Authoritarianism – The Ultimate Political Aphrodisiac

So… Here’s my very serious – GIF free – post (co-written by the other – ever brilliant, but not so frequent – Collision writer).

I have been asked why I’ve focused so much on Ted Cruz instead of Donald Trump as of late, here’s why:

I think most of us would like to believe that those who follow after Trump are merely misguided, but for many he appeals to the darker proclivities living within us, the part of us that craves control and power.

The authoritarian.

I’ve found that the vast majority of the men I’ve met who support Trump are authoritarians or, as one Twitter user noted, the embodiment of Dale Gribble (you can laugh, I did). Of course they don’t openly admit this, and many are in a state of delusion in regards to their own condition – yet they indeed mirror the characteristics of an authoritarian. They find themselves to be higher on the food chain, and feel rightfully placed in a position of power over those who are weaker. They don’t see the value in those beneath them, and have a black and white world view. While masked in self-righteous ego driven behavior, they project their own feelings of inadequacy and rage onto one individual or, in this particular case, a scapegoat group of individuals.

Donald Trump doesn’t represent an ideology to them; he’s not The Left, nor The Right, he represents uncompromising power in its most raw form. What we are seeing today is the same power driven ignorance that could drive a man to lift his hand and proclaim “Heil Hitler” to the world, and the same evasive god-complex that could make said man refuse any responsibility for his encouragement of the subsequent suffering. This group of like-minded individuals (and we all know them) will never waver in their resolve because they have no grasp on the dangerously unfamiliar threat of consequence, and have been programmed to evade responsibility.

They hide under the blanket of patriotism, but what they truly stand for is nothing of the sort.

They fail to see the faces of their victims, and almost always group them into one faceless category deserving of punishment. I’ve actually heard the following lines, or a variation, so often it almost makes me ill when I think of what the number might be:

“They’re just Muslims.”

“This is America, illegals don’t get due process. Due process is for Americans!”

“Can’t wait to kill some Muslims.”

“Send all the immigrants packing, every last one. Screw them. Even the kids.”

“If I wanted to hear your opinions, I would have gone into your kitchen and asked you for them” 

“We don’t need Muslims here!”

“Black people gave us Obama, they can go back to Africa!”

The most horrifying comment I’ve heard yet came from a protester who, at one of the recent protests filling the news, yelled, “You belong in Auschwitz.”

Bruised egos and poor circumstance often create the control sponge. Some are born that way (like those noted above), and others are merely the product of selfish desires and politically uneducated masses. The American Voter is like the Husband who thinks that everything he thinks is significant is insignificant to everyone else who matters. It’s the teenager who believes she has absolutely no control of the emotional pain she suffers – in her eyes – at the hand of others. Her inability to stop the pain makes her worthy of the pain. It’s the small town hero whose claim to fame is ‘small town hero’ – who revels in the glory days but always longs for something more and instead is a personal trainer in a small town. It’s the worker tired of working for ‘The Man’ who has just seen his take home pay decreased by another Government plan or program. Who feels he’s spinning his wheels slower and slower and slower…. Can’t spin much longer.

All of these people/voters – the under-appreciated, the battered psyche, the what-coulda-been, the slave driven – they all crave control. Control of their stature, their own pain, their perceived self-worth, their fruits for their labor…. Trump offers all of that to all of them, but in an unhealthy ‘get a psyche consult down here’ (ER) sort of a way. They can’t see the inevitable emotional (in Trump’s case literal) crash and burn that will ruin them if they embrace this glorious unique (they all feel unique until…) outlet for their anger. The meek husband lashes out and emotionally hurts those who love him but slight him. It feels bad but it’s CONTROL, darn it! Try telling the young lady she’s on a path to destruction when her purging, or her cutting, or her sudden lack of honor or respect has given her control of her pain for the first time in her life! The glory day jock can be somebody! Can be part of something big! He decided for himself to lead this cause. Let no one tell him – not again, anyway, – that he’s a has-been! Let the working two jobs wheel spinner take up a third job – the plow of control of his own path. He’s spent years plowing the same furrow. Anything, and especially if it comes with this unique power, is not only better, but GOOD!

Religious sects trap people in much the same way. Vultures of circumstance. Let no man convince them they’re going the wrong way down a one way street. They FINALLY have control. Their ears are tickled and their dander is up. It is, for the most part, a hopeless cause to attempt to convince them that the culmination of their disease is destruction. That, unlike life, there is no room for melancholic reminiscence at the point they realize they’re headed the wrong way. Ultimate power is not control of your enemies, it’s control of your own pain.

“… he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”

Self-inflicted pain is always ‘better’ than pain caused by others if it gives you a sense of control. Rubio appeals to those who understand their pain. Cruz appeals to those who like to tell people they’re wrong about their pain. And Trump is Jim Jones with a tanker full of orange kool-aid telling people his island is the pain free cool island.

The Trump Authoritarian will – more often than not – say “I haven’t voted in the last — elections, and finally I have someone to vote for!” This is not because of logical reasoning built on the needs of the whole or the future, but because the powerful figure they have elevated to god status plans to shift the power they crave. This is why someone like Donald Trump can make the argument that he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue, and the authoritarian isn’t concerned with the reasoning, they just know they want their finger on the trigger.

Those who question their stance are often railed against vehemently, attacked without logic – chastised for simply asking questions. Why? Because if you expose the ignorance of the authoritarian, you expose their weakness, and they can’t have that. The authoritarian thrives on the power they receive by being seen as a master of sorts to their friends, family, colleagues, etc… Anything that could damage such stature is attacked without thought. The attack is solely based on protecting their facade and has nothing to do with the person they’re attacking.

Remove the questioner, remove the threat; hence the encouragement from Donald Trump to attack the questioners. The authoritarians aren’t just power hungry, they’re easily conned.

There’s another subset to his following that I’ve begun to notice: The victim of the authoritarian.

Women and children who have been surrounded by the authoritarian – who usually go on to marry an authoritarian – are becoming easier to spot. They are made to believe they are not equal, but instead they’re in need of a leader who offers them power in exchange for blind submissiveness.

This group has invoked a new feeling in me in regards to the Trump phenomenon: Pity.

Sadly, I know far too many of these women. Like those with Stockholm syndrome; they defend the power hungry, because the power hungry individual is who has provided them with feelings of stability for most of their life – or all of their life. That’s why they will refuse to debate the reasoning behind their candidate of choice, they’ll simply run to the authoritarian who originally convinced them, as they do with everything. They need approval, they need the proverbial pat on the head. “I’m proud of you,” from the authoritarian is all that is required.

The point in all of this is to note that, sadly, Trump supporters are not individuals who can be earned over or reasoned with.

In the beginning? Sure.

However, after his blatant support of eminent domain abuse, the ACA mandate, committing war crimes, or his willingness to bully the military, keep Planned Parenthood funded, restrict free trade, grow the size of government, mass deport, and force the media to become his personal Pravda, it’s clear that anyone with a morsel of knowledge on the issues would have walked away. Anyone who would vote for a man who would incite violence at his rallies, encourage his followers to attack others with the promise of paid legal fees, etc., has a damaged moral framework if not an emotionally damaged mindset. So to the point: To follow Trump you must either be an authoritarian, the authoritarian’s doormat, the emotionally unstable, or suffering from simple ignorance. The wiggle room so many of us had hoped existed simply isn’t there at this point.

People worry that a brokered convention would be an act of betrayal against this “base” everyone speaks of, but the truth is that Donald’s voters, for the most part, aren’t budging from their anger. A brokered convention does, however, give us a chance at the presidency but, more importantly, it gives us a chance to maintain some dignity.

Let the hate commence:

1

I lied. One GIF.

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One thought on “Authoritarianism – The Ultimate Political Aphrodisiac

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  1. You totally nailed it. Recently I’ve been reading a lot about Trump’s personality disorders and about the demographics and traits of his supporters. Trump is a textbook authoritarian and he is also a needy narcissist with very low self-esteem. I recently read an editorial in New York Magazine, which is not quite the bastion of conservatism, but it was a great article nonetheless. They writer spoke with some psychologists who analyzed Trump’s personality and come to the conclusion that he is a extreme and classic case of a needy narcissist with very low self-esteem. The psychologists also spoke about the fact that needy narcissists with low self-esteem do not do well with the pressure of public speaking coupled with any critisism or anything less than undying love and support. And when the needy narcissist with low self-esteem is coupled with the pressures of public speaking they are prone to wild outbursts and lashing out at anyone and everyone that doesn’t bow to them and offer their undying unquestioned loyalty and support. It’s the low esteem coupled with the narcissism that causes this lashing out response mechanism to fly into overdrive.

    I have also read quite a few articles recently that attempted to identify the main thread and trait of Trump supporters. This is hard to do because while Trump is polling best with voters from specific demographics and among those with stated policy positions that align with Trump’s stated positions, such as rural voters, less educated voters, evangelical voters, and voters who haven’t voted regularly in recent Presidential elections, many of whom are registered Democrats or independents but self-identify as Republicans, voters that support mass deportation, support carpet bombing ISIS including their families, and support torture of terrorists, even against US law, Trump is also pulling a relatively high level of support across a wide range of demographics, as well from voters who when exit polled, have stated policy positions that actually conflict with many of Trump’s stated policies.

    In many of the state primaries to-date Trump has garnered pluralities of votes in a wide range of demographics beyond the big 3 mentioned above (rural, less educated, evangelical) and from many voters who have stated policy positions and beliefs that in many cases conflict with Trump’s stated positions. This includes voters who consider themselves very conservative, conservative, moderately conservative, voters against mass deportation, against universal healthcare, voters who support the complete defunding of planned parenthood, young voters, middle age voters, seniors, and in some states Trump has even received a plurality of votes from the college educated voter.

    Also, while Trump definitely does best with working class white men, in many states he has also done well with women, middle and high income voters, and even minorities (even though the N value of minority Republican voters has been very small, it is very perplexing that Trump received even a single vote from a Hispanic or black person).

    So my point is that while there are a few key demographics that Trump definitely draws the highest level of support from and a few signature Trump issues & policy positions that Trump supporters list as the most important issues they are voting on this election, that also align perfectly with Trump’s signature campaign promises & policies, a good percentage of Trump’s supporters come from a wide range of demographics and from voters who’s policy positions and political persuasions are all over the map and in many cases completely opposite of Trump’s stated positions.

    So the point of all of this is to say that I have been struggling to figure out the key unifying trait or traits that the majority of Trump supporters have in common, since it was obvious from all the exit polling that it isn’t as simple as demographics and/or issues & policy positions. Of course there will always be outliers, but Trump’s support across demographics, political persuasions, and policy positions is so broad and relative deep in so many segments that I have come to the conclusion that his appeal is not as simply as rural, uneducated, evangelicals who support building a wall, mass deportation, ending free trade, getting much tougher with terrorists, “Making America Win Again”, etc.

    I recently came across a number of editorials that hit on this issue of the “authoritarian”. The fact that in addition to being a needy narcissist with very low self-esteem, Donald Trump is also an authoritarian and that for the vast majority of his supporters THIS is the key unifying trait that most of them have in common. Authoritarians want authoritarian leaders. This blog article focuses on this same idea but added a lot of interesting and new insights that I hadn’t read before now. The most enlightening is the concept of the victim of the authoritarian. The wife or daughter of the authoritarian. Up until now I was having a hard time reconciling why so many women are supporting and voting for Trump. Women aren’t usually authoritarians, at least it’s not as common as it is in men. Sure some women are authoritarians themselves, but Trump’s polling with women has only been about 5% to 10% less than with men. I believe that in the primaries to date Trump has polled about 40% with men and about 32% with women.

    Are 32% of the women voting in GOP primaries authoritarians? I doubt it. But after reading the blog article, now I get it. Not all, but a good percentage of the women supporting Trump are probably victims of the authoritarian father or husband or both. It always comes back to daddy issues. Women who have spent years being raised by an authoritarian and/or married to one, want the same authoritarian trait in their leaders. So Donald Trump comes along and they are drawn to him.

    I also assume that there are many women Trump supporters who are married to an authoritarian and they may not like it and they may not like Trump, but they voted for him because their authoritarian husband bullied them into it and the more passive wives who simply aims keep their authoritarian husbands happy, simply voted for Trump to appease their husbands.

    Thank you for offering this additional insight on the Trump authoritarian and his supporters.

    Like

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