who have long felt that the evil mainstream media has not sufficiently catered to their particular brand of batshit crazy. For them, Trump, a walking conspiracy theory, embodies the only source of truth and light in the world. When he says that millions of people voted illegally during the 2016 Election, his supporters demand a voter registry, which Trump is more than happy to create. When he claims that Obama wiretapped him, his supporters demand a Congressional investigation, which his GOP enablers are more than happy to lead.
Facts don’t matter, it’s how Trump makes his supporters feel.
It only makes sense, when one stops to consider it: Trump gets his news from cable television, as do his followers. Trump has cynically manipulated popular distrust in the media in order to present himself as the only viable source of truth.
Don’t believe me? His justification for tweeting nonsense has always been that he wants to “speak directly to the people.” Knowing that journalists will cast doubt on his alternate reality, he needs a place where unfiltered indoctrination can occur.
Like any good cult leader, Trump wants his followers to believe that his reality is the only reality. He also wants his sheep to believe that the outside world is a dangerous threat to their movement, an affront to common decency.
So, why do Trump supporters not hold him accountable when he fails to enact his campaign promises? It’s simple: Trump has created a toxic environment, in which everyone is to blame for his failings, except for Trump himself: the “obstructionist” Democrats in Congress, the “lying” media, “Crooked” Hillary Clinton, and anyone else who dares commit apostasy by failing to bow to Dear Leader.
Trump wants to be America’s savior, to deliver on his promises and “Make America Great Again,” but he cannot, because different opinions exist. Because Democracy exists. It is quite clear from this narrative that even though Trump is not technically a dictator, he aspires to be one. Perhaps this explains his fraternizing with Putin, El-Sisi, and other strongmen. They are not simply his allies, but his role models as well.
Trumpism is, in fact, a cult. So what can his opponents do? It is time that we stop expecting his supporters to act like sensible human beings. Stop arguing with them. Stop engaging with them. We need to work around them, to develop our own competing ideology that will render his Machiavellian tactics obsolete. We cannot rely on Trump supporters to join The Resistance, so we must organize independent of their influence.