I watch one successful, college-educated, white friend after another rail against Trump on Facebook. I want to say something, but instead pity their earnestness…with a twinge of sarcasm. Not only are 99% of their friends exactly like them, the 1% who like Trump are way beyond conversion. The reason isn’t intellectual or even psychological. It’s spiritual. A vote for Trump is an act of faith.
His phantom businesses, bankruptcies and boorishness are no different than the deceits of Joseph Smith or L. Ron Hubbard. And the countless prophets and charismatic con men before them. But Trump isn’t just tapping into fear, anger and hate – like a modern day Mussolini. He’s offering absolution.
Imagine being in your 40’s or 50’s, having only a high school degree, piles of bills, and scarce job prospects. Now set that in a world spiraling wildly out of your comprehension. New technologies, terrorism, shifting morality. Life is a nonstop, disorienting barrage of everything. Everything except hope.
Then comes a billionaire with a TV show, late-model wife, and a jet!! A fucking jet! He says he knows how to fix everything. Hey, if he has celebrities kissing his tiny hands to work for him, how bad could his ideas be? Well….
Here’s where things get interesting. Trumpologists aren’t looking for better ideas. They’re not interested in policy details. They desperately need to hear one thing: that it’s not their fault their lives suck.
It’s China, Mexicans, Muslims, bad deals, etc. He’s the priest offering hail Marys to absolve them of accountability for their lives. Once he kills all the scapegoats, they will be great again. Like everything else he touches…
It’s the same as the mob boss believing the 60 year old virgin in the confessional will get him into heaven.
Incidentally, Bernie is doing the same thing. For his crowd, it’s bankers, millionaires and billionaires, and corporations, and healthcare providers… But it’s definitely not you.
We’re nearing the logical endgame of what I wrote about in Jan 2013 for LinkedIn. Unrig It Yourself was among my most popular and controversial pieces. It explains the rise of victim culture . With it comes a desperate need for validation and absolution. Accountability is a vicious bride.
PS – No need to worry about Trump or Bernie. They’re rudimentary prototypes. Somewhere out there is a refined, mass market version preparing for launch – informed and emboldened by these early betas.