National Commentary

Trumpian Cult Sociopathy

Events of the last few days have exposed more than ever before the Trump Movement’s total disdain for democracy, that is disdain for the rights and franchise of each and every individual American.

For all the abuses and corruption exhibited in the last five years — in the campaign of 2016 and the four years in office of Trump — none have matched the content of Trump’s extortion and 62 minute brow beating of the Republican Georgia Secretary of State Sunday insisting he break the law and find over 11,000 votes.

None have matched the subsequent relentless attacks of Trump and his minions on his own loyalists because they stopped short of breaking the law and forever soiling their own characters, not the least of whom has been Vice President Pence himself.

There has been so much criminality ranging from verbal assaults and coercion, on the one hand, and violation of federal and state statutes regarding extortion and threats, on the other, that prosecutors are going to have a field day hauling off Trump himself and everyone who was willing to be sucked into this last-ditch very unsavory effort to throw out the results of the November presidential election and install Trump for another term in office.

It has been a jaw-dropping experience, even when one thought that it couldn’t get worse than what we’ve already seen from Trump. That 62 minute phone call on Sunday should win an Emmy for its drama, as it showed a titanic encounter between forces of good and evil, between a Secretary of State and his attorney refusing to bend to Trump’s relentless pressuring and threats.

As Mary Trump, Trump’s niece, a mental health professional, outlined in her remarkable book, “Too Much is Never Enough,” Trump is clinically insane, and not in a kooky way, but in a cruel way. She characterized him as “a high-functioning sociopath” with symptoms that include “a lack of empathy, a facility for lying, an indifference to right and wrong, abusive behavior and a lack of interest in the rights of others,” something she felt had been handed down from his pro-Nazi slumlord father to Trump.

According to the psychiatric diagnosis texts, the most troubling feature of the sociopath (75 percent are males) is his inability to respond positively to treatment; that is, inability to change.

There is a reason that cult leaders of the brand allowed to proliferate in the 1970s and still a big problem tend to be sociopaths, and it is because they do not shy away from a callous use of psychological manipulation to deceive and exploit “followers.” Another area where the sociopath is operative is in abusive marriages, where cruel and manipulative psychological means are used to induce “codependency” in a spouse such that she will defend her abuser’s behavior.

What we all witnessed in Trump’s Sunday phone call was classic Mafia technique, using a position of power to cajole a person to bend to the will of the “boss,” even if that means breaking the law and placing oneself into jeopardy. There usually is little more than a cold pat on the back for such a person once they’ve agreed to self-destruct in such a way.

Such Trump methods are directly responsible for the senators and congressmen who were willing to throw their lives and reputations in the trash by backing a protest of the Electoral College results.

Political pundits see it as a cynical attempt by these lawmakers to align for a possible 2024 presidential run, but in reality the response has been more directly the result of fear.

The fear is enhanced through threats that, even though on his side politically, if they do not conform to his will, they will be considered worse than dirt, another typical Mafia and cult tactic.

So, in the pro-Trump rally held in D.C. Wednesday, Don Jr. railed mostly against “the people who did nothing to stop the steal” in his own party. “You are either a hero or a zero,” and if the latter, “We are coming for you,” he threatened.

“Now this is the GOP of Trump,” he touted. Will, then, the entire party wind up behind bars?

Nicholas Benton may be emailed at nfbenton@fcnp.com.