How is it that people who were once apolitical or possibly even liberal have personally latched onto the Cult of Donald Trump?
Surely, there are good, decent people, perhaps conservatives, maybe even those with specific reasons to support Donald Trump: religion, anti-abortion, financial interests, distaste for a perceived ambivalent or self-interested system, the desire to tear things down and see if they can be put together in a better way, etc.
In 2018, in addition to the unprecedented midterm Democratic “blue wave,” the numbers show that support for Republicans was also at an all-time high. Who are these additional people? Do they really care about tax cuts, deregulation, abortion, gun rights, or any other political policies? Or is it more like all politics are personal for these people?
The sudden Donald Trump supporter may have been disinterested in politics for years or decades or may even have been fairly liberal, but somehow they latched onto the Cult. Some portion of the original Donald Trump supporter population jumped off the Trump train when it became obvious that he was not going to shake up the system in ways that might benefit the people. But others held on. They held on and they will not likely ever let go.
These are the personal tyrants: people who have been wronged in reality or in their imagination, or most likely some mix of both. Or they could just be jealous of the greener grass in the lives of others, and rather than building themselves up, they need to tear others down. Donald Trump represents little more than their personal need to punish their perceived attackers by proxy. Over time, they begin to believe in the very political policies that they once opposed — all for the blind love of Trump.
Donald Trump finds problems, some real, some imagined. But his solutions always make things worse in the classic problem-reaction-solution method. He is in the way of both our political and personal environments. Virtually nothing can be accomplished now. When Donald Trump is gone, all the things that frustrated us will still be around, even worse.
It doesn’t matter one bit to the sudden Donald Trump supporter that Trump is very much an establishment member of the plutocracy doing the bidding of the billionaires that will ultimately harm millions. It only matters that somebody needs to be punished and Donald Trump likes to punish people.
Like the soldier that goes off to a crusade of war to kill the enemy for God, the personal tyrant will destroy the people around him — and will be willing at times to sacrifice himself or the dearest people around him for the sake of the cause.
The desperate crush on Donald Trump appears to come on suddenly, but it was there waiting to be tickled out. Personal tyrants were always the ones who frustrated people by lashing out against others unfairly, starting fights at the party, moralizing their misguided views, pressuring others into triangulating dilemmas, stressing the relationships of decent people, and making everyone uncomfortable. Now they have found Donald Trump — partner in punishment — and the collateral damage is irrelevant.
These people are not going anywhere any time soon. The nation and our local relationships remain at risk. Another blue wave is needed. Only then can we even begin to restore the unsatisfying situation that preceded Donald Trump. Any work to resume progress seems so far away right now. We have to change that.