There are psychological, emotional reasons why some people blindly believe, follow, and admire a flawed, dangerous leader. People who follow charismatic leaders with extremist believes are searching for answers that they cannot find within themselves. Supporters of Trump need to think he can do no wrong. They trust everything he does is to help them and the country. His crass behavior and pathological lying are excused by those who need someone to do for them what they cannot do for themselves. Trump is a master at controlling people who don’t pursue truth, facts, and independent thinking.
Some Trump supporters may share traits in common with cult followers such as;
Highly suggestible- Lack of both confidence in themselves and independent thinking. Blindly trust what they are told.
Followers not leaders- Passive types lacking in confidence
Low Self-esteem- Seeking validation through acceptance into a group
Looking for an identity- The identification with a cult leader defines who they are and what they believe
Schizotypal thinkers- Not entirely schizophrenic, but exhibit odd beliefs or behaviors that might fall into the realm of conspiracy-type thinking or supernatural beliefs.
Anger- disillusioned, victim types who are encouraged by the cult leader to blame family and society for everything wrong in their lives
These traits restrict a person’s ability to accept factual information that threatens the stature of their idol and his/her ideology. Pathological fusion occurs with people who are blindly loyal and unable to discern right from wrong or reality vs. delusion. Trump followers have melded into the identity of MAGA. The red hat, hateful slogans, racist attitudes, and fake news are celebrated because they symbolize the persona of Trump.
The Emperor has no clothes. Any independent thinker knows a lie when they hear it. They can prioritize what is right above what might be seductive, but wrong. They can change their minds without fear or guilt. They can identify when they are being manipulated. When Trump says, disaster will come to the country without me, his base shivers in fear. Independent thinkers see this mind-game for the lie that it is.
When Trump announced he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and nothing would happen to him, we got a glimpse into the dark side of his character and ego. He targeted regions of the country where people felt the most forgotten, and he lied his way to victory. Despite his failures, his grandiose charisma has addicted his followers to him. Maybe the anecdote to the spell Trump has cast over his base is to suggest holding them responsible for the wreckage of his policies. Perhaps Trump’s supporters won’t break until imminent medical and financial hardships befall them as a result of loyalty to himself and the 1%.