|As you know, I read Howard Adelman. He is NOT an ‘expert’ on anything. He seems to be an expert on just about everything. Smartest person I know. He writes a lot on Middle East politics – especially about Israel, Iran and that sort of thing. He does a lot with the Hebrew Bible and the Torah, too. And he occasionally dabbles in politics…..|
He wrote a much longer piece on Trump’s followers which I have distilled into THIS:
HOWARD: ‘Polling’ of Trumplican Believers has found that about 80 percent of the president’s voters are willing to believe that the election was rigged against him. They will believe anything he says even when the proven lies keep getting repeated, reinvented and the goal posts are changing daily. 71% of Republicans and 79% of Trump voters want Trump to run again. How does any of that make sense? It cannot be because of the lack of correct and official information. But, but, but….there ARE reasons why people believe lies.
First, you must have one key ingredient, an authority figure/spokesperson who holds high office/status/influence/celebrity. They become the latest new idol. Who better than a golden, fatted, celebrity with money, babes and unusual charisma to spark a faith-based movement?
Second, the believer has to be immune to irony and satire. They do not look beyond the image. Trumplican believers see and hear the first ‘believe-in-me’ message from their shiny, orange leader/idol claiming their holiness and then the followers take the second message – usually a total lie – not as false or ironic, but rather as a token of reinforcement for the leader – not as fact/information per se. Take it or leave it but do you believe in me? The lies about the Inauguration audience set the tone. The more outrageous the lie, the better. Why? Because the liar is selling the audience on him/her, their personality, their charisma, their ‘outrageousness’. “Believe in me or leave the tent!”
The third requirement: a plausible mechanism to blame on any resistance – in the case of the alleged elections theft – lost ballots and faulty voting machines. On a more general basis, the media, the FBI, the Libtards and the Dems. The more ‘enemies’ identified, the better to cement your followers. “What unites us is our anger and hatred of the others!”
There is a fourth important element to it all as well – the confidence/certainty/endless repetition of lies. It’s brainwashing, pure and simple. Lies stated with authority spread faster and stick harder. Even when proven false, it just becomes an issue of ‘keeping the faith’. Believe! Believe! Believe! It is no wonder Evangelicals flocked to Trump – he appeals to their faith-based follower instincts.
Of course, fifth, there is an underlying self-serving purpose for the grifter/con-man, whether for or on behalf of the Republican congressmen, Trump cronies, Guiliani/Flynn/et al and, naturally, with Trump himself who is reaping in a fortune by promulgating the lie which keeps on giving. They all have their selfish motives.
Sixth, we, the better-educated, are also at fault for dismissing such believers and we alienate them when we try to educate them. When we mix mockery with correcting the misinformation, we make it more difficult to be heard/believed especially when the lesser-informed are offered simpler, basic, alternative answers that are more easily and readily understood.
Seven, there is serendipity. Luck played a role in Trump winning 2016 (he did NOT win the popular vote) and in his losing in 2020. He rolled 7’s to get in (2016). Covid came up snake eyes for him in 2020.
Eight, again who else benefits from all the lies besides the primary liars? Who else is served who ‘goes with the flow’? Lawyers, newscasters, experts, intellectuals, mandarins, all live in a well-paid, rarefied world where expertise, where science, where knowledge, where skilled analysis, are all ‘news’ kings in the information age. They sell themselves into that world, too. They did OK even while the hoi polloi suffered. Trump boosted the NY Times, Washington Post’s and CNN’s revenues just to name a few. Carnage, chaos, mayhem, spectacle will do that for the careers of ‘experts’, talking heads and publishers as well as the crooks and the conmen.
Plus there is the division created by the con and the media to help drive the wedge between those worlds all that much deeper. The majority of people do not benefit from that more privileged world so the division has been there for a long time. The majority are not so privileged in the new information age. They were really just hoping for new and different. They are the marginalized, the rejected, the dejected and the deplorables. They are, thus, much more susceptible to the con/grifter when the con artist uses the media to connect with the wanna-be-believers whose faith in the ‘establishment’ is already mortally wounded.
Nine, and what if those elitist, privileged, self-identified defenders of truth are actively and obviously working against your new idol? When such an apparent battle/contradiction prevails, mutual and national trust/cooperation/unity is not easily recaptured but loyalty and faith are highly valued for ‘your team’. In the USA branding is perceived as a business having value. Trump himself has proved that.
Ten, there is premise called the principle of falsifiability. It states: that something can only be claimed to be true if there is a way of disproving it. 100% conviction is not truth. A conclusion following a skeptical examination could/might be. With the epistemological odds loaded against the defenders of the principle of falsification, the following assertions of fact, that can be (and are) easily falsified are simply ignored or drowned in a river of lies.
I doubt that I did Howard justice but there it is. Do I believe what he says? Yep. Mostly. If I have a problem with the article is that it is, essentially, a ‘hindsight’ opinion, a post-mortem almost. Do I really care what elements were engaged to create an Orange tyrant, a political Charlie Manson, a Bubba-oriented Jim Jones? Answer: not really. These celebrity ‘phenoms’ come along all the time. Most are harmless. Actors, rock stars…. Having said that, maybe if we understood the phenomena better, we could kill it off before it takes it’s second breath.