It’s puzzling and not a little disheartening that absolutely no matter what Donald Trump does or says, the amount of support he gets from his base remains between staunchly and rabidly frothing at the mouth. Among his most dogmatic supporters are small business owners without educations, who see see in Donald Trump a personification of everything they are and what they want to be leading them to believe that, fundamentally, he believes as they do, completely independent of whether or not he actually does.
Whether it’s attending bizarre campaign style rallies months after the election, posting misspelled messages on social media, or spreading fact free propaganda from Trump’s “approved news media“, Trump’s supporters are the most energized base I’ve personally ever seen, exceeding even Obama’s ardent base. Whatever Trump says is gospel, even when it contradicts what he said literally the day before or even what he is doing while he’s saying it.
What drives this mindlessly irrational devotion to Trump doesn’t actually originate with him. Like all master confidence men, Donald has tapped into something very deep and very primal within the human psyche of his largely white, overtly nationalistic, working class, unconsciously bigoted, and generally unsophisticated supporters: fear. Like all emotions, fear clouds judgment, but fear, from its seat deep within the brain stem, has more power to simply turn off rational thought than any other human emotion.
What Trump’s core supporters fear most is “different“.
“Masses are always breeding grounds of psychic epidemics.”
A repeated theme among Trump’s most dogmatic supporters are the dual refrains of “we’re taking our country back” and “we’re making America great again“. Buried in both slogans are insidious assumptions that reveal the underlying psychology of his base. The first assumption is “our country” somehow belonged exclusively to “them“, as opposed to some “other“, and was taken away from them. The second being that the nation has been diminished, not by natural forces or increasing competition, but by the concerted efforts of those of the “other“.
In their minds, there is an existential threat looming, not on the horizon or some distant shore, but in the hearts and homes of their countrymen, undermining the wealth and prestige of the nation. Their fears are fed by both the rhetoric and identity politics of the radical Left, reinforced by overt violence of anarchistic malcontents and by the advance of political agendas they oppose, exacerbated by the conspicuous failure of the trusted political class to oppose those agendas.
Fear, not ideas and certainly not philosophy, is core to Trump’s support. Take away that fear, and Trump’s popularity would vanish overnight. How to go about this, however, is the real challenge. Donald Trump and a complicit pop-con pundit class reinforces this fear every single day with political propaganda and rhetoric, inspiring unquestioning support of Donald Trump to counter the fear. To Trump’s supporters, defending Trump serves to fight their fear.
If there is any chance to save America from this tyranny of prideful bluster and fear, we must cure this fear. The only cure for fear is hope.
Liberty is For The Win!