One of the biggest myths of the 2016 election has been that Donald Trump wants to be president - he doesn't. While it's true he wants to become president, that's entirely different from actually doing the job. To Trump, being president is just another material possession or challenge to feed his own ego. He wants to become president so he can say to himself, "I'm the most powerful person in the world."
He is the textbook definition of a narcissistic megalomaniac who truly believes that he can live by a different set of rules and is superior to others.
The truth is, his campaign has never been about anything more than Donald Trump's own arrogance.
What we're seeing here isn't a presidential candidate who's built a solid campaign that's drawn in millions of proud supporters who believe in the quality of his message and his vision for America. Trump has created a cult of mindless sheep who've been instructed to only believe what he says, who are more loyal to him than they are their own country.
His campaign isn't rational and his supporters sure as hell aren't reasonable.
We're watching a time in our country where it's apparently more acceptable to praise the president of Russia, a man who had rivals, journalists and critics murdered, than it is to say anything good about our own president. A time where a presidential candidate can stand on stage and declare that, if elected, he's going to use his power to jail his political opponents - and his followers cheer him for saying something that's completely unconstitutional. We're watching a "movement" where Trump can stand on a debate stage and call his opponent "the devil," and his supporters don't think that's the least bit insane.
I've never been a Republican, but I've never seen anything like this. I remember thinking back in 2012 that Mitt Romney was one of the most goofy, gaffe-prone presidential candidates I might ever see. Now he looks like a well-spoken Rhodes Scholar in comparison to what we're seeing from Trump.
Think about this for a moment: In 2012, Romney got hammered when he made his "binders full of women" comment during a debate. Yet in 2016, we just had a video come out where the current GOP presidential candidate admitted to sexually assaulting women, boasting about "grabbing them by the p–sy" – and the vast majority of his supporters couldn't care less.
Even when you look at Trump's "counter" to all of this, it makes absolutely no sense.
At the second debate, he made Bill Clinton's sexual past an issue - even though he's not the one running for president. At that point he and his campaign began to push this idea that these women mattered and their accusations against the former president shouldn't be ignored.
Trump's "logic" is that any woman accusing Bill Clinton of sexual assault should be believed and respected - while claiming that all the women accusing him of the very same thing are disgusting liars making everything up. That is, when he's not claiming that some of these women weren't attractive enough for him to have sexually assaulted.
You can't make this stuff up.
But now Trump's fully embraced the alt-right conspiracy theorist foundation on which he's built a large part of his campaign.
Everything is now a "conspiracy" against him:
- The debates – rigged.
- The video that was leaked – part of the media's conspiracy to help Clinton.
- The women accusing him of sexual harassment/assault – tools being used by pro-Clinton forces to derail his campaign.
- The polls – rigged to show Clinton winning.
- The election – rigged if Clinton wins.
- The GOP – working against him.
- The media – all bought and paid for by Hillary Clinton to help elect her.
- Economic numbers – all faked by President Obama.
- His support among women being abysmal – a lie told by the media, he's doing great with women.
- National security experts saying Russia is behind the hacking of the DNC and some voting databases – probably lies made up by the media and Trump doubts anything was hacked at all.
- No evidence of the "thousands and thousands" of Muslims he claims to have seen celebrating in New Jersey on 9/11 – the media has the evidence, but won't release the footage because of political correctness.
- The GOP primary – rigged… until he won, then it wasn't.
- Hillary Clinton's health – very poor, her doctors are apparently lying.
- The FBI – also working for Clinton, she should be in jail.
We're watching a presidential candidate who's essentially a mix of alt-right conspiracy sites like Breitbart, Drudge and InfoWars.
Donald Trump is a candidate who's going out and telling voters he and he alone can solve all their problems - which is basically the go-to line for every leader of any cult.
Here are a few signs of a cult:
- Submission: Complete, almost unquestioned trust in leadership.
- Persecution complex: Us against them mentality.
- Control: Manipulate members actions and thinking through repetitive indoctrination.
- Indoctrination: Teachings of the group are repeated and drilled into members.
- Salvation: The belief that what your hopes and dreams can only be accomplished by following this group.
- Cognitive dissonance: Avoidance of critical thinking, maintaining illogical or impossible beliefs, while denying any facts that contradict your beliefs.
- Sunning: Those who are not like us are the enemy.
All of that (plus racism, bigotry, fear-mongering, and more) is exactly what Trump has done throughout his campaign.
This is not a presidential campaign, this is the Cult of Donald Trump.
These are people who've turned their backs on their political party, their country, their faith and even their common decency (if they had any to begin with) to bow down and worship at the altar of Donald J. Trump.
I used to wonder how in the world Adolf Hitler was able to gain power, but I understand now. While I'm not comparing the two men (yes, Trump is bad, but there's only one Hitler), what we're seeing now is how authoritarian dictators rise to power - on the backs, hate and irrational fear of the ignorant and easily deceived.