What a great quote from the article I’ve spent 4+ years trying to understand Trump supporters. I’m all done now (upworthy.com).
From the article:
Trump’s gist is this: “The government is broken. I’m an outsider, but clearly a powerful one because I have money and fame. I alone can fix what’s wrong. The problems are simple and are caused by [insert ‘other’ group—undocumented immigrants, Muslims, Democrats, long-time public servants, etc.] and the solutions are simple too [build the wall, ban them from the country, vote for me—I’ll drain the swamp]. Yay, America!”
No matter how ridiculous that all sounds to many of us, there’s a significant portion of the country who relish in such simplicity. We don’t want to have to think about complicated problems or work through unclear solutions. Making things black and white, removing all the gray area and nuance and complexity from the issues, feels refreshing to a lot of people. It doesn’t matter if it’s based on falsehoods instead of facts. Keeping problems simple and making it seem like solutions are cut and dry makes people feel safe.
The problem is, in order to reach that simple, safe world, you have to appeal to people’s prejudices and fears. People of every persuasion are easy prey for fear-mongering. Prejudices are common, fear is an easy instinct to manipulate, and Trump is shameless about combining the two. Scary caravans of immigrants. Scary Muslims coming in from scary Muslim countries. Scary gang members moving in next door. Scary poor people coming to live in your suburban neighborhood. Scary rioters. Scary ANTIFA.
Trump does the Big Lie thing, where if you say untrue things enough times and with enough conviction, people will believe you, even when what you say is verifiably false.
Misinformation is Trump’s engine and praise and flattery are Trump’s fuel. The more he gets, the more he pushes the simple messaging and fear-mongering that give people the brain chemical releases they crave. (If you think people don’t like having their fears triggered, there’s an entire horror movie industry that disagrees with you.) And the more he gives people what they want, the more they give him what he wants—big crowds and rabid fandom and heaps and heaps of adulation. And so the cycle goes on, with Trump seeing himself in the thousands of faces in the crowd, which serve as narcissistic mirrors in which he sees his power and glory.
Which he then turns around and claims is all for them. And they believe him because at this point, his reality is their reality and real reality doesn’t exist anymore.
And the really sad thing is, Trump’s “great leader” schitk works 70+ million people in our country.