Former President Donald Trump exploited bigotry, economic frustrations, and nationalism to mobilize an unconditionally loyal base of supporters.
Though Trump told more than 30 thousand lies in his four years in the White House, it's commonplace to hear his supporters praise his honesty, presenting him as the only truthful person in Washington. Fawning supporters have labeled him as the biblical "good samaritan" and so-called journalists have berated veterans who dared issue one critique of Trump's regime.
An unignorable faction of Trump's supporters even subscribe to the QAnon conspiracy theory, which hinges on the idea that Trump was sent by God to expose a covert network of satanic, cannibal pedophiles secretly controlling the government.
Trump has used his supporters' devotion to erode their faith in American democracy, mobilize them to intimidate election officials, and rally them to stage a deadly failed insurrection against the United States Capitol.
Trump's allies still exploit this unconditional support, but now they're guilting the supporters instead, judging by a text from the National Republican Congressional Committee, calling donors "traitors" for not donating enough.
These NRCC fundraising texts are getting intense https://t.co/2Smm3NXCYy— Andrew Solender (@Andrew Solender) 1634183154.0
The text read:
"You're a traitor… You abandoned Trump. We were told you were a tried & true, lifelong patriot. But when Trump said he'd run for President if we took back the House from Nancy Pelosi … You did nothing. Was Trump wrong about you? This is your final chance to prove your loyalty or be branded a deserter. We're giving you one final chance to stand with Trump. You only have 17 minutes."
And it's likely not a coincidence that the NRCC gave recipients only 17 minutes. "Q" is the 17th letter of the alphabet, and Trump's die-hard supporters who believe in QAnon have been taught to look for signals secretly confirming the existence of the anonymous 8chun whistleblower "Q."
This, along with the faux disappointment designed to guilt supporters who want to be adored by Trump, led people to deem the base, and its leaders, a cult.
It's not a political party, it's a loyalty cult https://t.co/T3YTFd4Wxn— Anne Applebaum (@Anne Applebaum) 1634224395.0
"Prove your loyalty or be branded a deserter?" They're doubling down on the fascist cult tactics. https://t.co/fI6eqvo3B3— Eric Swalwell (@Eric Swalwell) 1634231510.0
They know they are killing their base and the @NRCC needs them to pony up before eating their ivermectin https://t.co/MPhLcYrDeR— Claude Taylor (@Claude Taylor) 1634232569.0
It’s a cult. Must be a cult, how else can you explain a political party acting in this way and it being acceptable… https://t.co/IsZI3mNtLr— Jill 🇺🇸🌊 (@Jill 🇺🇸🌊) 1634231120.0
MAGA is a cult of conspiracy theories. The more code you work into the propaganda the more they believe you and han… https://t.co/RThdgfCgdU— Nicole Minet (@Nicole Minet) 1634223134.0
I've seen so many documentaries on Netflix about this in the "cult" section! https://t.co/59uDOsykBP— It still goes over the nose (@It still goes over the nose) 1634228687.0
People sensed a downward slide further into authoritarianism.
Honestly, the fact that this is the message of the MAINSTREAM arm of one of the two major parties in this country t… https://t.co/G1l30UvcBE— Marcus Mauney (@Marcus Mauney) 1634231721.0
Let me repeat: these are tactics from authoritarian regimes. No major political parties in functioning democracies… https://t.co/UZ4hfm6nEW— Brian Klaas (@Brian Klaas) 1634227551.0