In a magnificent show of their independent-mindedness, 200 Donald Trump supporters sprinted after the Trump Royal Train in Warwick, Rhode Island. Trump-supporting Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft was all over the story:
They were RUNNING ACROSS A FIELD to see Donald Trump arrive for his Rhode Island rally today. Then they chased him down the street. Just to get a glimpse of the Republican front-runner? When was the last time you saw HUNDREDS OF MIDDLE AGED PEOPLE Chase down a candidate’s caravan?
This story received a coveted link from the Drudge Report.
This story was seen as a positive for Trump.
Meanwhile, Trump supporters are threatening delegates; Rush Limbaugh is worried about violent riots that could “make the Watts and Rodney riots look like Romper Room when it was all over” if Trump loses the nomination.
Does this sound like a positive movement among conservatives? Or does it sound like a cult? Rick Ross, executive director of the Ross Institute for the Study of Destructive Cults, Controversial Groups and Movements, describes ten warning signs of cult development in The Guardian:
Absolute Authoritarianism. Certainly the Trump campaign tends toward this standard. Today, Politico reports that Trump has rejected his advisor, Paul Manafort’s push to be more “presidential” to woo delegates. Trump is instead redirecting power to the man who incessantly calls him “Mr. Trump” on the campaign trail and grabs reporters in his physical orbit, Corey Lewandowski. Manafort, it should be noted, was the only staff member who called Trump by his first name. Michael Cohen, Trump’s right-hand man, calls Trump “our patriarch.” Some of Trump’s most ardent supporters call him “Daddy.” This is not healthy.
No Tolerance For Questions. Asking tough questions about Trump merely demonstrates, according to a serious subset of Trump supporters, that you are a “cuckservative” who wishes to have your wife sexed up by a black man. No answers are necessary – Trump says it is so, and thus it is so. Mentioning Trump’s routine lies simply demonstrates that you are “establishment.”
No Meaningful Financial Disclosures. Trump says he’s worth $10 or $11 or $100 billion. All of these numbers come from thin air, given that Trump refuses to hand over his tax returns for nonsense reasons related to auditing. Trump lies about self-financing his campaign, about giving military donations to veterans’ groups, and about his charity record.
Unreasonable Fear About The Outside World. This is Trump’s entire campaign platform. While Hillary Clinton preaches unreasoning fear to racial minorities and women, Trump does the same for white people in poverty, suggesting that they should fear technological development and free trade, that there is a shadowy conspiracy to deprive them of their livelihoods, and that he will protect them from those threats.
There Is No Legitimate Reason To Leave. I began this race as tepidly open to Trump. I wrote a column in 2011 in which I explained why I thought Trump could be a tremendous candidate. Over the course of this campaign, Trump has demonstrated no capacity to change – he’s a narcissistic authoritarian who cares nothing for conservatism. But according to Trump supporters, any woman who doesn’t support Trump must be having sex with Ted Cruz, and any man who doesn’t must be paid to abandon the Glorious Leader.
Former Members Often Reflect A Similar Pattern of Grievances. Those who have left Trump’s campaign say the same things: that they were disillusioned with the shallow narcissism of the man. Stephanie Cegielski, who left her position as the communications director for the Trump Make American Great Again Super PAC in March, said this: “Trump is not our champion. He would stab any one of his supporters in the back if it earned him a cent more in his pocket.” Even the execrable Roger Stone, upon breaking with Trump in August 2015, ripped Trump’s “diversion to food fight with @megynkelly” as the rationale.
There Are Records Of Abuses. Trump has abused people around him for years, and has openly championed such abuse. Aside from his mockery of the disabled and prisoners of war, he’s been repeatedly accused of abuse by women. He has suggested that supporters physically assault those who protest him. He has called a reporter delusional for saying that his campaign manager bruised her. He has allegedly abused clients, old women in the way of his parking lots, and debtholders in his companies.
Followers Feel They Cannot Be “Good Enough.” Trump’s most ardent core supporters seem to want to earn Trump’s love personally. They puff up their chests at the exploits of their Godking, simultaneously begging for Trump to notice them, senpai. They’re Salacious Crumb to Trump’s Jabba, posting about their own powerful masculinity while begging the privilege of removing barnacles from their sovereign’s back.
The Leader Is Always Right. Trump has never been wrong. Ever. Even when he’s wrong, he’s right. None of his lies are lies; outright falsehoods are actually clever strategems. He has never changed his mind; if he has, that’s just because he’s not a politician, and therefore still learning the ropes. He has never said anything inappropriate; if he has, that’s just because he’s not a politician, and is therefore honest. As Thomas Sowell writes, “At this late date, there is no point itemizing the many things that demonstrate Trump's gross inadequacies for being President of the United States. Trump himself has demonstrated those gross inadequacies repeatedly, at least weekly and sometimes daily. Those who do not believe their own eyes and ears are certainly not going to believe any words of mine, or of anyone else. What William James called ‘the will to believe’ is still as powerful today as it was when he coined the phrase more than a century ago.”
The Leader Is The Exclusive Means Of Knowing “Truth.” Most disheartening has been the tendency of supposed conservatives to toss conservatism out in favor of ad hoc Trumpism. Free trade? If Trump says it’s bad, it’s bad. Men in women’s bathrooms? If Trump says it’s okay, it’s okay. Poverty, international unrest, the war on Christmas? Trump alone can solve.
Trump’s rabid core has no parallel on the Republican side of the aisle. When Hoft asks, “When was the last time you saw HUNDREDS OF MIDDLE AGED PEOPLE Chase down a candidate’s caravan?,” the answer is: Barack Obama. Trump’s support looks like Obama’s: projection of hope onto a blank canvas, and belief that the canvas must be invested with as much power as humanly possible to break the political machine. Cult politics is dangerous stuff. It’s sad to watch it infect the right the same way it has infected the left.