The first thing I read in the mornings is my Feedly app. It aggregates all the online articles from sites, big and small, that I trust. I came across one article encapsulated what I have observed about Trump and his enablers.
Dr. Roy Eidelson is a psychologist and the author of the new book POLITICAL MIND GAMES: How the 1% Manipulate Our Understanding of What’s Happening, What’s Right, and What’s Possible, wrote the must-read article “Authoritarians, Plutocrats, and the Fight for Racial Justice” that encapsulated the pathology of the Trump.
The second paragraph in his article hits the nail on the head as he dove more in-depth into the real purpose of Trump’s attack on NFL players.
Trump’s belligerent stance toward dissent provides context for the National Football League’s decision last week: players on the field will now be required to stand during the national anthem. In adopting this restrictive policy, billionaire owners of professional sports franchises have chosen to serve as Trump’s newest security guards, responsible for keeping all reminders of today’s racial injusticeand police brutality as far from the fifty-yard-line as possible. Not surprisingly, Trump was quick to publicly endorse the change: “You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there, maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”
Regrettably, Trump’s divisive language and outlandish policy prescriptions resonate well with the many Americans who give undue and uncritical support to those in positions of power. Excessive deference makes us surprisingly easy targets for manipulative appeals designed to stoke our fear, distrust, and contempt of others who are “different.” Indeed, a psychological mindset called right-wing authoritarianism, characterized by a strong tendency to condemn anyone who questions established authority, is more common than we might wish.
Dr. Roy Eidelson discusses Trump & his enablers
It is important to recognize that authoritarian leaders get nowhere without followers,” Eidelson said. “And there is an authoritarian style that you see in people who follow such leaders.”
Dr. Eidelson points out both in the interview and in his article the three identifying markers as identified by Psychologist Bob Altemeyer of the authoritarian followers.
The first is authoritarian submission, which involves strict obedience toward the designated leaders of a group. The second is authoritarian aggression, which takes the form of deep hostility toward those who appear to fall short of the group’s rigid standards. The third marker is conventionalism, which revolves around dutifully honoring and observing the group’s traditions and norms.
“Recent surveys indicate that roughly three-quarters of all authoritarian followers in the United States tend to lean Republican,” Eidelson said. “They were an important base of support for Trump. And they liked his message which was, essentially, ‘I am going to bring back law and order. I am going to make this country great. We are going to return to the traditions and values that had dissipated and diminished.’ And it didn't matter whether that was true or what his motivation was. People bought it. They voted for him. And that is what they want from him. And this is a substantial block of American voters.”
When asked if Trump had the intellect to have all these dominoes fall in line to give him the presidency implied that it was a combination of luck and his persona. Most importantly, he had the support of the Plutocracy as they saw him as an authoritarian who would enhance their wealth and power.
Dr. Eidelson ends his article explaining why groups like Black Lives Matter and protesting athletes are dealt with so harshly by authoritarians like Trump and Plutocrats. They need the status quo to assure their power.
Like every social movement, these efforts represent a threat to those who benefit most from the status quo. Atop that list, are Trump himself and other tremendously wealthy Americans who choose to exploit their political power in order to advance selfish interests at the expense of the greater good. For them, billionaire tax cuts are worth any price and outspoken celebrities, including professional athletes, are a serious annoyance. That’s because they turn the public’s attention away from the mass consumerism that one-percenters work hard to cultivate and also give voice to the mistreatment of millions who, in light of their circumstances, might otherwise never be heard. In short, authoritarians and plutocrats find common ground and shared-purpose in the ruthless betrayal of democratic principles and equal justice under the law.
Early in the interview, Dr. Eidelson pointed out that most of us have five core concerns.
- Vulnerability: Are we safe?
- Injustice: Are we being treated fairly.
- Trust: Who can we trust?
- Superiority: Are we good enough?
- Helplessness: Can we control what happens to us?
Eidelson made it clear that the one percenters, the Plutocracy used those core concerns to manipulate American disingenuously. He said it is within the power of Progressives to use these same concerns to get our message across and crush the current state of our politics. After all, it is us who really have the interest of all American, and not just a select few, at heart.