This article originally appeared on dailystar.co.uk
DONALD Trump supporters act like brainwashed members of a cult, an expert has sensationally claimed.
Retiring Republican Senator Bob Corker recently described the party as a “a cultish thing” – and his insight appeared to chime with many.
The word cult conjures the idea of a brainwashed sect defined by a common deviant goals – the most notorious of which are known by a single word – such as Manson, Jonestown or Scientology.
Dr. Janja Lalich, an expert on cults and extremist groups, argues “Trump” fits with this list.
“It is a very troubling time for America right now, and what is happening at a government level is bordering on fascism”, she explains exclusively to Daily Star Online.
“Donald Trump is typical for a cult leader as he shares many of their traits – he is narcissistic, egotistical, he glorifies himself all the times and he demands extreme loyalty from his staff and administration.
“He lies, embellishes, criticises and humiliates – not only the people around him, which helps keep them in line – but he also those we call ‘the other’.”
The California State University researcher cites examples of Trump using humiliation to control colleagues.
The President reportedly described Attorney General Jeff Sessions as “mentally retarded” and a “dumb Southerner.”
And in June he described Congresswoman Maxine Waters as “an extraordinarily low IQ person”.
The similarities to cults don’t end there: “He also holds these rallies which is the way he revs-up his followers which is something cult leaders do.
“These pump people up and keep them enthusing about his lies and extreme beliefs.”
And it’s not only at rallies that supporters are “indoctrinated” by brainwashing, she explains.
“Brainwashing is basically closing someone’s mind into an extreme belief in only the leader, and believing that salvation can only be reached by following this particular leader,” she added.
“The rightwing media completely supports and repeats the things that he says – he can do no wrong in their eyes.
“So they continue to express the lies and extreme beliefs.
“They praise him and portray him as the wonderful leader and that he has accomplished so much.
“So the rightwing media reinforces everything that he is doing.”
Dr Lalich believes current GOP supporters are different to those from other parties.
She said: “In most legitimate political parties there would be disagreements and debates – there would be people with varying points of view.”
“What cult leaders do is separate the cult from everything else which creates an ‘us versus them’ mentality and that’s exactly what Trump does”, explains the scholar.
When pressed to provide possible solutions to this perceived threat to the democratic process, she suggests: “The solutions are for the left to continue organising and protesting.
“Encourage people to register to vote. Voting is very low in our country, so if we can get more people registered and out voting and continue to challenge in the more established media to challenge him and dispel the rumours an the lies.
“That is what we need to do.”