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Non-fiction

The Trump in Us (Pt. 2)

What in us makes us fans of a Trump?

Quite a lot has happened since the prequel to this piece. Some members of the Trump fanbase have gone on to prove how loyal, even if irrationally so, they are to Trump. I had previously written about Trump having a strongly conservative-Christian support base. But there are other categories of Trump fans; I will attempt to highlight a couple more and conclude this piece by attempting to tell why the existence of such a captivated fanbase for an interesting figure like Trump is even relevant to you and me at all.

In my amused observation of the debacle that the Trump administration became (right from the get-go, in my opinion) and has remained, I perceived that the man generally has a strong following among the not-so-educated, not-so-exposed and, consequently, fairly-easily-misinformed and fairly-easily-indoctrinated members of right-wing America. Heck, even in my country, Nigeria, there exists a Trump fanbase with similar attributes save for the label of “right-wing” – the political landscape in Nigeria lacks distinction or consistency of ideology; the consistent ideologies that exist are personal ambition and personal enrichment. I say “misinformed” – or, perhaps, I am the one under the illusion that I am rightly informed – because the hard-to-break faith of this particular fanbase in Trump is firmly rooted in theories and conspiracy theories that they happened upon and believed: that Trump is the defender of modern society against invasion by the LGBTQs; that Trump is the defender of modern American society against Satan-worshipping political and corporate elites; that Trump is an “outsider” to politics striving to drain “the swamp” of corrupt political elites, etc. These are the lot whose irrational beliefs you often see being exploited for comic purposes by American left-wing satirical TV shows. You trying, either out of genuine sympathy or out of irrepressible irritation, to point out to members of this crowd the rather obvious irrationality – again, perhaps, I am the one under the illusion that I am being rational – of their claims is often a futile course. These ones would go to war for Trump, online and on land (an example of these we saw on the 6th of January 2021).

My favourite Trump crowd however consists of those with not-a-few tell-tale signs of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). In Trump, I believe, they feel a kindred spirit: they tend to be, like Trump seems to be, largely self-absorbed and fixated on their own images. So, if you, like me, ever wonder why Trump – a seventy-four-year-old man who must have experienced some downs in life and business and outlasted them – is so obsessed with not ever being seen to be “the loser” (to the extent of persistently rejecting the validity of election results essentially because the results did not declare him the winner), well, it is not impossible that he suffers from NPD. He comes off – my perhaps naive opinion, of course – as being fixated on his own image: his grandness in other people’s eyes, his grandness in his own eyes. When he fights to win, he comes off – again, my perhaps naive opinion – as though he does so not quite for the love of his team or his country but for the love of himself, of his image. This may explain his continual exaggerations of his business, intellectual and political abilities: image! In Trump, I believe, a number of people without knowing it see quite a bit of themselves. These ones root for Trump the winner, Trump the achiever, Trump the “Make Us Great [Again]” champion.

The categories of Trump fans covered in this piece and its prequel are not exhaustive. There are probably a couple more, I figure: racists, white supremacists, etc. Also, not a few people argue that the Trump administration’s actual policies stand for actually strengthening America, its economy and its position on the world stage. However, I will not reach, in writing, beyond my present understanding of Trump or his administration’s policies or his crowd. I would however like to leave us with two questions for ourselves. For those of us who are fans of Trump, why, truly, are we fans of Trump? And for those of us who are not fans of the man, why, truly, are we not? I believe that the answers to these questions, if the questions are thought about with brutal honesty with oneself and if they are answered with brutal honesty with oneself, will reveal quite a bit to us about ourselves. Cheers to a hopefully healthily-self-aware Year 2021!

By Chetam

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