The Cult of Trump

I’m indulging in the fantasy that this will be the last time I feel compelled to post anything about ex-president Donald Trump. He leaves behind a legacy of deception unparalleled in U.S. history (AP). He developed a cult following larger than any in U.S. history. And, he has done more to damage the reputation of the country than any president, perhaps more than any individual, in U.S. history. He had a singular talent for figuring out what his base wanted to believe and enabling those beliefs–beliefs that had little or no basis in reality. He could create his own version of reality and get millions of adult humans to believe him despite a total lack of evidence for any of his self-serving narratives. He could paint himself as a victim and hero at the same time and convince his followers that anyone or anything that didn’t support him was an enemy to be jeered, reviled, and persecuted. He was the ultimate leader for people who wanted a bully who was on their side–those who valued power over principle–those who hold intelligence and virtue in contempt and consider themselves patriots by contributing to the dissolution of the state. Although their leader is out of office, we find ourselves faced with several worrying questions. Where will these people go (NBC)? What will become of them? And, what will happen when the next con man comes along who stokes their fantasies of abolishing the government? And, worst of all, what if the next one is competent?

The twice-impeached president painted a fantasy world in office, starring himself. In this world, he did things bigger, better, more boldly than all who came before him while facing enemies more pernicious than any in creation. In service of his ego, his nature and his reelection prospects, he said things that were not only wrong, but the precise opposite of right. He said them over and over, in leaps and bounds, and no less so when the deceptions were exposed.

Calvin Woodward writing in AP
Tom Brenner, Reuters