The US President upped his efforts to sew tension, peddle conspiracies and dismantle democracy after losing the election to President Elect Joe Biden.
With 75 days left in the Highest office, the damage that he can do would be irreversible. Donald Trump, who was formally impeached in 2019, has been one of the most polarizing figures in United States history and has used much of his term to relentlessly attack America’s most valued institutions, none moreso than faith in US elections, despite defeating Hillary Clinton in 2016.
The proverbial elephant in the room that has held the Nation in a perpetual and ever-tightening grip for four years has not been openly discussed by Government officials, many who whisper about it in shadowy corners but are, themselves, serving within a swelling body of fear of- not just the President’s retaliation- but the ire of a fervently loyal base growing more radicalized by the day. It is this base that he directly appeals to when taking to his personal podium, Twitter, to attack his opposition- or any anyone with an unfavorable opinion of him- branding legitimate news agencies with the audacity to report facts as “Fake News” while exalting deeply biased, far right-wing blogs and conspiracy websites ran by his personal allies. Trump’s leverage and unnerving influence over his acolytes has resulted in bombs being sent to his critics in Senate, Congress and news agencies. Armed militias that have pledged loyalty to him responded to his now infamous tweets, urging followers to “Liberate Michigan,” “Liberate Wisconsin” and “Liberate Virginia”- states with Democrat Governors- showed up at Federal buildings armed with AK-47’s and AR-15’s after being asked to wear masks to curb the spread of Global pandemic. Trump’s allies praised them.
The latter event resulted in the attempted kidnapping of two of those Governors, Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) and Ralph Northam (D-VA). In Wisconsin, a young Trump loyalist travelled from a neighboring state, heavily armed, and killed 2 peaceful protesters and injured another. Trump defended the shooter and expressed no remorse for the loss of lives.
There is no question that Donald Trump dog-whistles his throngs of supporters, calling them into action and consequentially putting lives of Government Leaders and the general public in danger- the result has been bloodshed- or the threat of it.
“STAND BACK AND STAND BY” — Donald Trump to far right extremists and White Supremacist hate groups when asked by Journalist Chris Wallace if he would condemn white supremacist and militia groups.
The 2020 election that brought out the largest number of voters in US history saw Democratic challengers Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris eek to victory by an uncomfortably narrow margin. In spite of President Trump’s demonizing of minorities, his blatant racism and refusal to condemn white supremacists, his weaponizing of legislation to suppress the votes of minorities and hamstring the election himself in the days leading up to it by handicapping the US postal Service knowing Democrats were more likely to vote by mail (At the time, cases of coronavirus continued to spike and had killed over 240,000 Americans as Trump rebuffed advice from leading Doctors and Scientists.) and then urging his supporters to vote in person, even to vote twice- certain that they would listen- and they did.
In record numbers, Trump supporters gave him the most votes an incumbent President has ever received. In fact, at current, Trump received 71,085,649 votes to Joe Biden’s 75,350,028 votes — a difference of 4,264,379. In Georgia and Pennsylvania, he trails Biden by less than 1 percentage point. While this is enough to constitute a recount in the event of a challenge- and Trump has sued multiple states and administrators- it does not mean there was cheating, fraud, tampering or that the election was stolen from him and his supporters…
But that has been the narrative he has created, after officially losing the election after 4 days and nights of counting across the country, county by county… and ironically, in spite of his efforts to sabotage the process, it was the large swath of mail-in votes that clinched his fate. A fate he refuses to accept and has encouraged his devotees to challenge as well.
Even before the race was called, surprising no one, Donald Trump prematurely declared himself the victor, making the actual results of the election a far more stinging repudiation of him. His allies in the White House launched a middle-of-the-night email & text message campaign to alert his supporters that “Democrats are stealing the Election!” although he had not yet lost.
But, going back more than a year before Donald Trump’s term as President ended, he worked diligently to convince his base that, unless he was victorious in his re-election bid, that it was “rigged;” That if he did not win, it was because his self-declared enemies “Cheated.” He notified the world long before there was even a decided challenger that Democrats would silence the voices of his base and deny him a second term in office… “They want to destroy you,” he told them at one of his rallies in June, 2019.
And it is at these rallies, of which Trump has conducted non-stop throughout his term, despite the pandemic, that Trump has created a series of mythologies and lies which his enthusiasts accept as reality, despite being far departed from it. Posturing himself as something of a living martyr, claiming to have paid heavy consequences for his heroic defense of their safety and freedom, security, their rights and world views, he demands their unwavering commitment to granting him power so that they can be saved from a boogeyman he, himself, has created… called “They.”
They want to steal your votes.
They want to invade your suburbs.
They want to rob you of your rights.
They will destroy your country.
They hate America.
They… a catch-all he uses to raise the hair on the backs of their necks over the very concept that someone- some great nefarious force is after them, lurking in the darkness waiting to pounce, and it can only be restrained by Donald Trump.
Depending on the crowd and whatever is happening in the news that he is forced to address, “They” are the general concept of a radical left, or blacks, the poor, those in need of healthcare, non-Trumpists, the media, National intelligence Agencies, immigrants, LGBTQ people, activists… “They” are any person, group of people or thing that Trump lays a target upon and points at with a stiff finger. His supporters, listening from under a sea of Trump branded red hats, react, chanting in concert against his enemies. Lock Her Up. Send Them Back.
If anything has been made clear in an era where the eyes of the world have been locked for four long years on the spectacle of Trump and the rise of Trumpism, it is that he in vengeful and yet his vengeance is never carried out by his own hand. He has amassed tremendous influence, far too embedded in our society to ignore and it has twisted beyond political alignment into a full blown cult.
I said it. But so have leading experts of cults.
They are a cult, and likely, most don’t even realize it. Trump, in a masterclass of manipulation, has used their own fears, disenfranchisement, insecurities and prejudices against them, distorting those attributes into a sense of unbridled urgency and a blinding need for Donald Trump. Without him, many believe they will suffer as a result of what “They” will do. Only Trump can save them, and he has put on a cape.
Those he has paralyzed with an inconsolable terror of being oppressed, he has turned into a legion of oppressors who do his bidding; who carry out his will and compete for his attention and favor. They are so desperate to feel relevant in the greater scheme of things, impactful, important, that it gave rise to the new Mythology of QAnon… Now your Uncle in Topeka thinks that he is receiving coded messages from Trump and that the President is under assault by a cabal of Satan worshipers and Democrat pedophiles.
Totally normal stuff.
But another example of a quid pro quo relationship, in which they have to save Trump.. so that Trump can save them from the rest of us.
It is that stronghold that Trump has on so very many that has made what Twitter has dubbed “Cult45” a credible threat to America. It is the delusion, the absolute divorce from reality that Trump actively nurtures among his base that presents an unsettling scenario for an influencer to further radicalize his followers to act against innocent people in what they are convinced is an act of self defense, having been thrust into fight or flight mode, beholden to the notion they are facing imminent danger, fueled by his caustic lies and war cries from behind White House Walls.
He wants to send them into battle.
His lies are irrelevant to them, these individuals have had their discernment between fact and fiction weakened to the point of subservience. Donald Trump is solely responsible now for defining their truth, determining who to hate, who to attack, who is responsible for the agony he has told them to feel.
Twitter has now labeled over 65 of Donald Trump’s tweets as false, in dispute or misinformation in the four days of and since the election- this from a man who has spent the entirety of his Presidency branding the entire body of news journalists and world media as “Fake.” However, he has created a terrain in which such fact-checking is no longer relevant to the messages his followers consume. To them, it is just another example of their “Favorite President” being censored, prevented by communist elitists from delivering holy grail truths.
Formally transitioning Trump from office as if this is a traditional, everyday election is not good enough now. He is deliberately agitating his base, funneling them more lies and propaganda from radicalist websites like Breitbart that only serve to pour gasoline on the fires of unrest. He has unleashed a frenzy of anxiety inducing, mentally triggering messages to those he knows that he holds power over. Those he has groomed into submission. Not only is he maneuvering to undermine the entire election and our sacred democracy, he is creating a cavalry of people who wholly believe themselves victims, emboldening their darkest impulses, intensifying their dread of his manufactured boogeyman.
Trump has refused to accept that his loss could be the result of his wrecking ball to the rights of others, to the environment, to National Security, to our healthcare, to our public safety, to our democracy, our credibility, to our human decency… and just 4 million more people rejected it than embraced it. This is not lost on those sitting in the highest positions of power in the US government who are genuinely afraid of criticizing or condemning Donald Trump and some believe that they are better off harnessing the power of his chariot pulling base, leveraging it to secure their own power than acknowledging the threat it has become to the rest of us or rejecting it altogether.
The inaction of our leaders still intact has allowed the Rise of Trump to slowly erode our own discernments — numbing us to shock, desensitizing us to the upside-down world he’s pulled us into where we have had to callous ourselves to things our former selves would have renounced collectively.
“A lot is going to happen over the next 75 days as Trump carries out vendettas, settled scores, and tries to position himself for his next act. He (Trump) is a totally unprincipled, unethical individual. I don’t think anything is beyond him, and that’s scary to say.” -Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan
As Trump takes the Presidential role hostage and pokes at his base with a sharp stick to further enrage them, moreso by the hour, the rest of us keep responding as if all of this is normal, if we respond at all. Some watch his twitter feed and refresh incessantly simply amused by what they’re observing, completely unaware of what he is achieving. We cannot allow ourselves, not for a moment, to believe that Trump’s election loss will suddenly debase him.
He has acquiesced an incredible power, and he will use it to further destabilize and accelerate the division of the entire country.
He has now demonstrated himself as a hostile actor sitting in the White House, weaponizing people against people…
…and we cannot let his continue this for another 75 days.