September 27, 2022 Editor

Trump’s Messiah Scam Increases His Threat To America

September 23, 2022


image above: Pete Linforth from Pixabay

WN: The author of the article highlighted below consciously or not, is rightly drawing on Girardian theory to explain the mass psychosis of the Trump cult.


Donald Trump has built a cult around himself. This is dangerous to America and dangerous to democracy.

Cults of personality in governance are broadly incompatible with democracy. They usually erupt in dictatorships where the Great Leader’s face and sayings are splashed all over public places. Think Mao’s China, Stalin’s USSR, Hitler’s Germany, Kim’s North Korea.

On a smaller scale and in a different context, we see how destructive such personality cults can be with the deaths around Jim Jones’ Jonestown, David Koresh’s Branch Davidians, and Charles Manson’s Family.

This is what Donald Trump aspires to.

Followers of the Qanon cult and the Fox “News” cult appear to believe him. And, like those who followed the people mentioned above, it’s tearing apart families, devastating our politics, and causing deaths across the nation.

Trump is now openly encouraging his followers to think of him as divine or, at least, divinely inspired. And this isn’t a new pitch, it’s just getting a new round of attention.

Back in 2019, when Trump actually was president, Dana Milbank noted for The Washington Post:

“On Wednesday morning, he tweeted out with approval a conspiracy theorist’s claim that Israelis view Trump ‘like he’s the King of Israel’ and ‘the second coming of God’ (a theology Jews reject). He shared the conspiracy theorist’s puzzlement that American Jews don’t view him likewise.

“Hours later, he explained why he has taken a tough trade policy against China: ‘I am the chosen one.’”

Rational people know that messiahs don’t molest women and brag about it, don’t fleece people with a phony school who just want a college education, don’t encourage racial hatred, and don’t get crowds to try to overturn democracy and kill a policeman.

But Trump isn’t after the rational people. He’s a predator, and his prey are the psychologically and emotionally vulnerable, people crushed by 40 years of Reagan’s neoliberalism, now desperate for simple answers to complex problems.

We should have known when Trump said, in a Charles Manson moment, that he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and his followers would still support him.

Charismatic con men can make some people believe anything.

For example, nearly a third of all registered Republicans believe that top-level Democrats are running international child trafficking rings to torture and abuse kids before draining their blood.

Where did this modern-day variation on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion come from?

We have multiple Republican governors now using the power of law, enforced by armed police, courts, and prisons to force women to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, an emulation of Trump’s misogyny.

In an attempt to out-Donald his role model, Ron DeSantis is using Florida taxpayer’s money to fly Texas-based asylum-seekers to Martha’s Vineyard and elsewhere: it got him a standing ovation in Kansas this past weekend.

Half of the Republicans in Congress refuse to say if they’re vaccinated (although all probably are; outside of Gohmert, Greene, and Boebert these people are grifters, not idiots), thus modeling behavior that is destroying families and even today killing around 400 people a day in America.

Liz Cheney put down how Republicans in Congress refer to him as “Orange Jesus.”1

Meanwhile, a clearly delusional pillow salesman promotes a democracy-destroying conspiracy theory that the Senate of the State of Arizona has endorsed and thrown a pile of cash at, while Republican state officials in Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, Florida, Texas and Pennsylvania tried to emulate Arizona’s “audit.”

Meanwhile, a clearly delusional pillow salesman promotes a democracy-destroying conspiracy theory that the Senate of the State of Arizona has endorsed and thrown a pile of cash at, while Republican state officials in Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, Florida, Texas and Pennsylvania tried to emulate Arizona’s “audit.”

If it all seems insane, that’s because it is.

Back when Bush was president, Bernie ridiculed the idea of voting for him “because you’d like to have a beer with him” on my program. Vote for a politician’s policies, not his personality, Bernie said emphatically.

Even John McCain had the decency to correct a woman saying that Obama was a “secret Muslim.” While he appreciated political support, he was wary of cults around him or cults that were demonizing other politicians. He’d been in politics long enough to know it’s a two-edged sword.

So what do we do as a society when we’re confronted with a psychotic former leader who’s continuing to inflict and spread contagious forms of mental illness among our nation?  How do we handle it, and repair the damage?

Dr. Bandy X. Lee says, “The treatment is removal of exposure.”

Point out as often and as clearly as possible what a criminal, hustler, con artist and genuinely damaged person Trump is, and put him safely in prison.

Break the bond with his followers by crushing his aura of invincibility: indict and convict him of very ordinary crimes like public corruption, tax fraud, bank fraud, treason, theft, and rape.

If we fail to deal with Trump in this way and keep him in jail and out of the headlines for a good long time, it’ll be extremely difficult to rescue his followers who’ve fallen deeply into the Qanon/Trump rabbit hole. And in their induced psychotic state, the damage they could wreak in a country awash in 400 million guns is breathtaking.

Like so many infamous leaders in history, if Trump isn’t both stopped and imprisoned for at least another presidential election cycle (until 2028) he’ll simply attempt a comeback and further tear apart the psychological and political fabric of our nation. Hitler came out of prison stronger than when he went in: Trump would, too.

As Liz Cheney pointed out this Monday:

“Excuse by excuse, we’re putting Donald Trump above the law. We are rendering indefensible conduct normal, legal, and appropriate — as though he were a king.”

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  1. See: Trump the Orange Jesus.[]


Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.