Esquire: Is Trumpism A Cult?
....thoughts?Donald Trump's supporters just won't quit.
Sure, you might expect some to turn a blind eye to his ruthless bashing of Mexicans and Muslims. But what about when he denigrates the service of veterans and attacks Gold Star families? What about when he calls the military "a disaster"? What about when he addresses a congregation decked out in red, white, and blue bald eagle shirts and effectively bashes America? Doesn't all this violate decades of core conservative principles? Shouldn't these red-blooded Americans be outraged?
If Trump says it, his supporters will defend it. Always.
A couple of handy examples cropped up today that drive this point home. The first is an amazing bit from Triumph the Insult Comic Dog's upcoming election special, where he assembles a group of supporters for a focus group and shows them some outlandish satirical ads. One ad suggests putting guns in women's bathrooms for defense against transgender people. Another claims Hillary Clinton is a man and Barack Obama is a woman. There's one about building an electric fence along the southern border and putting blinged-out shock collars on all 150 million Mexican citizens. Two more ads propose locking illegal immigrants in port-o-potties or miniature houses, throwing them on a flat-bed truck, and shipping them off to Mexico.
Trump's fans defend all of these ideas, and often do so gleefully. They love them, because they're Trump Ideas.
But clearly we can't just go on Triumph's word here. Let's look at the results published today from Public Policy Polling's survey of Texans.
First of all, the poll indicates Trump is only ahead by six points in Texas. This is astounding. PPP suggests it's indicative of shifting demographics that will benefit Democrats more and more over time, as Texas is getting younger and less white every year. But Mitt Romney won Texas by nearly 17 percentage points in 2012 after John McCain won by 12 in 2008. If this poll is anything to go on, things have shifted dramatically—likely faster than demographics—with Trump as the nominee.
But back to his supporters. Texas is still kind of crazy, so 26 percent of all respondents backed seceding from the United States, while just 59 percent wanted to stay in the Union. Trump has the support of 72 percent of the secession crowd, while 61 percent of Trump supporters would support secession if Hillary Clinton wins. And then there's Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
More to the point, though, Trump's supporters in Texas have bought in wholesale to his most outlandish conspiracy theories. According to PPP, just 19 percent say that "if Clinton wins the election it will be because she got more votes." 71 percent agree with Trump's preemptive sore loser excuse that if she wins it will only be because the election was rigged. PPP also unearthed this gem: "More specifically, 40% of Trump voters think that ACORN, which hasn't existed in years, will steal the election for Clinton to only 20% who don't think it will, and only 20% who are unsure."
In addition, 35 percent of his supporters in Texas agree with Trump's assessment that President Obama "founded ISIS," while a generous 48 percent grant that the president did not establish a mass-murdering paramilitary terrorist organization in Iraq and Syria.
All this points to a Trump-supporting electorate that has bought into, in alarming numbers, his most outrageous and unfounded theories on the trail. This is a kind of organized, insulated extremism—increasingly detached from empirical reality—that you often find in a certain kind of group.
1: formal religious veneration : worship
2: a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also : its body of adherents
3: a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents
4: a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator
5a : great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book); especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad b : the object of such devotion c : a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion
Those last two in particular sound familiar. After all, isn't the person who's the object of all this devotion claiming he alone can cure the disease of America Not Being Great?
It's worth mentioning that Trump's supporters in Texas break with Il Papa on one count, though: By a 43-41 margin, they think he should release his tax returns.