This morning (3/29/20), as has become my habit, before looking at any other emails, I read Heather Cox Richardson’s most recent newsletter. I continue to be impressed by her ongoing wisdom and level-headed perception of current events.

In this particular issue, she wrote something that aroused my curiosity:

Key to Trump’s popularity has been a rhetorical strategy identified in 1951 by political philosopher Eric Hoffer in a book called The True Believer.

She then went on and compared some of Hoffer’s perspectives to the current POTUS. Since I had never heard of Eric Hoffer or his book, I decided to do some research.

Of course, the first place I looked was Amazon for a content description and to investigate cost (Kindle version $8.99; Free to Kindle Unlimited members; Hardcopy $169.14!). Unfortunately, the only write-up on Amazon was related to the author so I had to extend my search.

This led me to Google Play where I found a “free sample” and copied the following from the Preface.

All mass movements generate in their adherents a readiness to die and a proclivity for united action; all of them, irrespective of the doctrine they preach and the program they project, breed fanaticism, enthusiasm, fervent hope, hatred and intolerance; all of them are capable of releasing a powerful flow of activity in certain departments of life; all of them allegiance.

Many of us have wondered how and why so many people continue to cling to and defend Trump, no matter what he says or does. Heather put it all together when she wrote:

Trump has mastered this technique. He has kept his base firmly behind him by demonizing immigrants, the media, and, increasingly, Democrats, deflecting his own shortcomings in office by blaming these groups for undermining him.

She references Hoffer and further writes:

[S]o long as they are unified against an enemy, true believers will support their leader no matter how outrageous his behavior gets. Indeed, their loyalty will only get stronger as his behavior gets more and more extreme.

However, as many of us have noticed, cracks are beginning to appear. The coronavirus crisis is making it harder and harder for Trump to maintain his hold on his devoted followers.

Nevertheless, he will continue to play the game. No matter who it hurts because for him, it’s all about winning. Staying on top. And most of all, being idolized as the “only one” who can MAGA.

Yet, for all his bluster, there is one thing Trump cannot ignore. COVID-19 has loyalty to no one. Insults, threats, and blustering will not change its course. And as has been shown thus far, it is no respecter of persons.

Although the invincibility of Trump has astounded many of us on (too) many occasions, perhaps in this instance he has met his match. Only time– and the coronavirus–will tell.

Image courtesy of Mark Grayson Invincible Image Comics

32 thoughts on “Invincible?

  1. Well, have you ever considered the fact that Trump is followed and loved because he’s RIGHT in all he says and does, and YOU are NOT?! (No. I’ve never considered that either. But, it is something I’ve had said to me when critiquing Trump to some of his minions. Sad.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I may see if the local library has it. I have reservations about paying more than $5 for an eBook and, well, $170 for the hardback is a bit over my budget. But thanks for the recommendation. It does look interesting.


        • While you’re looking, I’ll email the local library. (I THINK they offer a drive-up service during the virus shutdown.) If they have it, we won’t have to worry about copyrights (although I doubt it would be a problem).

          I’ll let you know what I find out . And thanks for the offer!


        • The local library doesn’t have it but says they will buy it if I become a member. Since I rarely use the library, I prefer not to “join.” Therefore, if you find the soft version you mentioned, that would be great. Otherwise, I’ll see if I can locate an inexpensive paperback.


  2. Trump definitely has his followers not just entranced, but hypnotized. Note how his popularity is rising even as his ability to cope with this pandemic reveals his weakness. But Covid-19, Trump’s “wuflu,” is a long way off from peaking, and before it flattens the curve a whole helluva lot of Americans are going to die. Right now his followers are still thinking they are safe, protected by God and Trump, but that is soon going to change. They aren’t high on social distancing from some of the news clips I have seen.
    Not that I wish any disease on anyone, but what I wish has nothing to do with where a virus goes or who it infects. Like you said above, the virus has no loyalty to anyone. Some ever-Trumpers will see Trumps has no loyalty to them, either.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I paid about $6 for a good used copy. I’m a big Hoffer fan, and to add to Heather here, “ “Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all the unifying agents … Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a god, but never without a belief in a devil.”—Eric Hoffer, . The devil in this case was Christians unifying against the Mexican devils (immigrants)

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I thought you read Jim’s blog. He quotes Hoffer regularly. Anyway, hell yes!
    With all due respect to the far left and right, I see it as Eric Hoffer did.
    The True Believer was required reading in college (Argumentation I think) and I held on to the book for many years.
    Those cracks you mention are only visible to those untrue believers. The true (true) will go down with the ship. DT and his way is not new. It is just that too many of us… Well, let’s just say that Peter Popoff is selling miracle water on TV and people are buying it. WTF?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh I follow here and I thought her post this morning was excellent, as well.
    She did a good job of explaining trump’s hold on the cult…

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Who is invincible? Trump? COVID-19 is a real hazard for Trump administration, but he also enjoys the constant publicity the situation provides him with. As news, the Democratic party elections have been overrun by the current situation that is providing more and more visibility to the president. One day Trump is considering the isolation of New York and New Jersey the other day he is cancelling it. While the focus is on him, it is absent from his possible contestants.

    At least here in Finland our newsflow is totally full of the COVID-19 and not much about anything else. It is as if the wars in Syria and Jemen had suddenly stopped and no aftermath was even newsworthy. Naturally it is a bigger deal for us just now, when our economy has almost grinded to a halt and our capital has been isolated from the rest of the country. We Finns are very crisis aware nation (because we have a fairly unpredictable and immensely powerfull neighbour, who has tried to invade us a few times). We have several contingency plans for crisis like this and we have the universal healthcare system, not to mention social security system. Universal healthcare makes it sure all possible ill people are recognized and treated and the social security system takes care that people can afford to stay out of work if they are sick and if their jobs or businesses are ruined by this situation, they are cared for and their lives are not destroyed. Even so, or possibly even more so, I would expect we would get more of other news, and not just this one subject.

    I fear, that the mechanism of this one thing filling all the news sources runs even a greater risk to the world, other than the possible re-election of Trump. The mechanism of something being so much in the news makes it even bigger than it is. Much like populist fearmongering with immigrants and xenophobia having newsvalue makes the issue bigger in the public view, so does the constant newsflow about the COVID-19. Simple everyday people get scared and tired of the volume of the issue (exactly like some of my friends get tired of my long winded responses to blog posts), and when they do, they turn to simple “explanations” and “final solutions” avidly provided by all sorts of populists and other conspiracy theorists. Our western and more or less global culture is very voulnerable to this, because our politics are run by the values of the economy. An economy designed precisely to provide wealth for a small number of owners, by whose grace the rest of us live in their service.

    The current crisis has taught us, that the needs of the economy can be put aside for a moment, when a clear and present threat materializes into an actual problem, but it seems our economies are very slow to react to threats beforehand and that means our politics are equally clumsy about threats like the climate change. Politicians have a responsiblity to uphold not only the needs of the citizens, but at least as much the interrests of companies and their shareholders, who as usual are the least people to whom any crisis or problem concerns, because they are protected by their immense properties. This means, we as societies, only react when the situation has turned into a crisis, not to prevent the crisis. Some crisis are not as easily reversible and some get much worse, because nothing is being done to prevent them, even when they begin.

    I mean look at us. My small and fairly democratic country is now going on planning a purchase of a set of fighter planes, worth for more than the entire nation has ever before bought as a single purchase. A purchase that is meant for a situation, in wich we would be engaging in a desperate struggle for survival, and we have no guarantee, that any of these extremely expensive devices would be any good for our cause even in that most extreme of crisis to our society. For all we know from modern wars, these expensive things would propably not help us much. Iraq had modern fleet of jets and what good were they when a superpower invaded? How many battles did they engage in? Zero. Yet, somebody here in our administration as well as the shareholders of the companies manufacturing these weapons would be making a buck.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I grew up on the SF peninsula where everyone knew of Eric Hoffer. One of the things that keeps Trump afloat is his masterful use of code words and coded messages. He is completely a-religious but is fine with shilling for the Christian Right and using words that sound like messages tot hem. Since they are code words they directly elicit a serotonin response in the brains of his followers that keeps them attached to him.

    Liked by 6 people

  8. I wish it were true that “The coronavirus crisis is making it harder and harder for Trump to maintain his hold on his devoted followers,” but polls show that Trump’s approval rating is actually going up, not down. Obviously he has them believing that everything he says and does is for the good of the country, rather than self-serving Why they can’t see through his ‘act’ is beyond me.


    • My own brother keeps posting all this nonsense about how Trump was (always) right all along and it is a big conspiracy to get him. Utter nonsense. He is an educated professional.


      • I tell you, if people really ARE trying to “get” Trump, they’re doing a god-awful job of it! He sure doesn’t look “got” to me! The blithering idiot is still on TV EVERY effing day rambling his incoherent nonsense and making the incel idjits who worship and love him drool at the mouth like Pavlov’s puppies. Speaking of puppies, remind Trump supporters that he is, indeed, not an “alpha” male but a whining, mewling bitch, without a drop of testosterone in his system, and watch ’em get REALLY pissed at ya! (Not that I’ve EVER done such a thing myself.) 😀


  9. Saw two things from Heather on his tweets about his ratings..unbelievable.
    and the other where he said nurses were stealing masks and then selling them…

    This man has no low!

    Liked by 1 person

    • He’ll say whatever it takes to make sure he stays in the public eye. As several have said, the only reason he’s now doing news conferences is because he can’t do rallies and he NEEDS that attention. I’ve read that some of them last for over an hour … just like his rallies. If I didn’t dislike him so much, I’d pity him.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I had a thought that maybe the ratings are good for his press conferences because some people tune in to see the lies and absurdities and also to get a laugh at his monotone reading his speeches and mispronouncing of words…kinda like watching a freak show..

    Also Fauci does a thing with Trevor Noah often and he is the man , the expert to listen to. He is freed on Trevor’s interviews.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. When tRump comes out and says something as vile as his latest rant that nurses are stealing masks and selling them, hence the shortage, his base loves that. It’s the sort of “local yokel” conspiracy theory they can latch onto. The Ah Ha moment, where MAGA folks can nod their heads and turn to each other, “Yep, that’s exactly what I was thinking. Our man Trump! He’s on top of it. What a guy! Damn lib-tards.”

    tRump knows exactly what they, his base, want to hear, and he’s coached daily by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Trump’s BS conspiracies and his masses of faithful followers have not made+ America great again, it actually sends out the contrary message to the rest of the world that America is the most stupid country in the world. Unfortunately for the next generations of Americans and the current sensible and rational Americans they will have to weather many decades of this dark stain on their integrity and their country.

    Liked by 5 people

  13. Have you seen the Fox News report on the lighting of the Empire State Building? Not only did they get it wrong about the color of the lights and why it was flashing but they actually edited out the large white revolving light indicating an emergency signal. It’s unbelievable how Fox rewrite and misrepresents what’s really going on. I can’t wait for lawsuits against Fox endangering the lives of others to frame reality in favor of Trump’s delusions to follow after the next election.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I saw something on this earlier today. Are we surprised that Faux News would turn things around to ensure their most favorite ratings booster gets all the attention and/or credit in any and all events that take place, not only in the U.S., but all over this planet as well?


  14. One tweet I thought worth covering when it comes to Fox News:

    “Not looking forward to an election cycle where 200,000 deaths are covered less critically than 30,000 harmless emails.”

    Liked by 1 person

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