These are my takeaways from the Wikipedia article “Trumpism.”
Primarily, Trumpism is the political ideology of Donald Trump and its primary focus is acquiring and keeping power as President. He used a version of right-wing conservatism and national populism to gather a constituency to win the election as advised by Steve Bannon.
The followers of Trumpism are reacting to the global economy that has created growing social and economic inequality. They have been disenfranchised and blame it on the established elites who serve neoliberal economics and globalism. They want to be free of the perceived constraints placed on them by these elites and, as a result, oppose the established political establishment and they have lost confidence in the government and the media. They find affirmation of their grievances in right-wing media (who greatly profit from this unrest), conservatism and the religious right.
Trumpism is not traditional Republicanism. Abraham Lincoln Republicanism supported free trade, immigration, equality, checks and balances in federal government, and in the separation of church and state, while Trumpism rests on the three pillars of nationalism, religion and race. The once collegial, issue-driven party has become an aggressive partisanship that is okay with “the best strategy is to play hardball even if it means being unfair.” Trumpism is anti-allies and pro-autocrats.
Trump rallies have a rhetorical pattern that is common within authoritarian movements.
1. Elicit a sense of depression, humiliation, and victimhood.
2. Vividly identify an enemy causing the perceived problems, promote paranoid conspiracy theories to inflame emotions of fear and anger.
3. The final message is a cathartic release of crowd pent up energy and salvation is at hand because the powerful leader will deliver the nation back to glory.
The collective contagion unites the crowd into a near religious frenzy reducing members to barbaric, if not subhuman, levels of consciousness with mindless, lawless goals, reducing participants into an “us versus them” mentality. They are very receptive to fake and misleading statements presented as facts.
Trump is seen as autocratic, but he is actually plutocratic which is government by the wealthy. Typically and sadly, plutocrats are often incompetent. He has complete disregard for the current political system, and the support he received from the Republican Party is dangerous to democracy. His only concern is power and enriching himself.
Sadly, movements like Trumpism dupe their followers into perpetuating their misery and preparing them for further movement towards an illiberal form of government meaning sacrificing our democracy and governing for the people by the people. Giant tax cuts to the ultra wealthy, deregulation that compromises our environment and our safety and the destruction of labor unions only hurts the people that are supporting it.
Trumpism took advantage of the changing times. Instead of working for the common good, the upper class has taken control and convinced average people to vote against themselves.
Trumpian nationalism is not the answer to complex political, economic and social problems since this all happens in a global environment. We need to support a working government where compromise and balance create a system that works for all. We need to heal and leave Trumpism behind.