Trump The New Poor And The Unifying Power Of Hatred

The so-called pros of political strategy have been endlessly criticizing Trump’s Style of rhetoric and the disjoined, amateurishness and endless bickering of his campaign staff. Yet here on the second day of the Republican convention, the Donald is in a virtual dead heat with Secretary Clinton in the presidential polls. How can this be possible?

Mr. Trump is notorious for his lack of serious reading and curiosity, as it can be said of many BS salesmen. It has been reported that Trump derives most of his information from cable news programs (he sounds a lot like Fox and Friends) and rags such as the National Inquirer.

I sort of doubt that Mr. Trump has ever read the sociological American classic, The True Believer, written in 1951 by Eric Hoffer, winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Mr. Hoffer was not among the world’s elites; his primary “day job” was longshoreman.

And though he was a nonpartisan writer of humble background and means, his work on the psychology of the mass movements of religion and politics is unrivaled. As I say, I doubt that Mr. Trump has ever read the True Believer or any other such works by Mr. Hoffer. But, still, it is if the Donald has memorized parts of it word for word — for nefarious purposes.

Now Mr. Hoffer was himself not an evil person advocating hate and violence, but he was perhaps the most insightful writer ever when it comes to dissecting sociopathic techniques like those employed by Hitler and Stalin, master manipulators of the masses. But if Trump has, indeed, read The True Believer undoubtedly the parts he has most absorbed are those dealing with the “new Poor” and hatred as the most powerful of unifying agents.

Mr. Hoffer wrote of the “new poor:” “It is usually those whose poverty is relatively recent, the ‘new poor’ who throb with the ferment of frustration. The memory of better things is as fire in their veins. They are the disinherited and disposed who respond to every rising mass movement.” One way or the other Trump understands this and it is why he often speaks of his campaign as a movement, which must be music to the ears of his disenchanted followers.

Next Mr. Hoffer wrote of Hatred. “Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all unifying agents. It pulls and whirls the individual away from his own self, makes him oblivious of his weal and future, frees him of jalousies and self-seeking. He becomes an anonymous particle quivering with a craving to fuse and coalesce with his like into one flaming mass.” Thus it is the reason for Trump’s hateful rhetoric about Mexicans coming into this country as “killers and rapists” as an effective political ploy.

Anyone who really understands history and the psychology of vicious mass movements thoroughly comprehends what Trump is up to, and if they have any decency about them, they are terrified by Trump’s rampage through the American political scene.

They know that with the relatively fast collapse of the nation’s middle class, there are lots of resentful “new poor” circuiting about for a win-at-any-cost guy like Trump to try and suck into his deceitful web of personal power.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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