Showing posts with label Trump cult. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trump cult. Show all posts

September 8, 2023

The $47,000 Question: What will it take for Trump cultists to fall out of love with him?


By Hal Brown

I'm showing my age in the title. The 64 Thousand Dollar Question was popular in the early 1950's when it was hosted by Hal March, the only famous person with my first name who I knew of even though actor Hal Holbrook was on Broadway playing Mark Twain at the time. I am old enough to remember when $64,000 was a small fortune. The household median income in the U.S. in 1950 was $2,990 and you could by a nice house for $7,000.

I titled this "The $47,000 Question" because Trump is running to be the 47th President of the United States and is making a big deal of this number. I suppose you could call this the $47 trillion question.

He even has something of a Mein Kampf-like manifesto called Agenda47 which I wrote about yesterday here.

There are Trump cultists and there are Trump cultists. A few can actually have an immediate effect on his electability if they fall out of love with him. One is Judge Aileen Cannon. 

We have no idea whether Judge Cannon is following Trump's shenanigans like this with another Florida judge:

If she has a EUREKA! moment where she falls out of love with her dreamboat she might actually rule in the Mar-a-Lago documents case treating Trump like he was any other defendant.

Then there are people like Walt Nauda:

Click above to read

I can't imagine that the other defendants in the Georgia case who aren't named Trump are thinking that the limits of loyalty ends along the line to the lockup.

The most important members of the Trump cult are the millions who worship at the fatasses' feet:

Experts have tried to analyze the appeal of Trump for ordinary people and cult experts like Steve Hassan have been trying to educate the country about the psychological hold Trump has on his folowers (read Cult Expert Steve Hassan is on a controversial cursade in Slate).

The millions of voters who will make the difference between Trump winning or losing in the primary and if he wins against President Biden may flush him down the drain not because of one revelation, but more likely I think they will experience the drip-drip-drip of damning news about him having decieved them into believing he was divine. I expect they won't wake up one morning and say "I'm so done with him" but instead will vacilate back and forth for a period of time.

It is incredibly difficult to admit you were taken in by a master con man. It takes a lot of self-awareness to admit one was gullible. Much will depend on where ordinary Trump cultists gets their news and how they shape their opinions. Peer groups have a major effect so if they surround themselves with other cultists their beliefs won't be challenged. If they have friends and family who try to get them to see the truth about Trump it might help break through their denial of reality.

We also have those in the right-wing media who influence Trump cultists. What will it take to disabuse them of their alligance to Trump? The answer is that they will drop him like a hot potato when their bosses tell them to because supporting him and giving him a forum no longer brings in revenue. This is all the better for the likes of Tucker Carlson on X and Steve Bannon (with his Warroom show) but they don't have the reach of television. Still, Fox News is on everyone's TV and has a major impact on what people think about Trump.

The known unknown that may have a huge impact is the Georgia trial and if Trump testifies is how his behavior under cross-examination will be perceived by his cultists. Trump is aggressive this has worked with his cult, they love it, but he's always snarled, blustered, and blown his stack on his own terms. He's never done it from a witness stand on live TV.

Another group who can tarnish Trump's golden glow are the other GOP candidates for president. I suppose you can break them into a few groups. Of course, there is Chris Christi. He doesn't stand a chance of winning the nomination.  He can only go after Trump if they ever share a debate stage. Then there those who have their sights on Trump chosing them to run as vice president and those who don't want to incur the ire of his base. Notably there's Nikki Haley who has come fairly close to breaking with Trump probably because she thinks DeSantis may crash and burn leaving her as the only credible candidate with a chance of success to take him on once she exposes Vivek Ramaswarmy for the fraud that he is.

One way for Trump cultists to fall out of love with him is to fall in love with someone else. It won't be the the dour DeSanstis for obvious reasons not the least of which is that Trump has dumped on him dubing him Ron DeSantimonious, but I can see it happening with Nikki Haley. This could happen if the bigots among the cultists overlook the fact that she's an Indian-American. 

They also might take into consideration that she might stand a better chance of beating Biden in the general election than Trump. I wouldn't be surprised to see a Hail Haley movement among Republicans that really want to win back the presidency and make sure America doesn't turn into the kind of country Trump, DeSantis, and Ramaswarmy want it to be.

I think she's a more appealling candidate for the Republicans to chose for the general election than Pence, Asa Hutchenson, or Tim Scott or  the currently declared candidates (here).

In conclusion:

Click to enlarge

August 10, 2023

You may be able to convince Trump cultists mermaids aren't real, but de-programming them from believing Trump is innocent of crimes is far more difficult


By Hal Brown

Thom Hartmann wrorte 

How to de-program Fox News watchers on the Trump Indictment

I have admired Thom Hartmann (Wiki profile), who like me is a MIchigan State University graduate and a resident of Portland Oregon, ever since I got a car with Sirius radio and listened to his radio show. I rarely if ever disagree with him. In addtion to his radio show Thom writes for Raw Story + (where this article also appears) and Salon. He has his own blog The Hartmann Report and for a fee you can subscribe to podcasts.

Today, however, I think he is being unrealistic.

In his blog column he explains how to de-program Fox News watchers on the Trump indictment. I assume he means all the consumers of Trump supporting media. Aside from my understanding from a friend who regularly checks in with Fox News the station is barely covering news of the the legal jeopardy Trump is in. I won't tune in to Fox News on TV but do sometimes look at their website which, as you can see below, has no stories about the indictments.

This being noted, obviously whatever is being reported about the Trump indictments is bascially that they are bogus, politically motivated, and anything that Trump did was justifed because it was free speech. Meanwhile as their website shows they engage in a combination of what-aboutism (Joe and Hunter Biden stories) without mentining Trump's legal troubles, and distraction (the death of some kid, NASCAR, and the Lady Gaga story for example).

Thom lays out the reasons why what Trump did wasn't free speech was in furterance of a criminal conspiarcy to overturn an election and then writes as if addressing believers in the Trump claims in bold:
As you can see, this wasn’t an exercise in free speech: it was a planned, organized, carefully executed conspiracy to defraud Biden voters in those seven states out of their right to have their votes counted.

Thom cocludes his essay (his bold):

The media outlets who gloss over Trump’s lies do so because it’s profitable for them: when, for example, Fox “News” stopped supporting Trump’s lies for a few weeks they lost a large chunk of their audience to another TV network that was willing to parrot his lies. Which is why they’re now back to supporting his lies and are again making money.

The politicians who approve of or repeat Trump’s lies do so because they see it as their path to fame and power: they want you to believe those lies and then vote for them.

And the billionaires who push Trump and his lies through their publications, think-tanks, and media outlets do so because they believe if he’s re-elected, they’ll get even more tax breaks and that Trump will continue his efforts to gut the IRS and EPA, which they hate.

The simple reality, dear Trump-lover, is that you’ve been suckered.

Now might be a good time to change the channel…

There's one phrase that leaps out at me: "simple reality," and in that  phrase the modifier "simple" is what I want to briefly address.

It is anything but simple to alter beliefs that are deeply held and supported by family members, friends, and an enomroious group not just composed of talking heads on TV but actual people if you attend Trump rallies.

How could all of these people be wrong? How could so many people you love, like, or are aquanted with be suckers?

It's easy enough to laugh at being suckered and accept it when you go to the county fair and pay 25¢ to see the real mermaid and see the mermaid was a woman with an phony fish tail. (See image above)

When you build an entire belief system around someone like Trump and worship him as a diety, as does a group that makes you feel like you belong (aka, a cult), and realize you've been lied to and bought the liie like a fool, it is far, far, more difficult to admit you've been suckered.

The usual way that people who have been in an actual cult are de-programmed, whether they were in the Moonies or Scientology, or dombday cults like Jonestown, the Branch Davidians (Waco), or Heaven's Gate if you can get them before they kill themselves, is to first remove them pyhsically from the cult. Then with expert de-programmers, ideally with parents and family if they had good relationsips with them, the psychological work can begin. 

How does one de-program members of the Trump cult? Using the de-programming model the first steps would be to remove them from the influence of the pro-Trump propaganda. This would entail not allowing them to use pro-Trump media and not associate with other members of the Trump cult. 

Unfortunately legal education, reason, and logic will rarely be enough. Punitive measures like prison might work, time will tell whether any of imprisioned Jan. 6th insurrectionist will realize they were suckered. 

Our legal system won't allow the kind of Clockwork Orange de-programming where instead of having their eyelids clamped open while watching violent images and getting electric shocks they are forced to watch MSNBC while being rewarded with their favorite sweet treats.

Addendum: I went to the Ringling Circus sideshow at Madison Square Garden,  which was in the basement, twice as a child. I re,meber my father buying a ring from the giant for a quarter who handed it to me (a thrill). It could fit around my 10 year old wrist.  

They didn't have a mermaid. All of the people featured what were disparagingly called "freaks" although, like the Fat Man, Giant, and World's Skinnest Man were just at the extreme end of physical development. Some had a phsycial condition like the Bearded Lady. Others like Tattooed Lady might have done things to make themselves look unusual.

Here's an article about nine famous freak show attractions. 

I never did see Tom Thumb although he and his wife Lavina by chance made their home in Middleboro, MA,. where I lived between living in Michigan and Oregon. There's a appropriately very small Tom Thumb museum than and the house theye lived in is preserved.

Some people made thier living because of a rare genetic condition, perhaps the most famous being the conjoined twins Chang and Eng.

Carnival sideshows like you might go to at a county fair often had a mixture between real people doing intersting thinks like the sword swallower and the snake handling lady and obvious fakes. Many, though not all, featured a "real" mermaid, either a living version or a preserved mermaid corpse.


I never did see Tom Thumb although he was, for a time, part of the Ringling Circus show. He and his wife Lavina by chance made their home in Middleboro, MA, where I lived between living in Michigan and Oregon. There's a appropriately very small Tom Thumb museum there and the house they lived in is preserved. The public library has large portraits of them in their reading room.

June 18, 2023

Why is anybody surprised that the worse Trump's legal troubles get the more his cult loves him, gives him money, and contemplate violence?


By Hal Brown

Anyone who follows experts like neuroscientist Bobby Azarian, whose latest article in Raw Story is  "A neuroscientist explains why Trump extremists will grow violent as Election 2024 approaches"or read articles like  "The ‘Shared Psychosis’ of Donald Trump and His Loyalists" (Scientific American 2021) knows the scientific reasons why Trump has such an iron grip on members of his cult.

Azarian explains:

Terror management theory is particularly relevant to current political events because it provides a scientific explanation for tribalism. The theory suggests that in the face of threat or fear, we bolster our worldviews, and become more ideological. We also become more tribal, which will strengthen our support for like-minded others, while at the same time making us more prone to aggression toward those who are not like us, and who do not share our worldview.

 They also know, as Azarian explains, how dangerous some of them may be:

This suggests that an atmosphere of existential fear would simultaneously promote aggression while strengthening support for Trump, who regularly projects a “strongman” image and suggests violence as a remedy to political matters. 

This is a very scary combination of psychological effects. For this reason we must be aware of this problem, which will become increasingly salient as the 2024 presidential election begins to heat up.
Azarian concludes with a plea for empathy, using our knowledge, and optimism as follows:

So, we must be empathetic during these times, but we must also be vigilant. If we stay on the current trajectory of increasing polarization, we can almost be certain that a whole new level of unrest is headed our way. Now the question is whether we have the ability to use this knowledge to avert the coming train wreck. But I’m an optimist, and I think if we can predict something ahead of time, we can figure out how to prevent it. That is precisely why science has been such a powerful force for human civilization, and it’s time we start applying that knowledge to solving the existential threat that is the culture war in America.

What puzzles me is why so many rational people are surprised, shocked even, that the more is revealed about how Trump defied the law and put national security at risk and now may face the sword of Lady Justice for what he did, the more members of his cult support him. For example:

At a subliminal level have all of these people bought into the illusion of Telfon Don, of Superman Trump, of Rambo Trump, on bulletproof Trump riding a tank into battle?

From members of the general public who zealously support him no matter what he's done or how outlandish his behavior is to members of Congress and Republicans running for president it seems as if they fall into one of two groups. The first is the group who believe he is the superhuman being he portrays himself. The more imperiled he becomes for many the more enthusiastic their support of him becomes.  The second group is composed of the politicians who are scared shitless of him and the voting block he controls. In private they may wish he'd just disappear (see Would Republicans support Trump in 2024 if he's convicted of crimes? They're split, NBC News).

Group two is afraid of group one. They are hitching their political wagons to horses that have been grazing in locoweed.

Trumps "Truth" posts add up to the only psychological test you need to diagnose Donald Trump as a dangerous maniac. All the leaders of our allies need to do to be terrifed that he'll be the next president is to read them, by Hal Brown, MSW

In 2017 Dr. John Gartner, the founder of Duty to Warn, wrote  All I Ever Wanted to Know about Donald Trump I Learned From His Tweets: A Psyc...