Now that Trump has been in office for almost a year, we have seen that his judgment and behavior is probably even worse than we anticipated, and it may be deteriorating. We are also seeing that probably 80+% of Republicans are trying to find way to justify his behavior, and protect him from the law. The heads of both houses of Congress act as if they see and hear nothing out of the ordinary. They have been taking advantage of the chaos to further benefit their very rich supporters, and they smirk at the thought that the government is being run in ways that might be detrimental to democracy.
It is time that those of us who are worried about America begin to treat Trump, his followers and all of the Republican Party, not as a political party but a cult. My definition of a cult is a group that blindly follows a leader, without question. The leader instructs them to disregard any outside information. The leader isolates them from rest of the world as much as possible by demonizing all who oppose him. The followers are true to his instructions, and they do so willingly. They are not coerced to do so. They find fellowship and feel safer under his guidance. The leader uses his power and position to advance himself both politically and financially. Most often, the leader also expects women to be subservient to men, and to feel that it their honor to be exploited.
I think the current Republicans fit this model, and they should be approached with that in mind. They are not open to many reasonable conversations. They often take very aggressive stances, and spew out the distortions that their leader has told them to believe. Any non-believer is seen as a threat. Any contradictory information is quickly rejected without examination.
Certainly, not all of the people who voted for Trump have joined the cult. Many of those who just could not vote for Hillary are beginning to feel that they had hoped that Trump could meet some Presidential standard. But those who are still devoted to him now must be approached in a manner that reflects their cult-like thinking. De-briefing techniques have to be developed. When a person is in it this deep it is very difficult for them to let go of their tightly held beliefs. They have to be made to feel that they will be safe if they let go, but their fear off new information is very deeply absorbed by now. Many are ready to drink the Cool-Aide.
For those of us who are hoping to bring America culture back to sanity, freedom and democracy for all, it is probably best to motivate those who were previously apathetic, and to focus on the 20% of Trump voters who may be disillusioned. We can still search for a de-briefing opening, but I don’t see one on the horizon yet. Even if Trump comes out draped in a Russian flag his followers would still say that it’s better than being a liberal. Perhaps when they lose their home in the next natural disaster, get sick from living near fracking, lose their healthcare coverage, or see their family members die from a gun shot or opioid addictions, then maybe….