By Roland Watson
October 23, 2018

Talking with Trump supporters is a shocking experience. Their "leader" is a sociopath. He has a severe mental illness where he is literally incapable of caring about anyone else.

He is also so obviously a criminal - almost all sociopaths are criminals, and in so many different ways: Money laundering, tax and wire fraud, other types of business and financial fraud, sex crimes, conspiracy to subvert American elections, conspiracy with an enemy state, even outright treason. And then there is his day-to-day demeanor. To say that he is "un-presidential" misses the point. He is a thug! He spouts verbal diarrhea morning, noon and night. He attacks and insults everyone: his opponents, the physically and mentally challenged, victims of assault, even friends and allies. There are only two places where Trump legitimately belongs: prison, or a psychiatric ward.

How then can so many people back him, and not just with mild support but as full on zealots? A lot of explanations have been given. They are angry; he's angry too. He's for the "Christian" god and against abortion and gays. (He couldn't care about any of this.) He's for white people and against non-white people. (True.) He's for men and against women. (True.)

But even if you back him because you are an an evangelical true believer and hate people of color and women and gays, there is still the fact that he is clearly a criminal, and otherwise unfit. How do you keep your own mental equilibrium intact? You wouldn't support a serial killer or a pedophile (at least for President), so why is Trump the exception? Given the cumulative damage he has already done, he is absolutely in their league.

The answer is that the support for Trump is blind. His followers only watch propaganda outlets, starting with Fox. Otherwise, they ignore him, and all news about him. They avoid all sources of real information: other TV networks, major websites including the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, as well as publications around the world (e.g., the Guardian, Independent, Le Monde, Deutsche Welle, Jerusalem Post, Bangkok Post, South China Morning Post, Sydney Morning Herald, etc.).

The only way to disregard the hateful and reprehensible person that he so manifestly is, is to refuse to even think about it. Close you eyes, put your fingers in your ears, and shout La La La.

Still, is this as far as it goes, or is there something else more fundamental at work? Trump supporters in many cases are the ancestors of the people who lynched African-Americans. And they are the blood brothers of the Nazis. (Many are openly Neo-Nazi). I don't think denial alone is enough to get you this far from having a normal conscience.

The answer is that we have an astonishing predisposition to follow, and which can't be explained only by peer pressure's "sheeple" phenomenon. Also, while there may be some differences between us due to our specific genetic makeup, overall this holds for everyone. In fact, it is a legacy from when we were children, and our obedience - also blind - to our parents.

This is perhaps our core behavioral trait, and which for the most part is unrecognized. We talk about children breaking away from their parents when they reach puberty, but this doesn't really happen. We are their followers - their kids - for our entire lives.

Of course, it's also great to be a child - if you aren't abused. I remember falling asleep in the back of the car with my parents driving. I was warm and happy, oblivious with them in charge.

Trump and Hitler and others like them have realized this, that down deep we are in many ways still children. We want to be taken care of. We want someone to make it better. They then use this against us. They treat us like infants, and we lap it up.

The foremost way they do this is by creating and perpetuating fairy tales. Children love fairy tales.

The fairy tales of dictators though do not have a moral; nor are they benign. They include: "National supremacy and glory"; that we should believe in a supernatural being, and place, in the sky; that the existence of this fairy land, and its antithesis down below, will right the inherently unfair aspect of life whereby terrible people do well and good people suffer; and perhaps the biggest lie of all, that we can stop change and remain in the world as it is now, or even go back to the way it used to be. (The irony of this fairy tale, though, like our primitive conceptions of spirituality, is that this past never even existed - other than in our own delusional minds.)

The consequence of all of this is that individuals develop abnormal psychologies. They become irrational. Moreover, It is extremely difficult to escape irrational beliefs. Not only are these ideas regularly reinforced, such as by Fox, they are physically encoded into the brain. Neural circuits undergo a process called LTP - long-term potentiation - through which the synapses linking the different neurons for a thought are strengthened. The result is that you think it more often and with a stronger emotional connection. It is therefore no surprise that this is commonly referred to as "brainwashing." As the people who have escaped cults (and abuse) understand, it is a very difficult and long-term challenge. It takes years to rewire your brain.

This is why what the Trump Republicans have done is so despicable. America is a democracy, but they don't want democracy. The political system is dependent on the voters - it is government by the people after all. They have realized that if they can distort and deform the voters they can rule as dictators even though "democratic" elections are still held.

Fortunately, a lot of us have learned to leave childhood fairy tales behind, and do watch and read real news. Through this, we have learned to think critically. It is imperative that our block, which is still the majority of the American electorate, turns out to vote and defeats Trump's Army of Babies. Then, with him neutered, we can move on to the next stage of our national recovery: Robert Mueller's law enforcement and through which Trump and his co-conspirators must be removed from office and held to legal account.