The Base Is the Problem

“We don’t have a Marjory Taylor Greene problem in America. We have a political extremism problem in America, around which Marjory Taylor Greene is a leading, antisemitic, batshit crazy member.” -Steve Schmidt, former GOP consultant

An armed American ISIS Trump supporter engaging in a terroristic act of intimidation in front of the Phoenix, AZ FBI field office (photo by KOLD News13)

I know, I know. Like me, so many of you thought we’d be done with Trump after he decidedly LOST the 2020 election and whipped up thousands of his supporters to try to overthrow the government.

Like me, you’re probably tired of the chaos. Tired of the drama. Tired of the nonstop misinformation and conspiracy theories being shit out constantly by “Trump world.” Tired of the nonstop media feeding frenzy. Tired of the violence and threats of violence.

Many in the GOP know this. They don’t care.

But if you’ve paid as close attention to the orange narcissist as I have over my entire life, you should’ve known the hope that America was done with him after January 6th was a pipe dream.

Many of us warned that if the man wasn’t indicted quickly for the umpteen crimes he’d committed, he’d keep criming. It’s hard to imagine anything worse than inciting a potential insurrection, but here we are — grappling with the possibility that the former president could have compromised national security by at best, leaving top secret and classified documents unprotected in the same resort where Chinese spies had been known to infiltrate (and where he’s left sensitive documents unprotected before) and at worst, could have sold secrets to one of his authoritarian buddies. The thought that MBS, Kim Jung Un or Putin may have obtained secrets about our NUCLEAR capabilities should be absolutely chilling to every American citizen.

Every horrible thing Trump does, there’s this hope among the majority of us who’ve rejected this monstrous sociopath and his bulldozer of a political cult long ago that perhaps his supporters will finally see how horrible he is and dump him. Think again. Polls show his support among the base went UP after the FBI executed a legal search warrant against him (I refuse to follow the media’s harmful histrionics and call it a “raid”). Apparently, to paraphrase the man himself, Trump could sell nuclear secrets to the Russians on Fifth Avenue and wouldn’t lose any supporters. The worse Trump gets, the more his cult clings to him.

Mind boggling.

It’s disheartening because this estimated 30–40 percent of the population lost in the cult have hijacked our political system with anger, grievance and violence. Our democracy is now at the same or greater danger as it was right before January 6th. The reaction of the Trumpy Republican base to a LEGALLY EXECUTED SEARCH WARRANT is so poisonous, dangerous and toxic, that I can’t even imagine what we might see when Trump is finally indicted.

And, as we’ve seen, some people are willing to die for Trump. Add them to the list of those who’ve died on the hill of defending a failed reality show star. The twice impeached, pussy-grabbing, Adderall-addicted, bloated, foul-mouthed racist homophobic anti-semitic misogynistic grifter was so revered by Ricky Walter Schiffer, who will forever be known as the “nail gun guy”, that he put his own safety at risk to…do what? Randomly kill FBI agents who had nothing to do with the search on Mar-a-Lago? For what purpose? This is where the mindset of what I consider to be The American ISIS is truly puzzling.

The American Osama bin Laden

We may poke fun at the Trump cult. We look on in puzzlement when they risk their own freedom and safety to go off half-cocked under some severely misguided attempt to gain status in the cult.

But it doesn’t help to separate them from us as if they’re some alien life form. These are our family members. Our friends. Our co-workers. Ricky Walter Schiffer probably has family members who are as mortified over what he did as I would be if one of my Trump-worshipping family members tried to kill FBI agents because of their mango Mussolini. Sadly, I could see my own family members posting threats like Adam Bies did in Pennsylvania, just as I wondered after January 6th if any of them attended “Stop the Steal.”

PA resident Adam Bies surrounded by his threatening social media posts. Photo Credit: FBI/USDOJ

The base is the reason even Republicans who loathe Trump and acknowledge what a crook, sociopath, and an immoral garbage person he is will defend him to the literal death (though it won’t be THEIR death; it will be the death of say, the FBI agents he doxxes. Or maybe one of their family members (cult sheep on Truth Social have even threatened the SCHOOL of one of their children).

Why? Many reasons. There is one important fact to keep in mind whenever you ponder why the GOP has become a cult of personality. REPUBLICANS CAN NO LONGER WIN FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS. On nearly every issue — gun control, Roe v. Wade, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, social security, Medicare, Obamacare, climate change — the GOP is on the wrong side of the majority. They put party over country. They don’t want to lose their primaries. Or they like the money Trump brings in. Perhaps they also like his criminality.

How does a party keep power in a democracy, when they no longer represent a majority of the people? You either have to subvert democracy and turn it into authoritarianism, or subvert and steal the vote. Republicans now seek to do both.

For years, the GOP has engaged in voter suppression, gerrymandering on the state level and now we see that in 2020, they attempted to steal electoral votes with a slate of fake electors. This week, the Washington Post reported on the attempted rigging of voting machines by Trump “lawyer” Sidney Powell, with the collusion of various red state election officials.

If you’re not willing to commit crimes to steal an election yourself and if you know there’s no election fraud by which to justifiably steal an election (as I’m sure many Republican congresspeople know) why not exploit those who are and those who do? And that’s exactly why the GOP is rolling around in the Trump mud. It’s why they’re going along with Trump’s attempts to de-legitimize law enforcement. It’s why they’re calling to defund the FBI and why they’re demanding that the Mar-a-Lago affadavit be released — they’re actually going along with Trump’s heinous attempts to get the parties who approved of and implemented the search warrant KILLED.

Trust the Germans. They know a Nazi when they see one. Stern magazine cover from August 2017-right after the Charlottesville neo-Nazi riots in which 3 people were killed.

What happened to our fellow citizens to radicalize them? Honestly, Trumpworld and the GOP and the right-wing media use the exact same tactics used by international terrorist organizations like ISIS and Al Qaeda. In order to understand what seems to us unfathomable, we have to look at the messages coming out of the right-wing bubble these Trump supporters have trapped themselves in.

My family members who are entrenched in the QAnon bullshit, who worship Trump like he’s Jesus, didn’t join the cult out of nowhere. They’ve all been brainwashed by DECADES of right-wing propaganda. Years and years of listening only to Rush Limbaugh; watching ONLY Fox News and now probably Newsmax and OAN, and lord knows what kind of kookoo websites or Facebook pages have indoctrinated them to believe one truly dangerous thing — THE OTHER SIDE IS EVIL. They’ve been primed by Tucker Carlson spewing bullshit about “replacement theory” on his show hundreds of times that Democrats are a bigger threat than the guy who cozied up to Putin, Kim Jung Un and MBS, and is now being investigated for possible violations of the Espionage Act by defying a subpoena requiring him to return top secret and classified documents that SOMEHOW ended up in Mar-a-Lago (some that should not have even been removed from a SCIF).

“Nothing bonds a group more tightly than a common enemy that is perceived as a mortal threat.” — S. Novi, “Trumpers Refuse to See Who Trump Is and Who They Really Are

Democrats embrace all the people they have been trained to hate. The refugees allegedly entering our country in “migrant caravans” from the southern border, about to invade our homes. We want rights for people of color, whom they think commit all the crimes (as you can see from the proliferation of racist right wing bots on YouTube news clips) and who have somehow “stolen” something from the white race by the Civil Rights Act, affirmative action, etc. (thus the sowing of fear about “critical race theory,” a concept they don’t even understand but through dog whistle programming of their racist fears they know is BAD).

We defend drag queens, who are allegedly “corrupting” and “grooming” our children. We stand up for trans people, who “cheat” in sports and lurk in bathrooms waiting to molest our sons and daughters. We march with BLM, whom they’ve been taught is a Marxist (though hardly any of them can define what that is) terrorist organization that’s killed multiple people (because the GOP and Fox News et al aren’t above lying to keep their base hyped up, hateful and angry).

Draq queens are the latest in a rotating cavalcade of perceived right wing enemies. Yes, DRAG QUEENS. Insane.

Then there are the truly fringe wingnuts spewing the truly delusional shit. The Q “predictions” that never come true. Jewish space lasers. Pizzagate. Depopulation. Bill Gates controlling people through vaccines. Etc. Most of us are familiar with the craziest of the crazy conspiracy theories, because we’ve heard our family members, co-workers, etc. regurgitate this nonsense over and over again.

This is the bullshit the right wing bubble diarrhea pumpers have spewed for decades, to create an army of angry, aggrieved, violent brownshirts. It’s no coincidence that red states are loosening gun laws in coordination with the nonstop misinformation and propaganda being spewed. All the better to arm American ISIS to intimidate their critics and opponents. The danger is inescapable, as employees at the FBI Office in Phoenix saw the other day when armed Trump supporters “protested” in front of their building.

Voltaire’s quote that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities” was never more true in the U.S. than it is today.

How can these Republican congresspeople and media outlets plausibly state they didn’t INTEND for their words to incite violence, when we’ve seen umpteen prior examples of their words inciting violence? Clearly, Republicans are okay with the possibility that judges, FBI officials and other law enforcement officials could die, proving that “blue lives matter” is a lie. Or they would have toned down the inciting, inflammatory rhetoric after January 6th. Instead, it’s gotten worse. They don’t even care if their own supporters die. We saw that during covid, as they promoted anti-vax and anti-mask policies and protests.

Formerly moderate Republicans like Stefanik are now all-in on the stochastic terrorist lies

I believe there are two types of true Trump believers. The “poorly educated” he said he loves, some of whom truly were just born stupid, and those who are willfully ignorant. The educated types either support Trump for selfish reasons — they love those tax cuts — or prefer to live in a delusional world where daddy Trump will save them from the Blacks, Muslims, bad hombres, trans people etc…anyone they hate because they don’t look, think or act like them.

I believe we either need to try to get them out of the cult, or we need to counter their votes and their actions with protests and votes of our own. I’m not denying that it’s VERY hard to convert true believers. This is why the right co-opts evangelicals. If you believe in all the bible fairy tales like talking snakes and a woman turning into a pillar of salt, you’ll pretty much believe anything. You already have a tendency to believe shit without evidence (that is what will go on my headstone when I die. “STOP BELIEVING SHIT WITHOUT EVIDENCE.”) Jewish space lasers, the deep state, JFK is alive…all the wacky conspiracy shit seems plausible to these people.

The funny thing about their populism and their willingness to buy into the “deep state” conspiracies, is that Trump is the furthest thing from a populist hero. He is one of the elites. He’s not only one of the people exploiting them; he’s sold them out multiple times to millionaires and billionaires who are ripping them off and destroying their ability to get a good education or maintain their health. From obstructing any attempts to deal with climate change, to de-regulating industries that pollute their air and water, to the attempt to dismantle all agencies that regulate business.

Also, the GOP platform now promotes not just a deterioration of the social safety net that many red state Republicans rely on, but the actual DESTRUCTION of it.

It’s no coincidence Trump supporters live in areas of the country that rank lowest in education and health. No coincidence that Trump supporters have died of covid at a much higher rate than Biden supporters. They’ve turned against the very party that could save them.

In a recent interview, one of the last remaining Republicans who hasn’t sold out democracy for his party, Adam Kinzinger was asked about a letter he received from certain family members expressing their disappointment in him. They equated his betrayal of Trump as a betrayal of God. I’m sure many of us have heard similar comparisons being made by our so-called Christian relatives. Kinzinger pointed out the evangelical connection and the fact that many Republicans are being led down a dark path by their pastors and church leaders. I personally believe these pastors are grifting as much as Trump is. Some of them want big personal tax cuts because they’ve enriched themselves off religious exploitation. Others are engaging in hateful rhetoric that’s as dangerous as that of any al Qaeda cleric and are intentionally trying to incite terrorist acts.

Those of us who live in big cities don’t realize the expansive role the church plays in many parts of the American south. In rural areas, it’s often the case that the only other place people go besides home and work is the church. The church fuels the political tribalism that has resulted in the base associating their political affiliation with their identity to such an extent that any insult against their party is seen as a personal affront.

It’s bizarre to think our family members will take the word of an obvious traitor, grifter, etc, or church leaders and politicians with quite obvious ulterior motives over their own family member, but this is where we’re at. And I know Kinzinger and I are not alone in experiencing that. I doubt there’s a citizen of this country who hasn’t dealt with the irrational hostility of family member, friend, significant other, neighbor etc.

So how do we rescue our loved ones from the cult? Turn the populism against Trump. They don’t like the “deep state”? They don’t like the elites? We have to point out to him that Trump IS the “elite.” He is a billionaire exploiting them.

This is where it helps for us to stay as informed as possible, so we can educate them. If they like conspiracies so much, well, we can point out some REAL conspiracies. Such as the nefarious, organized policial activities of Charles Koch, the Mercers, Betsy DaVoss, and Peter Thiel— all billionaires dumping tons of money into destroying democracy for their own selfish, wealth-preserving purposes.

The fact is, Trump and the Republicans have done absolutely NOTHING for them. They continually obstruct the Democrats’ attempt to help these people; for example, blocking the Democrats’ attempt to cap insulin costs. Our Trump supporting friends have so much grievance about how they’ve been financially screwed, but keep voting for people who are screwing them. If the media outlets that have been brainwashing them for decades won’t tell them that, well…somebody has to.

And don’t forget to point out their hypocrisy while you’re at it

The future of our democracy depends upon it. All narcissists need supply. Trump’s supporters, which now is basically the Republican base — are the supply. Cut off the supply, and the narcissist deflates.

For further reading:

TIME article: “‘It Makes Me Sick With Grief’: Trump’s Presidency Divided Families. What Happens to Them Now?

Atlantic article: Trump’s Presidency is Over. So Are Many Relationships.

Copyright 2022 S. Wade

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Actor, Fillmmaker, writer and sexy cat lady

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