This is how Trump won mindless loyalty from millions of Americans

The simple, surefire formula for sycophants

Published March 20, 2018 6:00AM (EDT)

FILE - In this Oct. 13, 2016 file photo, supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump cheer during a campaign rally in Cincinnati, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File) (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 13, 2016 file photo, supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump cheer during a campaign rally in Cincinnati, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File) (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

AlterNetMany Trump supporters are proud of their absolute faith in him. You see it in the way they beam proudly when they tell reporters that they’d support him no matter what he does. Now, that’s unconditional love!

We have mixed feelings about absolute faith and unconditional love. Sometimes we regard them as the highest virtues. Sometimes we think such commitment is pretty dangerous. Unconditional? Would you still love a partner who turned into an ax murderer?

On the receiving end, absolute faith and unconditional love are pretty handy. Gaining that kind of unconditional respect means you can do no wrong which frees you to do all the wrong you want.

So if you’re into that sort of thing, here’s all it takes to get it. And if you’re not into that sort of thing, here’s what to watch out for.

  1. Target people who can’t stand uncertainty: Go for the hungry, anxious, eager to believe, people who have had their fill of uncertainty and can’t stananymorere.
  2. Target people who don’t notice the downside of absolute faith: These are people who get all dewy eyed when thinking about faith, the kind who either ignore faiths that they would regard as wrong-headed or the kind who will tell you that wrong-headed faith is not really faith.
  3. Get their guard down: You’ll want people who see you as the answer to their prayers, people who want to align with you for a boost in their morale, status and prospects. Charm them. Listen to them and feed them whatever will satisfy them. The hungry are the easiest to eat.
  4. Make bold vague statements that they’ll think speak directly to them:Trump’s “Make America Great” is a great example. So is Obama’s “Yes we can.” Great how? Can what? Your targets can fill in whatever comes to mind. Likewise, you can court someone personally with a line like “Wow, I can really tell that you’ve got talent for understanding what’s really going on!” Bold, flattering, vague. Suckers line right up.
  5. Include them in your “winner’s circle” with talk about the idiots "out there": Nothing wins faith like disparaging others. You see it at rally’s where the speaker riles the audience by ridiculing everyone outside your circle. You can hear it in the way people flirt by confiding in you (yes you, because you’re wonderful!) by talking about what jerks their exes were.
  6. Speak as though you are the absolute final, neutral judge of reality:Don’t ever qualify what you say. It’s not your opinion, it’s truth. That will annoy careful thinkers but they’re not your targets. It will win gulliblethinkers, but only if they agree with you already. They’ll agree with you if you’re sufficiently vague (See 4).
  7. Dog whistle: Keep your pandering to your targets and your attacks on others under the radar, so you can always deny them if challenged.
  8. Make it easy to align with you, costly to break with you: Don’t ask your targets to make sacrifices. Once you’ve hooked them they’ll make all sorts of sacrifices.  Make all of their first encounters with you self-affirming fun for them and make the alternative, not aligning with you, seem like nothing but a hassle and nightmare.
  9. Appear invincible: Your targets want to believe you so make it easy for them. Prove right absolutely always (by your “authoritative” standards). Remember, there is absolutely nothing that can’t be mocked, attacked, or vilified. It’s easy. Just pick apart anything that ever suggests you’re wrong. If you have a setback in the game you’re playing, just act like you’re playing a different game, any game that would make the setback look like a winning move.
  10. Heads you win, tails you lose: Any good news affirms that you’re right. Any bad news affirms that you’re the victim of persecution. Be like a self-winding watch. Whatever way you’re shaken let it wind you up. The gullible will love that and want to align with it. You can get them to join your self-winding movement.
  11. Avenge tenfold: Be savage. Be relentless. Don’t let anyone ever get away with saying anything bad about you. Make sure that anyone who tries has at least 10 times more bad things said about them. Gaslight like crazy.
  12. Police morality as though you’re a crusader for reality: Above all you are always the morality police. If you hate immorality in others, the gullible will believe that you must be morally pure.

All purpose: What’s nice about these rules other than that they’re easy to follow is that it doesn’t matter at all what you know or think. Following them frees you from careful thought. That’s the beauty of it! You can apply these to win absolute faith and unconditional love from the gullible in support of anything. It doesn’t even matter whether you offer anything for them to have faith in, since your targets are the kind who have faith in faith. Remember, they think no longer having to keep an eye on things is a good thing, a relief from dreaded uncertainty.

By Jeremy Sherman

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