One of America’s leading experts in cults and mind-control provides an eye-opening analysis of Trump and the indoctrination tactics he uses to build a fanatical devotion in his supporters.
Over the past two years, Trump’s behavior has become both more disturbing and yet increasingly familiar. He relies on phrases like, “fake news,” “build the wall,” and continues to spread the divisive mentality of us-vs.-them. He lies constantly, has no conscience, never admits when he is wrong, and projects all of his shortcomings on to others. He has become more authoritarian, more outrageous, and yet many of his followers remain blindly devoted. Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert and a major Trump supporter, calls him one of the most persuasive people living. His need to squash alternate information and his insistence of constant ego stroking are all characteristics of other famous leaders—cult leaders.
In The Cult of Trump, mind-control and licensed mental health expert Steven Hassan draws parallels between our current president and people like Jim Jones, David Koresh, Ron Hubbard and Sun Myung Moon, arguing that this presidency is in many ways like a destructive cult. He specifically details the ways in which people are influenced through an array of social psychology methods and how they become fiercely loyal and obedient. Hassan was a former “Moonie” himself, and he draws on his forty years of personal and professional experience studying hypnosis and destructive cults, working as a deprogrammer, and a strategic communications interventionist. He emphasizes why it’s crucial that we recognize ways to identify and protect ourselves and our loved ones.
The Cult of Trump is an accessible and in-depth analysis of the president, showing that under the right circumstances, even sane, rational, well-adjusted people can be persuaded to believe the most outrageous ideas. Hassan’s book is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the Trump phenomenon and looking for a way forward.
Brainwashing, not politics, explains Donald Trump's presidency, according to this overwrought jeremiad. Hassan (Combating Cult Mind Control), an anticult counselor who left Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church after being deprogrammed, argues that President Trump's base constitutes a cult that the president assisted by Fox News, the Christian right, the alt-right, and Russian agents manipulates with mind-control techniques. These include flattering audiences; fear-mongering against immigrants and reporters to create an us-vs.-them mentality, using "hypnotically repetitious" slogans and chants at rallies; distributing MAGA hats to "anchor" approved thoughts, disorienting people with false or nonsensical tweets, seeking to "delegitimize" government through policies and judicial appointments, and forcing underlings to eat junk food and dress alike. Recasting politics as psychopathology, Hassan offers tips on deprogramming Trump supporters and recommends that aspiring presidential candidates undergo "a full neuropsychiatric, forensic evaluation" before being certified to run. Hassan's concept of cultic mind control is so promiscuous "alternating praise and criticism is a common technique in cults" that virtually everything politicians normally do could qualify, and his caricature of brainwashed Trump voters doesn't engage with their substantive policy concerns. Readers hoping for an illuminating analysis of Trump's appeal will have to look elsewhere.