For the past three years Donald Trump has presided over a bizarre movement that is unprecedented in American politics. While there have been a few presidents who have attracted strong and loyal followings, there has never been anything remotely similar to the worshipful devotion of Trump's Deplorables.
There is only one way to describe the pious assemblage of Trump supporters: IT'S A CULT! It is a small group of idolaters who see only virtue in a man whose base immorality could not possibly be more evident. He is known for serial infidelity, including an affair with a porn star while his third wife and newborn were at home. His penchant for lying has produced documentation of more than 13,000 false or misleading statements since taking office. He employs rhetoric that is rife with hostility, bigotry, and infantile insults. He wallows in undeserved pridefulness, turning every public comment into self-exaltation and taking credit for achievements he had no part in, or that don't even exist.
Nevertheless, his believers remain convinced that he speaks only the truth and that, to them, his brutish bullying is a testament to strength. No matter what he does or says, they view him with a glowing halo hovering above his head. They live in a world of deception and willful obedience to a false god. Trump has even referred to himself as “The Chosen One.”
In light of that, it is disturbing that a new poll (posted below) finds that a majority of Republicans (53%) say that Trump is a better president than Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln, of course, was the president who faced down the slave-owning states of the South as they sought to preserve their culture of human bondage by seceding from the union. He was also the first Republican to be elected president. His accomplishments have made him an icon of American politics.
Meanwhile, Trump has tried (and failed) to build a border wall, caged immigrant babies, exploded the national debt, freed corporations to pollute, conspired with foreign tyrants against the U.S., and maligned the free press as “the enemy of the people.” Trump has distinguished himself as the most unpopular president in history, never registering 50% favorability. And yet his fellow Republicans continue to see him as a king, or a god, whos is all-knowing and infallible.
This delusional mindset among Republicans exceeds mere political partisanship. When Republicans sought to impeach Bill Clinton for extramarital sex, many Democrats condemned his behavior and even voted to censure him. But there is no such open-mindedness among today's GOP. They march in lock-step reverence for their Dear Leader. Another recent poll found that 57% of those opposed to impeaching Trump say that no new evidence would change their minds. Last month a poll revealed that a majority (55%) of Republicans for whom Fox News is their primary news source say there is nothing Trump could do to lose their approval. If this isn't a cult, then nothing is.
As for Trump, he is as convinced of his sainthood as his disciples. He frequently posts tweets that celebrate his standing among Republicans. And while it is undoubtedly high, it isn't nearly the 95% that he repeatedly claims. It's hard to tell if Trump is propagating falsehoods about his party popularity, or if he actually believes his own PR. Either way, it's poisoning the public pool of knowledge with flagrant lies. And it is surely keeping his followers in line as they bow down to what they perceive as his holiness.
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