There were valid reasons back in 2015 that voters could have reasonably believed Trump was a movement worth considering as an alternative to standard GOP treachery. But that is a false choice times infinity by now.
Here are five ways you can know for sure that Trump 2016 isn’t a movement but a full-on, ‘sell your soul and leave the rest to us’ cult:
1. Movements encourage critical thinking. In fact, they thrive on it and are the result of it. But cults abandon critical thinking for group think.
The current trajectory of general election polling is that Trump will almost certainly lose to Hillary Clinton, who before Trump came along had the honor of being the most damaged and negatively viewed presidential candidates in our lifetimes. But who cares about truth and stuff when the mob gets together and grows stronger in malice by assaulting detractors. Just as Brother Lewandowski did (allegedly).
2. Movements leave room for contrarian thoughts and accountability, because they want to make sure they don’t lose sight of their mission or lose their integrity. But cults see contrarians as a disloyal threat to their existence once they start asking questions.
And what was that you were saying about integrity? Because who needs that when somebody else always started it, according to Trump. Everything is always “unfair” to Trump. He isn’t a tough guy. He’s a whiner. He’s a victim. And victims love cults — just ask Louis Farrakhan. It’s always somebody’s fault, and when they catch you on video with your knickers down, just flat-out lie. That’s also why Trump never has to apologize or repent for anything. Humility is never demanded of the cult leader.
3. Movements determine membership by loyalty to principles and ideas. Cults determine membership by loyalty to the founder of the cause.
There is no fact in the universe that Trump Cult can’t ignore past or scream over. For most worthy leaders, principles and ideas comprise their roadmap for navigating a complex world. They also serve as a check and balance on megalomania for those prone to always believing they are the smartest people in the room. By the way, have you heard that Trump’s No. 1 advisor is his own brain? That his secret to success is to “always be around unsuccessful people”? That he is the only person who can defeat ISIS? Or that conservatism to him is enshrining education and health care policy at the federal level?
4. Movements elevate your principles and values. Cults water down, redefine, or dumb them down in order to ensure conformity to the hive mind (group think).
There is almost no position or standard Trump has espoused at one time in the past that he has not reversed or lied about holding. One thing you have to give Trump some credit for: he figured out the political environment had moved beyond shame.
5. Movements leave room for the individual identities of members to be not only acknowledged, but their individual worth to be valued. But cults make individuality secondary at best, if they don’t abandon or annihilate it altogether.
Our constitutional republic is barely on life support after eight years of Obama Cult. So it’s hard to see how it could endure another narcissistic scam artist. However, power is speeding ahead without truth. Cults are replacing character. And just as it has been all along, it’s up to the voters to sternly reject such nonsense and turn the tide.
As Gandalf once said, “It’s time to breathe the free air again.” Either that, or watch all the oxygen get sucked out of the room and choke to death.
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