Although I have written on the psychology of the Trump cultist (see here, here, and here), a proper diagnosis is needed. Let’s take a look at how Trump cultists think and see how well it holds up under scrutiny.
The Trump cultist’s primary mode of argument is the threat, and they try to own the playing field by threatening opponents or bullying them into silence. That this is done over the internet makes it ridiculous on its face. These threats range from the specific to the general and from present to future. The language is fear, but this tactic often backfires because people refuse to be cowed. Given that the primary target of the Trump cult is conservative Christians, it’s downright funny that they expect this to work.
This threatening behavior takes several forms. Sometimes it is expressed in SHOUTING, sometimes In ReaLLy AnnOYing BeHAVior, other times in infodump or blog spamming. Sometimes it is by silly prognostications of doom. Regardless of the specific nature, the goal is to soak up all the oxygen in the area and extract submission. This is tied into their narcissism and bravado (see below).
A Trump cultist’s secondary mode of argument is to say one thing followed by its direct opposite. Thus, if they claim to be a Trump supporter, next they will claim to have no use for Trump. Of course this means that they have no credibility because their relationship with words is always changing. One moment they mean everything they type. The next moment, they’ll deny it even when quoted. It is a childish inconsistency that betrays a singular focus upon self-preservation and complete blindness to the effects of their own behavior.
Crystal Ball Usage
Another interesting part of the Trump cultist’s psychological makeup is the possession of a crystal ball. The cultist can see the future and will waste no time telling you so. Whether such prophecies comes to pass or not is irrelevant, because this is a slightly less aggressive way to cow people — they think they can extract submission if they boast about their superior knowledge. Their boasting here extends to the knowledge of future events, which two seconds of analysis reveals as a childish impossibility. All you must do is inquire how they have certain knowledge of future events. That leads down a typical trail of evasions, denials, assumptions, and eventually circles back to threats.
Another feature of Trump cultists is the reliance upon binary logic for everything, but especially regards Trump. In their mindset, you can only be for or against Trump. You cannot have critiques of his positions, agree with him on some things, but not on others, and you are not allowed to point out any flaws of the man. Everything gets boiled down to for/against, and all reasons are rendered void. This is a cult, and heretics and nonbelievers must be destroyed. That they are not able to do so fuels their rage, however, that is part of the point — perpetual childish anger. Of course other people will refuse to think like this. Of course people will refuse to bow down to their fallible god. So the inevitable reaction is refusal and their recourse is anger.
Denial of Morals/Absolutes/Ethics
One of the more humorous positions of the Trump cult is the denial of any system of morality or ethics. Morality or ethics are greeted with vituperation, because any other source of power besides the blind allegiance to political power is a threat. What they require of people is something no person should give to another mortal. At some level they know this, and so they have to reject every teaching outside of the cult in order to palliate their shame.
An oft-quoted reason why the cult member supports Trump is self-preservation for them and their own. Who this tribe is, usually remains vague, but for most it is people of white skin. The limited appeal of this is obvious. The failed thinking in this is obvious. It is a materialistic quicksand here, with all of the moral emptiness and mob mentality of Nazism or Communism. Anyone with life experience has experienced enough to know that race does not describe or bind behavior.
Bravado and Narcissism
The Trump cultist has a distorted perspective of strength. They think to be strong is to be loud, crude, obnoxious, and persistent. As a result, they are boastful (often to a ridiculous degree) and they never back down. In all this, they are living out a frat boy impression of strength, a barbarian’s concept of power. This power is relentlessly self-focused, despite their adoration for Trump; as Trump is a narcissist, so they are little narcissists. Like he, they are the best, smartest, strongest, and no-one is allowed to critique them. Thus they boast and threaten.
The last feature of the Trump cultist is one of practiced stupidity. I say practiced, because it is a kind of intellectual laziness, not a true lack of intelligence. The Trump cultist, because he or she is perpetually angry and anger prevents clear thinking, has no real ability to think coherently or for very long. So he or she overreacts, responds to headlines (not articles), misconstrues, and makes logical mistakes. Due to their bravado, they never admit fault or error, and so, they never learn.
The cult member is someone who is perpetually angry, has shame at the moral compromises he or she has made, probably sufferers from loneliness and/or depression, and as a result spends his or her days subsumed in cult-like fervor to feel important and alive. Pointing any of this or any other flaw or error generates volcanic responses due to their narcissism. They have the snowflake mentality on steroids.
Their anger paralyzes introspection and keeps them reactive, jumping every time Trump says “jump”. Their behavior mirrors Trump’s because without the cult leader, they would have no thoughts of their own and no life. Like the SS guards who were nothing in ordinary society, so the Trump cultist only has power or meaning as long as they are vicariously participating in the leader’s boasts and battles.
Thus as cultists, they demand submission, and do not make a case for the virtues of their position. Their bravado covers up an inability to communicate to any real degree. They can only be shamed or mocked, not debated, even at the most simple level. Thus it is impossible to treat them as equals. The best that anyone can do is to regard them as children, and pray for them.