312 Comments

Heather,

Your 4 PM (ET) talk today was fascinating. I was taken with your explanation of why it’s incredibly difficult for followers of a deceitful leader to disengage from that person, especially after joining them in marginalizing and being hateful and hurtful to other humans. If followers did break away, they would be wracked with guilt and regret.

I looked up Eric Hoffer, described as an American moral and social philosopher, and found this:

https://reasonandmeaning.com/2017/09/04/summary-of-eric-hoffers-the-true-believer/

“Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all the unifying agents … Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a god, but never without a belief in a devil.” ~ Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements

“Hoffer states that three personality types typically lead mass movements: “men of words”, “fanatics”, and “practical men of action.” Men of words try to “discredit the prevailing creeds” and create a “hunger for faith” which is then fed by “doctrines and slogans of the new faith.” (p. 140) Slowly followers emerge.

Then fanatics take over. Fanatics don’t find solace in literature, philosophy, or art. Instead, they are characterized by viciousness, the urge to destroy, and the perpetual struggle for power. But after mass movements transform the social order, the insecurity of their followers is not ameliorated. At this point, the “practical men of action” take over and try to lead the new order by further controlling their followers.

In the end mass movements that succeed often bring about a social order worse than the previous one. (This was one of Will Durant’s findings in The Lessons of History.) As Hoffer puts it near the end of his work: “All mass movements … irrespective of the doctrine they preach and the program they project, breed fanaticism, enthusiasm, fervent hope, hatred, and intolerance.” (p. 141)”

This connects to your explanation of today. Is this what we’ve been truly witnessing over the last years? Where does this “movement” go from here?

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Unlike continental European political systems, the American political system tends to be essentially binary; and with the Trump Republican Party essentially at war with itself, and 'delaminating', the long-term prospects for a mass party led by 'practical men of action' do not look particularly good for the long run. As Eric Hoffer described it, popular discontents were seized upon by 'men of words': writers, artists, about whom Hoffer regarded as dilettantes, cranks, fault-finders, charlatans and worse. At a certain point, the ruling elites are discredited; and as Hoffer tells it, the intellectuals who use their words to discredit those elites are easily pushed aside by those who seized power, typically with the assistance of the Armed Forces and police. That has been the pattern in South America, Central and in Southern and Eastern Europe during the 1920s and 1930s, the former Russian Empire in the seven years following the armistice of World War I, and elsewhere in East Asia and South Asia during those turbulent years.

In America, a different pattern arose, not of someone arising from the lower classes and claiming to be the representative of the dispossessed, such as an Adolf Hitler, a Josef Stalin, a Leon Trotsky, a Benito Mussolini or a Mao Tse-Tung, seizing on revolutionary rhetoric. The American dream was to become rich, and who better to feed the fantasies of those feeling themselves dispossessed, then the promises of someone like Donald Trump, forever pretending to be far richer than he actually was, but exceedingly astute and tapping into the grievances of those Americans who had not prospered in America's burgeoning economy, essentially since the administration of John F. Kennedy, some fifty years earlier. The whys and the wherefores are too lengthy to even summarize; but in a nutshell, in the seventy years following the end of World War II, the class system within America changed dramatically from a wealth- and property-holding class system, where inheritance and generational transfers of wealth became less important than the wealth that was created from information and technology. Under the pressures of the Cold War, scientific and technical information, through its development and exploitation, became an absolute priority, given the fact that both the United States of America and its chief antagonists, the Soviet Union, and the People's Republic of China all had nuclear weapons of sufficient magnitude and deployment capability to hold each other hostage.

The American response to its adversaries' advances in science and technology, specifically in the area of long-range delivery systems for nuclear weaponry, came as a shock, when in 1957, the Soviet Union was able to orbit a Communications Satellite, 'Sputnik I'. The American response was to energize it's system of higher education, on one hand creating crash programs for recruiting, educating, and deploying tens of millions of people now educated in the sciences and mathematics; and paying them well enough so that many of them who had been recruited and educated at public expense, were now able to market their skills and the technologies those skills represented, by going into business for themselves. In the San Francisco Bay area, and in the area of the Route 128 Beltway that defines the towns that surround Boston and Cambridge Massachusetts, these new startup companies became the new pillars on which the economic futures of those cities were to be sustained for decades to come. Not everyone would be up to starting a new technology business, but there were plenty of now-well educated men and women who would find good employment working in those companies.

These are not the people who were attracted to Donald Trump. Instead, Trump supporters tended to be those people who tended to be 'left behind', as economic success invariably went to others who are better educated, more dependable as employees, more interested in improving their skills, networking, and expanding their wealth, based upon the value that they brought to the new companies they were creating. Instead, the 'left behind's' tended to be poor whites who suddenly found themselves 'downwardly mobile', whose lives were plagued with job insecurities, food insecurities, health insecurities, these were the people who were described in such books as JD Vance's 'Hillbilly Elegy' and George Packer's 'the Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America'.

At the same time, international trade, propelled forward by all those wonderful new technologies that nullified time and distance, grew exponentially. The net effect was an enormous outflow of jobs from the United States and overseas to its trading partners around the world, where labor costs were minute fractions of what comparable wages would have to be paid if the jobs were kept in the United States. Concurrently, those jobs that remained were now typically worked by immigrant labor heading north from Latin America, driven north by horrific social and economic conditions in their former homelands.

Donald Trump, the narcissistic con-man and pseudo-magnate, came from a family that made their wealth putting up cheap, substandard apartment housing in New York City's inner suburbs, whose specialty was in milking Federal housing assistance programs. Trump is a showman, and above all, an opportunist, with a predator natural ability to sniff out weaknesses in public assistance programs; and he was willing to do anything that would pass his bottom line, regardless of its illegality or moral depravity.

For Trump, it was all about raking in as much money as he could. The men he recruited to assist him had long use their political connections through graft and grifting to steal as much as they could while they were holding office. But the American political system made corruption on the grand scale that Donald Trump was used to exploiting difficult to accomplish. Trump's control over these men was more the way of threatening to cut them off from whatever perquisites they had managed to garner for themselves; and so in fear of him were they, that the aqueous to anything he demanded. These men were essentially petty thieves whose sole access to wealth where the government jobs they held or their legislative salaries, or acting as hatchet men for their political donors. Most of what they did was to tear down the institutional restraints on their ability to steal money from the government. These men are not revolutionaries in any sense.

At the same time, Trump's supporters are unlike the supporters of Juan Peron in Argentina in the decade following World War II. Peron's government drew its support from the so-called 'shirtless ones', and urban, working-class proletariat that was sustained and supported by handouts from Peron's government. America's 'left behinds' are principally America's rural poor, those who have not benefited from our postwar boom in technology and trade. Trump gives them nothing in any material sense; but he does entertain them at his massive rallies. In other words, Trump's sole ability was to give voice to his supportive base, while doing nothing to alleviate their misery. His behavior during the coronavirus crisis is entirely emblematic of his essential lack of interest or caring for anyone but himself.

Consequently, the model created by Eric Hoffer in his examination of mass political movements in Germany and especially in the Soviet Union does not hold. If Donald Trump ever got to be a strong man, it might look like that regime of Francisco Franco, in Spain, or Antonio de Oliveira Salazar, in Portugal; but given Trump's obvious incompetencies, it is unlikely he would have survived for long. Trump thrives only in those situations where his opponents play by the rules, and he does not.

This is a mass movement that has no place to go because it's leader, Donald Trump, lives only in the moment and has no ability to use the governmental powers he holds in any purposeful way.

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^^^"This is a mass movement that has no place to go because it's leader, Donald Trump, lives only in the moment and has no ability to use the governmental powers he holds in any purposeful way."^^^

With all due respect:

Donald Trump was the catalyst that brought this mass movement out of the closet but he was not the engineer of the movement. There is someone out there waiting in the wings to pick up the torch as Trump fades away. There are people currently in and out of government channels, as well as recently elected ultra right wing adherents, who are willing to agitate to an extreme level. There are people who ignite passion and have a broad base of followers; Limbaugh, Hannity, Carlson, Ingraham, Jones to name a few. These people are not going to simply shut up and go away, (except for Limbaugh, when he draws his last fetid breath). The ultra right wing organizations are not going to close shop just because Trump is no longer president.

The other fallacy is to simply focus on the left behind. Sure, they are the ones who are visible and flock to his rallies and chant ugly slogans, they are, in essence, the grunts and the stooges, making all the noise. But behind those folks are the moneyed, the people who have been listening to, writing and promoting incendiary rhetoric and donating to campaigns and organizations for decades. The Mercers, the Adelsons, the Kochs, the wealthy white Republicans living in gated communities across the country have poured billions of dollars into politics and political organizations over the last seven decades.

And then there are the Proud Boys, the Boogaloo, the so called militias, the neo Nazi groups, the ultra evangelical "ministers" shrieking and screaming hate. These people are not going to sit down and shut up.

Donald Trump is too intellectually disorganized and narcissistic to be the real driver behind the movement. These traits made him unsuitable for the role of president. The money behind the madness knew this and counted on the fact that, if nothing else, Trump would be successful in generating chaos and passion.

This mass movement doesn't really need Trump anymore but as long as he's in the public eye he will remain the fire-starter in chief. That's all his masters need from him. Nothing more.

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Fire Starter in Chief. That is a fabulous title for djt.

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How about Dumpster Fire?

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I agree with your post, as well as some points of Mr. Siler's above. I think to imagine that all these people who have rallied around Trump et al. are somehow going to magically melt away is dangerously naive. As Daria said, I think it is safe to say that Trump was the catalyst that made people with some of these abhorrent ideas come out of the woodwork. They've always been there lurking under the surface waiting for a moment to appear. They have also kind of egged each other on. Are they ALL unified? I don't think so. They most likely have their individual rallying points. Yes, I think once Dear Leader departs from the scene and loses his bully pulpit of the office, there may be a certain ebbing of enthusiasm for him, but I don't think at all he'll necessarily "go gently into that good night". I would refer folks back to HCR's interview a few days ago by Bill Moyer as a pretty good summing up of where at least the Republican party may go and what I may become. I think, too, that comparisons of populism/fascism of Europe in the past 100 years or so with contemporary events in the US are apt in some ways--mainly as regards the manipulation of people...that is eternal and never changes--but things have changed quite a bit because of, quite simply, technology. That has changed the playing field somewhat, and that to me is what is worrying. Because of adding the phenomenon of effects of technology on our societies, we are in uncharted waters. We've not been here before under these circumstances and figuring in that consideration--technology--means we don't necessarily have the benefit of history to teach us anything. Humanity might not change with regard to our all too human natures, but the environment now HAS changed and IS changing, so that may change some things in ways that we can't imagine. Consider how much our society in this country has changed from when the Founders put this Noble Experiment called the "USA" together at the end of the 18th century. The would freak out to see us now. Just a rambling stream of thoughts...(NOT proofed, so I apologise for any errors!)

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'...for what IT may become..." No way I'm a Republican!

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Mr. sellers, I refer you to my response to the message posted by Ms. Wilber. Technological change, and the impersonal anomie of communicating solely through the medium of social media has a human cost; and one of the dangers we have not been prepared to face is how malleable this new medium is for propagating false narratives and disinformation.

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Exactly. That is the point I was striving to make. I think things have changed even from Hoffer's time and those rapidly changing advances in technology change the playing field in ways that even he could not have imagined. Human beings don't change, though. As I said, it can become difficult to rely on history as a teacher when the technological advances keep changing the environment. We're kind of in some unfamiliar territory here, IMO. I also think the American system of government does make some of what happened in Europen history not as possible. Still, imagine what, say, Hitler and the Third Reich would have done with the technology we have now. Scary.

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With all due respect, Eric Hoffer deserves to be judged on the entirety of his thinking as expressed in his writings. Recall that Hoffer is best known for his first book, written in spare moments between assignments as a longshoreman in San Francisco from 1943 until his book was published in 1950. Even then, as I have alluded to above, Hoffer continued to write, often in diary form, between assignments, or after work in his rented room. Nonetheless, he was an acute and original thinker, forceful in his expository writing, displaying none of the qualifiers and ambiguities that so often burden (and deaden) academic writing. That said, there are current writers whose style and forcefulness echo that of Eric Hoffer. One such writer who has drawn a great deal of favorable attention is Timothy Snyder who is the Levin Professor of History at Yale University whose recent book (2017) "On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (Tim Duggan books [Penguin Random House LLC]. Like Eric Hoffer, Professor Snyder conveys his thoughts through attention-capturing titles and easily absorbed and remembered aphoristic summaries, each of which is followed by a short, pithy analysis that expands upon the point he has just made. I personally favor aphorisms wherever possible, as they target the imagination. Well done, they convey their point with hammer blows. Eric Hoffer and Timothy Snyder share common bandwidth. Reading both multiplies their impact. And remember, in a world addicted to dancing video images and babbled slogans, the printed word is still the first line of defense against the Authoritarian's strategy of capturing the emotions before the thinking mind has had a chance to respond.

Finally, think stochastically, meaning, train yourselves to think probabilistically, based upon the probabilities that whatever you are hearing from others might be neither true nor false, depending upon their context. Ask better questions, like 'what's missing from this picture'; identify cognitive biases; and question assumptions. We are in the toughest battle of our intellectual lives, and we need to be fully prepared.

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I agree totally with your analysis. He has been manipulated from the start - the useful idiot. There are many facets of this "movement," all serving their purpose, and I fear we'll be seeing more in the future.

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But, now we know.

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Daria Wilber: I'm not disagreeing with you that Donald Trump came to personify the bitterness and alienation that his supporters feel with the parts of the American population who continue to do better, in the sense that they are socially, economically, and politically more likely to prosper. Your comments and others, have prompted me to revisit my assembled collection of Eric Hoffer's published works, 11 titles of which occupy a prominent place on my library bookshelves.

As to your first point, the right wing agitators are paid spokespersons, regardless of their popular following. New contracts can be canceled, their broadcast slots, and their employment relationships can be terminated at any time. There is no constitutional right to flood the airwaves with hate propaganda, regardless of how much money their sponsors have. First Amendment rights to free speech do not include the right to amplify their message. We used to have an 'equal time rule'; and that was enforced. There is nothing preventing us from doing that again, and to apply that role to social media as well. We just need the political will to do so.

I think people will agree that First Amendment jurisprudence might require some updating, especially insofar as the way in which disinformation and outright fabrication of false narratives crowd out public discourse and rational argument. Understandably, there are purists out there, whom I vehemently disagree with me on that; but the counter-argument is that human minds need space to think. This finding has been affirmed by researchers in brain science studying cognitive dissonance. Slowing things down makes for better decision-making, the same way in which judicial and legislative decision-making is intended to slow down the tempo of decision-making in order to ensure that better decisions are made.

You may be familiar with one of Eric Hoffer's later works, "The Ordeal Of Change", first published in 1963, and republished in 2006. Hoffer drew a straight line between a society undergoing drastic change and the cognitive dissonance that encumber members of that society that are and able to cope with either the pace at which changes occur, and the unanticipated outcomes that frequently emerge as a consequence of complex interactions within and between social systems, institutions, and their overall environments.

In that spirit, Hoffer wrote:

"The simple fact that we can never be fit and ready for that which is wholly new has some peculiar results. It means that a population undergoing drastic changes a population of misfits, and misfits live and breed in an atmosphere of passion. There is a close connection between lack of confidence and the passionate state of mind and, as we shall see passionate intensity may serve as a substitute for confidence the connection can be observed in all walks of life."

Eric Hoffer had a lot more to say about the subject of change and its effect on human society, and much of what he wrote addresses our situation now.

Evolution occurred over a span of a billion years, with punctuated changes occurring episodically, followed by further eons of stasis. All the while, living creatures were learning to adapt to their new environments, and with varying degrees of success. Adaptation itself can be the product of either random mutations that enable entities or species to better survive in their environment, or it can be a latent skill that can readily be put to use to make that that species' odds of survival better than they were without the change in behavior.

Over the past several decades an entirely new branch of science has emerged, now called Complexity Science, for want of anything better. There are mathematical models for how change occurs; but even their creators would readily admit that these are works in progress. You might even call it the 'science of extreme conditions and their entirely unpredictable consequences'. You might recall that some twenty years ago, a former stock trader turned academic coined the phrase 'black swan events' to describe the collapse of financial markets impacted by high volatility, market interconnectedness, and unrestrained risk-taking. The man's name is Naseem Nicholas Taleb who has made quite a name for himself in the popular literature of thinking about, and acting upon, what might be occurring when complex systems interact with one another.

I think what we're seeing now is a consequence of a large fraction of society that is unable to comprehend what is happened to them, viz. exposure to the coronavirus, coupled with a governmental response from the Trump administration that proved to be an utter failure of imagination. It's no wonder that more people haven't gone crazy with fear and disbelief that this could be happening to them. We've been pushing the envelope for years, and our safety net has shrunk to the size of a postage stamp. Much of this could have been avoided had proper precautions been taken; but as I mentioned above, people are disinclined to believe and rely upon information that they have not encountered before, and it is especially hard that the one person charged with the constitutional duty of anticipating this calamity of sickness and death that we are experiencing was AWOL from his job.

I would agree with you that Donald Trump is too cognitively disorganised

to lead a response to his followers' deep-seated alienation from American political and social life; I see him more as a parabolic lens through which they and their suffering come into focus, but not in any good way. For that matter, no American president since Lyndon Baines Johnson to see these people at the gut level; but even then, Johnson allowed himself to be rattled by holdover advisors from the Kennedy administration and Republican triumphalists into getting involved in Vietnam. I think Joe Biden has the chops to pull things together, if he can convince Republicans that their survival depends upon his success.

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Art, I don't deny that you bring up very good points. I agree with you on many of them. (I will admit, I have not read all 11 books written by Eric Hoffer, so you have me there.) But, Hoffer's ideas about how rapid change impacts people as individuals and collectively are as important today as they were when written.

One of the points we may view differently is based on your comment:

" the right wing agitators are paid spokespersons, regardless of their popular following. New contracts can be canceled, their broadcast slots, and their employment relationships can be terminated at any time."

They may be paid spokespersons with contracts but they will likely find new homes in the right wing media outlets that have sprung up in the last few years. Each of these new outlets is ready and willing to push the envelope closer and closer to the edge. The folks who are stirred up now are willing to follow any one of the agitators to the ends of the earth. Right wing talking heads are no different from the on air/on-line evangelicals who have taken over large swaths of American Christianity, fleecing them in the process. The prosperity gospel, give, give, give and, if you believe and are "righteous", you will be rewarded. Their faith leaders tell them that. Their political leaders tell them the same thing. And yet, nothing gets better, so they need to give more, believe harder, scream louder, be more righteous. All the while their leaders are ignoring the fact that people are suffering while happily bleeding them dry. Even as the faithful watch loved ones die, or as they themselves lay dying, they will cling to the lies.

All leaders tend to be charismatic and very, very persuasive. Those on the right use anxiety, fear, loss, and bigotry to incite more of the same. Those in the center and left use compassion, equality, the greater good and the fear that those things will be pushed aside (as the have been in the last years). A good many people are angry and defiant (70m plus); some of the talking heads have been screaming at them for decades, (Limbaugh in particular). Over the decades the rhetoric about how the Democrats are trying to "screw you" has become increasingly rabid and loud. The right has also been clever and intertwined the assualt on faith and Jesus into their "righteous cause". Regardless of reality, those who have bought into the right's propaganda are not going to let go easily because doing so contradicts everything they believe in. (And I absolutely agree that there is no First Amendment Right to spew violent garbage and that updating is in order.)

Many analysts and the leadership of both parties have gotten a lot wrong. They rely on projections and data while ignoring human emotions, how quickly they can be manipulated and changed and the sheer number of people who can be mustered at the drop of a hat. The state of Georgia is a prime example; one day Republicans voted for Trump and the Republican ticket within a few days Republican voters refuse to vote for the Republican contenders in a senate runoff because a Democratic candidate won the presidency in a " fraudulent election ". They believe the nonsense of the vote being stolen through a worldwide effort of nefarious deep state operatives and nothing will change their minds about that. Right now, they are like a ball of mercury, ever shifting and easily fragmented but willing to coalesce in an instant if they hear a message that resonates.

Technology has made communication and the transfer of information lightening fast. We are ignoring the speed at which people are now shifting from one platform to another. Why? Because it is evolving so rapidly and because most people, including lawmakers, didn't take the hideous aspects and impacts of social media seriosly until just recently. All it took was Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc., to clamp down on the spread of false information by the right and the President to elevate Parler (and others) from a relatively little used platform to a popular platform. The shift from conventional social media to alternatives was instantaneous. People are absolutely free to express any sentiment, including violence, without fear of the administrators throttling them. There have never been so many outlier channels on which people can express their views and there will be more.

And then there is the other side, people who are sick and tired of being screamed at and lied to by the leadership. Joe Biden was successful in his run for the presidency, not just because of his experience and merit, but because his demeanor was/is calm and civil and focused on the needs of the people. We can only hope that he will be able to provide leadership that promotes unity and healing on all fronts.

I respect your scholarship and opinions.

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I agree with you. I never thought that Donald Trump was the one in charge. He was requited by the oligarchy because he had the personality to attract all the disenfranchised, angry people woh could do the work of the cult. I really loved Eric Hoffer's book. I learned a lot about how these cults of personality come about.

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This is perfection. I am cutting and pasting this to a friend. Thank you!

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Thank you!

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Thank you for taking the time to write your views. Really enjoyed your writing here about this time period. Hope you’re right in your conclusion about Trump’s mass movement. While I agree with many of your assessments, Trump has blown through so many norms and been so destructive and criminally negligent as POTUS, the task of rebuilding a well-oiled government structure and public faith in that structure will take a very long time. And how does truth re-establish itself as the foundation of public discourse? ❤️🤍💙

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I wish we would all stop calling it violating norms and start calling it what it is, breaking the law. I completely agree about the need to re-establish truth. Reinstating the Fairness Doctrine, updated for the internet age, would be a start.

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For the laws broken djt needs to go to jail. Or at least spend a lot of money trying to stay out of jail. However what djt has done is stretch the heck out of what we would call norms.

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Although I would enjoy seeing T**** and his cabal spend some time behind bars, so few wealthy white people ever end up in prison that I'm not holding my breath on that one. And even if they did do time, it would likely be in a very comfortable country club style prison for white (collar) criminals. I'd like to see them all be deported to Russia. Let's trade them for Snowden.

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Precisely. How many bankers, lenders, finance guys went to prison after the 2008 mess? Precisely zero if I recall. How many regular people got utterly screwed?

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I hear Rikers is nice this time of year

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Kathy, I totally agree. My question is 'how to do that'? If we can't bring truth and proof back into public discourse, and legally prosecute those from top to bottom for going beyond free speech into kidnapping, threatening lives, etc. we are doomed to watch our country go down in flames.

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I think we must start by holding the Trump administration to account. There must be consequences, not for revenge, but to prevent the next one. Sometimes I wonder, if Nixon had been prosecuted, would this have happened? We pride ourselves on the fact that no one is above the law in America. But that isn’t really true, unless we hold those who abuse their power to account.

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I just saw this and thought of you! Thank YOU for all you're doing to help Georgia. If this link doesn't work, goto Rolling Stone and look up Georgia on my mind. https://www.facebook.com/RollingStone/posts/10157717085005779

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What happens when a Jim Jordan rises to th top of the fetid pile?

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Bingo.

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Maybe he'll put a damn jacket on

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Your description of Trump as a predator is excellent. I think that’s it, in a nutshell.

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I suddenly realized, through reading your admirable summary of radicalization of movements - that the vast swath of it’s voters you write about are simply .... Republicans.

Life Iong conservatives were NOT going to vote for Biden. Never. This is an aging electorate that bought into Reagan, forty years ago. Many Dem Reaganites. So, they buy the swag, attend rallies and believe in their leader. The proud boys are a tiny, tiny set of players, in costumes with guns and Doc Martens, perhaps. Ans they love to scream

I see many trump signs, in a vey predictable setting. This crowd predictably lives in mobile homes or trailers, often in very poor condition. With various items in the yard., which you’d never expect (but always do). We look at each, and simply brings as we drive by. But, they are our rural neighbors and have been, all our lives

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Hey, I live in a trailer! My trailer park is on the edge of the capitol city of my state and I have been pleasantly surprised this year by the number of rural residents who have placed Black Lives Matter signs in their yards. True, a fair number of T****/Pants signs were around here, too, but an equal number of Biden/Harris signs sprouted after they were nominated. Most of the T**** signs are down, but people are leaving their Biden signs up.

By the number of people driving very high-priced new gas-guzzlers in the recent T**** parades through our downtown, and the fact that the majority of T**** signs around here have been on large estates with multiple fancy vehicles, I think we are seeing different demographics among "the believers".

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I'm with you Lanita - I lived in a trailer for several years - I guess technically my double wide is one but as far as I'm concerned its perfect! I never lived in a trailer park, although there are some very nice ones.

Frederick, you have to realize that many trailer residents are people who may not be able to afford to buy or rent a house. This covers an awful lot of people, many on the lower end of the 99%. Not ALL of them believe in the deity of trumpism.

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Lanita, your point is very well taken!

There is a different demographic in trailer parks, than rural America where trailers are older and often in need of serious repair. Some host the misplaced refrigerator and range (in the yard), simply because it is expensive and difficult to haul the item to the transfer station. I have spent years in Northern Calif, since 1996 (near Santa Rosa), and the most affordable living option is in “Over 55" communities, and this is a very common housing arrangement.

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Lanita, spot on.

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*We look at each other as we drive by. and sigh.

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Plenty of Trump supporters did not place signs and flags in their well-manicured front yards, and do not live in mobile homes or trailers. They don't go to rallies. They live comfortable lives and want to continue to protect their own assets. The crowd that angles to get in front of the cameras are fine for drawing eyeballs to the Trump train, but there are lots and lots and lots of silent passengers who voted for this Administration.

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I agree. Well stated. They’re simply conservatives, and Republicans.

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Interesting synopsis.

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"President as arsonist.."..bingo...when Comey was fired as FBI director, my Dad who was a staunch republican turned to me and said "I fear for the republic..." Over the past months I have come to understand his fear...I hope they shut off tRumps twitter feed...my bigger concern is how to reverse thevradicalization that is going on in the block that voted for tRump...if he goes to jail I will be very happy but fear it will make a martyr of him. The whole "fraudulent election" call has become a belief system born of tRumps own narcissism. I fear for the republic now too...

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Yes! That line about. POTUS as “arsonist of radicalization” is such a great description, and the story about someone being run off the road reminds me of the pizzagate tragedy. What will it take to get people out of the right-wing “alternative facts” bubble they’re living in?

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When the Fairness Doctrine is reinstated and they are no longer fed 3 meals a day of "lying, mendacity, untruthfulness, fibbing, fabrication, invention, perjury, perfidy, perfidiousness, lack of veracity, telling stories, misrepresentation, prevarication, equivocation. deceit, deception, deceitfulness, pretence, artifice, falseness, two-facedness, double-dealing, double-crossing, dissimulation" (many thanks to Lexico).

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What a brilliant list of synonyms!

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Brilliant list, thank you.

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As long as purveyors of right wing crap continue (they know what they’re saying is manufactured or misleading) and make money and gain fame, we’ll be dealing with the fallout.

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Despite fear of being overly reactionary, let us martyr the bastard.

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I think simply shutting off his megaphone might be plenty. He'd die in the vacuum of his stupidity

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Not all are competent though, nor do they clearly see what they are in effect doing. We got the first 2 categories but they never had the third, "Action Man" in their midst. Even then while they were mixing up the "Words and Fanatics" stages they never got their collective act together and so there was neither full transformation nor transition. We can be thankful!

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One big question is whether there will arise a competent less psychologically flawed “Trump” to seize control of the movement that coalesced around him.

The GOP has certainly demonstrated they have no qualms about using all that hate and aggrieved rage as a device to win elections. However uneasy it may make some of them, I’m sure most see it as just an extension of the culture war they used so effectively.

And as we’re seeing now they don’t have a problem with damaging the country or democracy as long as they are able to carry out their real purpose — tax breaks for rich people.

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You know what I find so terribly ironic? It was the Republicans who created the conditions that left Trump’s aggrieved supporters.

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True, but don't forget that Democrats failed to take aggressive action to stop those situations, even during times when Democrats held both the House and the Senate. Thus the assertion, which is at least partly true, that both parties have been culpable. Pending further detailed study, I assume those complaints against Democrats are well-founded.

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True dat.

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And yet still managed to stick the Dems with the blame!

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They have many in the party but, like Gingrich when he was Speaker of the House, they are not terribly attractive people and don't have the (rancid) smell of faux success from being a media personality. Gingrich couldn't make a group of rabid supporters coalesce around him but you can bet some neofascist will work on that.

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So Very Sad!

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I agree with you about Heather's talk today, and thank you for the Hoffer link.

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Kari, how can I listen to the 4PM talk by Heather that you mentioned?

Thanks.

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Heather does a video talk on Tuesdays at 4 pm and Thursdays at 1 pm, on Facebook Live. You can watch the video later on Facebook, or after a few weeks it will be on her YouTube.

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4 and 1 Eastern Time, respectively.

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Ralph, did you find it? I watched live for the first time yesterday, then I watched it later with my husband. Previously I watched several of her talks some days after they were recorded. If you search on her full name in Facebook, then click on Videos, you should see her Dec 15 talk listed. She has a Youtube channel with many older recordings too. I haven't yet figured it all out, but every one has been really helpful and good. Best wishes.

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Yes, and thanks for your help.

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Kari, Thank you for sharing the link on Eric Hoffer! I planned to follow up on that! I agree it was a great talk. I shared it in one of my likeminded Facebook groups.

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I don’t have a twitter account, as I don’t believe any truth can be compressed into a sound bite or a tweet.

Yet, I do wish something would go viral on the state of affairs at the top of our sad country. I remember countless times late in the night of what ever ED I was attending when an addict would present in crisis and his family and friends would gather round insisting he “is just depressed,” his “outlandish behavior is not usual” his “violence is just because…” At times it seemed that the surrounding co-dependents were worse than the addict.

Yes, Trump is after cash. Yes, he is after attention. Yes, his still amazingly huge numbers of followers are still enthralled in his delusion. But we as a country don’t have to swallow it.

This is power addiction. If it could be called out as such and the topic could become at least part of the story I would feel that, at least, we are doing our jobs as citizens.

Sadly, I have not personally cultivated a voice loud enough to make that happen.

Sorry if my tone is too much or inappropriate for this venue. It is frustrating to watch this continue to happen.

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No need to apologize for your tone, you are among friends and those of like mind. I agree with your identification of the current situation with the behaviors of addiction and thank you for your articulate post.

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Nope. We’re right there with you.

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You hit the nail on the head as addiction to power is djt’s vice.

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So far, I haven't seen any tone policing herein. We are drawn here because we need intellectual stimulation and a certain amount of validation from like minds that we are not completely delusional in our take on the condition of our country and the world.

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I agree with you. ☮️

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Just curious: What is an "ED"?

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I would assume that it refers to a hospital Emergency Department (the contemporary term for an ER).

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Thank you for that clarification.

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One of the greatest pleasures of the demise of the Trump administration is that I will not have to hear the extremely irritating voice of Kayleigh McEnany anymore.

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McNinny?

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Or as someone on this board called her recently: "McInane."

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Thank you, Dr. Richardson! As always, such a great summary as we soldier on to January 20th. I have to attach my favorite Washington Post comment from this morning's article reporting the selection of Jennifer Granholm as Secretary of Energy....

"Y'know, I'm getting tired of these highly-qualified, intelligent, people getting nominated for roles where they can do amazing things. Where's the drama? Where's the big donor who barely understands what his office does? Does anyone really think that as Energy Secretary Granholm will spend 80 grand on bronze doors for her office?

This quiet competence is killing me!"

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GREAT QUOTE!!

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Love it.

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Less then 70 people attended Pompeo's Christmas party. That fact will keep me in a happy place all day.

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And knowing Pompeo held a party and then did not show up. Maybe he only was inviting Democrats and hoping they would get sick. ;-)

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Indeed. What a grubby, boorish little man he is.

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Obese, too.

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Just found out that he tested positive ... which was probably why he didn't show. Probably on that preferred treatment that Trump and Rudy got by now.

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How is it that none of these old men who get Covid don’t get really sick or die? Is it just the select drugs they get? They seem to bounce right back.

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well, when you are one of the chosen few, and get this monoclonal antibody cocktail, when you start to sniffle, as opposed to ER doctors who are WORKING WITH COVID IN COVID WARDS, yes, that is happening, something is rotten in Denmark, or Washington. The stones that these guys have are unparallelled.

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Monoclonal antibody treatment? I am too mad and tired to look it up, but the goons get the magic treatment.

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I assume that the security person at the WH who was so terribly sick - lost limbs after covid didnt get magic potion the rest did - but nothing said about that fact in the news.

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Oh! How heartbreaking - and WRONG.

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Wow, I hadn’t heard about that.

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He did?? HA! I always say “what goes around, comes around”.

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Ron Johnson and Kayleigh McEnany should go on the road with their Dog & Pony show after DT exits the scene– no preference here for which is the dog and which is the pony.

It could be something akin to a magical reality standup with charts and graphs highlighted with black Sharpie and thought bubbles that float through the air behind them (Contribute to Trump 2024, 2028, 2032 … Free Paul Manafort! … Broccoli is a Socialist Vegetable! … Ivanka for Princessident!).

The Proud Boys could provide security (think Altamont Raceway 1969) except they could preemptively rough up a few liberals before the event as needed to assure a copacetic atmosphere.

I mean, it would be a shame if all that talent and experience they have contriving their alternative universe of factoids goes to waste - right?

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"Ivanka for Princessident," that's very funny. Let's hope THAT concept remains in the realm of the ridiculous and NOT actual candidacy in 2024!

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I think she's a very good candidate for the next "Barbie Doll" model but not much else. She too will be too very busy hiding behind high walls in her proposed "jared-built" fortress.... her Miami Neuschwanstein near her Father's Hohenscwangau without a doubt (or the other way round).... with De Santis and a bunch of legal cat-fish attempting to stall the legal aligators that will be nipping at her family's heals and consuming her ill gotten gains. Next step...hiding in the everglades perhaps. But does anybody care?

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It appears that the old money of Palm Beach has roused itself in opposition to all things Trump and may have a legal leg to stand on in regards to Mar-A-Lago ( in this case Trump may become victim to his own past maneuvering!!!). Welcoming neighborhoods are also evaporating for the Princess and Prince. This may be the best thing Florida has ever done--a bigly snub job as only Palm Beach can do.

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I think Trump's own place has a non-residential obligation in the purchase agreement and as i said about the other 2...who cares? One certainly wouldn't want them dragging down the neighbourhood!

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Actually, Ivankred are looking into property in New Jersey, which is kinda funny because if they think that Christie as ex-governor will support them, it should be easy to sell them the Verrazano Bridge.

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Princessident. Brilliant.

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Ron Johnson is such an embarrassment. Whenever his name is mentioned in the daily letter, I feel compelled to apologize to Dr. Richardson's many readers on behalf of all of Wisconsin. That he managed to prevail over Russ Feingold twice is a glaring example of just how far off the rails my adopted home state has gone.

In early December, we learned that cyber security firm FireEye was attacked by a highly sophisticated attacker, compromising the very security tools they use to protect governments and businesses from cyber attacks - https://www.fireeye.com/blog/products-and-services/2020/12/fireeye-shares-details-of-recent-cyber-attack-actions-to-protect-community.html. I had never heard of FireEye before this, but I am horrified at what this sophisticated attack may mean. And, just last week we learned about the ongoing hacking of federal agencies including Treasury, Commerce, and who knows what else, that has been going on since March. And, what is the head of the Homeland Security Committee paying attention to? He holds Senate Hearings about unproven and unscientific 'treatments' for COVID-19 and now so-called 'irregularities' in the election.

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Thank you HCR. I was surprised; then, I became excited. A ho hum gray department is getting a fresh face. Pete Buttegieg is likely going to do an excellent job, if he is supported by those passed over. 🤞🏻 His performance for BidenHarris on Fox was terrific and in a way earned this reward. Apart from his well-known intellect, imagine having a person in your cabinet who is that good on his feet. This is the second rival who has been given a place at the WH table. Also: Because he’s not a senator. Now, how about Andrew Yang? Create a department for him, if need be. He really gets what’s happening to the future of work, moved to GA, and created Humanity Forward. He can really help Biden Build Back Better. ❤️🤍💙

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I think Yang is running for mayor of New York. That will be an interesting race!

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Wow! That would be amazing. If I hadn't already been all in for Liz, I would have seriously considering joining the Yang Gang.

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Yes! Andrew Yang! Is there a department to fight climate change? There should be.

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Former Michigan Governor Granholm will head up the Department of Energy, and Gina McCarthy, firmer EPA Chief ubder Biden, will be Domestic Climate Chief. https://www.npr.org/sections/biden-transition-updates/2020/12/15/945937035/biden-to-name-gina-mccarthy-former-epa-chief-as-domestic-climate-coordinator

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This is a great article, MaryPat. Coordinating among all the departments to achieve climate goals by 2050...what a concept!

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Lots and lots of women in the new cabinet. YAY!

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Who better to finally get great things done, Marlene!

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Woman Power is so magic in Michigan now with Whitmer, Nessel & Benson in tge top 3 spots!

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💪🏼💪🏽💪🏾💪🏿

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One note on Pete Buttigieg, as Mayor he did a significant transportation redesign in South Bend that was very successful by most accounts I can find, so he might actually be a really good fit for Transportation and Biden's plans to make transportation part of his overall Climate program.

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Yes, without a 'climate aware' leader involved in design and execution of transportation policy, efforts to deal with climate change would be infinately more difficult.

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A nice drive through downtown.

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Thank you Professor Richardson, as always! I’m sorry I had to miss your chat yesterday (meetings, meetings...) I feel that Trump will do whatever he can to be the center of attention. When he loses his Presidential Twitter account, when his every pronouncements and moves are not covered by the media perhaps he will implode. And take his family with him. On another note I think Pete Buttigieg will do a good job as Secretary of Transportation. I met him at a dinner in 2018 when my company was about to publish his first book “The Shortest Way Home” (still available from your independent bookstores) He was doing a listening tour and had not yet declared himself a candidate. I was impressed with his listening skills, his thoughtfulness, his planning. Still am.

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Impressed that he speaks so many different languages! He is an asset to this cabinet.

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So, this morning news comes that tRump is to order a special prosecutor to look into Hunter Biden. The news reminded me of how truly cruel this man is. What's the benefit of such an investigation other than to make others suffer? And the cruelty of this man extends to his rush to execute as many on death row as he can before 1/21/21. To what end? To make him appear strong and a "law and order" kind of guy? And then....I read yesterday that apparently, tRump signed, yes, signed, a legal document stating he would never make Mar-a-Lago his permanent residence. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/12/trump-mar-a-lago-palm-beach-florida-deal-agreement-development-club-residence.html. The residents of Palm Beach knew long ago they didn't want this rat living in their midst. How will he manage to get out of this one? Maybe he'll be heading to jail instead!

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You hit the nail on the head, Pam Peterson. Making others suffer is the only thing that Trump and his ilk seem to find interesting/useful. It is disturbing and educational at the same time. WHAT causes people to be like this? HOW can we avoid whatever influences that shape children/youth in ways that predict such horrific outcomes when they are adults? I am in my early 70s, and have seen a lot of disgusting behaviors in my time. But I am at a loss as to how so many Americans apparently accept Trump's behavior and attitude as "okay."

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I worked in the mental health field for 20+ years, and encountered some pretty mentally ill people, but none as sick a tRump. The best explanation I can come up with is his illness combines narcissism, and sociopathy into one big mess of a human being. And like you, Rev. Judith, I cannot for the life of me understand how so many people can go along with his cruelty.

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I admit that I have little hope for humanity because the ability of people to be cruel seems endless, and people seem to find it terribly difficult to be kind and humane. That is one of the lessons from Jesus's parables, I think: why would statements focusing on the need for humanity, kindness, generosity, and empathy have to be drilled over and over and over again in the Gospels, if not because of a dearth of such qualities in Roman imperial society in the 1st c. CE? And things have never changed. So-called Christians committing genocide is a characteristic of human history since the founding of Christianity, and is mirrored in pretty much every other faith-based society. Even Buddhism had its imperial era.

The Deranged Cheeto simply acts as the universal Id for all the people whose own narcissism, greed, and hatred of difference exist as unexpressed or suppressed emotions. Empathy, humanity, and kindness require self-awareness, self-questioning, and a humble and inclusive view of oneself in the world. Most people find these exceedingly difficult to do, and most political and faith leaders actually discourage this search for humanity except in their own tiny closed-off groups.

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"The Deranged Cheeto simply acts as the universal Id for all the people whose own narcissism, greed, and hatred of difference exist as unexpressed or suppressed emotions. Empathy, humanity, and kindness require self-awareness, self-questioning, and a humble and inclusive view of oneself in the world."

Spot on, Linda.

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Pam, When he was first elected I talked with no fewer that six people in the mental health field who each (unbeknownst to the others) described his actions as those that fit someone who is a narcissistic psychopath. How so many people still can see that is one of the things I am most frightened about in considering the future of this country.

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I am in that field and yes, I saw it immediately. Most females who have had to deal with super dominant males full of themselves were abhorred by him.

But my studies of how dictators operate, due to my childhood fascination of how Hitler get get so many people to commit such atrocious acts on human beings (Thanks to reading Anne Frank....). I saw he was using all the same tactics that Hitler used. And I lost friends the night of the 2016 election because they were pro-trump and I was anti-fascist dictator. They made absolutely no sense that night and said the Obama was the fascist. There was absolutely no way I would be friends with people who were that twisted in their skills of discernment. That is when I was deeply introduce to the Alt World that we are now so perplexed and petrified of because it cares nothing about Truth, Justice or even our lives. It is truly brutal and devoid of light. Those things in the Harry Potter stories called Dementors appear to have sucked up a lot of people's souls in their rage and anger, hellbent on destruction.

The only hope I feel we have to to shine our lights a lot brighter and never become complacent in our country. Because that same energy is arising around the world and creating refugees. We need to be vigilant and we need to be gentle warriors and learn new skills if necessary. Our first steps are get this regime out of power, get the pandemic under control and get people back to school and work. But let's do it all differently and in new ways-- we will NEVER be the same, and we do NOT want to go backwards anyways. We have learned too much to return to our old ways. Never forget how close we came to losing our country. This is not about parties, this is about our country that we almost lost into the black hole of old, white patriarchy and power at all costs.

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well said. I don't know that gentle is required. I think that violence needs to be avoided at all costs, but forthright education, and policies, will help us all. No tiptoeing around.

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Sobering.

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My physician said exactly that, and then I read Mary Trump's book. She was able to see it evolve from a family perspective, as well as being a professional.

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I agree with them... as a nurse.

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Money. It is truly both a fabulous tool and a horrible idol.

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Because he gives others license to express their own pain, cruelty, and deprivation. Our educational and social systems, without health care for all, guaranteed quality education for all, engenders this schism. The haves and the have nots. The Have nots have to have a "tribe," and Trump is the demented, seriously malignantly narcissistic puppet at the top. The real "brains" behind his Stalin-esque bs are people like Steven Miller, and also the new AG, Rosen, who supported and promoted the separation of children and babies from their parents at the Southern Border. Tonight, someoneon MSNBC at around supper time, 6 pm, est, said to give him "a chance." Nope. He is a villain. Kick him to the curb. Jan 21, come on!

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Good explanation of the basic problems with our society. And, yes, Steven Miller is another member of the devil tribe.

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Yes, and it upsets me profoundly. These are people who live all around me, with their BIG t**** flags waving. My country doesn’t feel like “home” anymore and there is a lot of sadness and grief for me in this.

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The young farmers across the road from me are the same. Photos of them supporting and waving flags at the proud boys parade on the road between us happened to capture them gleefully waving at a truck with a big confederate flag. The photo went viral and ended up at Indivisible apparently. Local patrons of theirs were so upset and reportedly spewed their anger and promised to never buy their farm products again. Some, as there are always fanatics on both sides, threatened to burn their barn down. They closed everything up, took down their website and all the farm signs on the road and on their trucks. I hear they are thinking of moving. They are always angry about something, they never forgive anyone, nor apologize for their own behaviors. It is so sad because we have a lovely, semi-rural neighborhood made up of all kinds of people and there is no need for this kind of behavior.

We also have more people of color moving in and these kinds of parades are incredibly frustrating in a small village. And very scary for our neighbors of color. Someone who saw the 30 trucks on parade said that half of them were from out of state. Two weeks later there was a second parade a day after the village painted Black Lives Matter in front of the elementary school they passed.

You have to be carefully taught to hate. Our new world: let's carefully teach how to love everyone for their uniqueness and differences. That makes the world much more interesting. Let's celebrate everyone and their origins. That is what this Great Experiment is all about. Shining our lights much brighter than the darkness of the angry ones who maybe did not get enough of something growing up.

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As They say in South Pacific, you have to be carefully taught. It is hard for those who need a "tribe" to feel empathy, compassion, generosity, or kindness when they have not been on the receiving end of this. The few who can will rise and thrive, but many just stay in their ruts of hate, teaching their kids the same "isms" that they were imbued with. It is tragic.

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Read Mary Trumps book. When Donald was two years old his mother was sick and couldn't (and maybe wouldn't) take care of him. His father was too cheap to hire help. And so it began...

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As opposed to Joe Biden's mother who was ready to knock a bonnet off the Nun who made fun of his stuttering. Based on the results we see to date Joe is better equipped for life and leading our country.

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LOVE that story!! And now love that man. Thank You Mrs. Biden.

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Yes, i love Mrs.Biden Sr for doing that.

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I read it, and while he did not get a safe place in which to grow, the fact that we still excuse parenting for a man who has created so much suffering in the world is putting too much blame on Fred and Mary and not enough on the system that also created the monster.

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I have read that many criminologists believe that, in addition to toxic parenting, many people involved in criminal activity are the product of parents with severe mental problems. From what I've read in Mary Trump's book, it appears that Trump's father, while functioning well enough to be a successful businessman, had a very skewed psyche. I think it is possible that, in addition to being a toxic parent, he might also have passed along a genetic predisposition to Donald's obvious narcissistic tendencies. And yes, I did cite criminal activities, because they fit this example.

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I don't know if it is genetic predisposition in Trump's case. A lot of it is bad luck, his and consequently ours. That said Fred Trump did not have the best childhood either. Ironically, Fred Trump's father died from Influenza in the 1918 Pandemic. Fred ran a business with his widowed mother at a young age. Interestingly, other family members excelled academically and professionally. Fred Trump's brother was professor at MIT, Fred Trump Jr. made it through competitive programs to be an airline pilot, DT's sister Maryanne Trump was an Appellate Court Judge, and Mary Trump had a Ph.D. in psychology. From what I read, Donald was neglected due to his mothers illness, however after his older brother did not live up to expectations, Donald was treated like someone who could do no wrong by his family. That upbringing did not serve him or us well.

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Of course, I'm playing sidewalk psychologist here, and there's no way to ever know, but Mary Trump's father, Fred Jr., was constantly told by Fred that he had to have a "killer instinct," or words to that effect, which was not his nature, and that was the basis for his failure in his father's eyes. Donald was more than comfortable with having a killer instinct, sadist that he is, and his boorish behavior and bullying were rewarded by his authoritarian father. And all of this combined to our detriment.

You're correct in thinking that there was a good deal of bad luck in the family, despite his father's business success. I'm aware of Maryanne's education (despite her father counseling her to be a secretary), but her appointment as a Federal Judge was a political favor to her family, as I understand it. Having read Mary's book, I know that she is very well educated. I'm not demeaning his siblings' intelligence by any means, but intelligence and familial mental illness are not mutually exclusive. There are many brilliant people who have psychological problems. As for Donald, he occupies only the psychologically disturbed slot. Brilliant he's not.

.

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I disagree his parents and family deserve major blame.

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I am not sure either of them were wrapped too tight themselves.

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Does not sound like it

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Plus, both his parents and the system missed an obvious reading disability which had to adversely affect his psyche in that competetive home. Though this country didn't really jump on the reading specialist train until the late 70's.

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Absolutely. He displays a lot of the bravado that certain kids with LD issues develop because they feel so stupid and get teased. Narcissism is actually the sign of someone who is deeply ashamed of something they cannot bear in themselves. Thus, we see major projections of his own inadequacies cast upon everyone else and the need to tell the world how smart or rich he is. Rich and smart people have not need to spout that out in rallies to the world. They just get on with life and their pursuits...and usually are not compelled by their egos to flaunt gauche gold toilets or baby carriages to the world. Showman and conman. 'Tis a pity.

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Wow! "Narcissism is actually the sign of someone who is deeply ashamed of something they cannot bear in themselves." Incredibly sad, but horrifically dangerous, and in America's case, deadly. Thank you for the insight.

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Yes, I did read it. A truly horrific story about the World of Abnormal Rearing.

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The infant mental health specialists I worked with in early childhood programs would agree. We intervened successfully in many poor and middle class families, but the rich ones were so hard to identify early enough to make a significant impact. By 5 years old... so sad, and in Trump's case, so lethal.

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Poor Richie Rich.

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Really interesting that Palm Beach residents are determined to have Trump stick to his 1993 agreements. And how ironic that in leaving the White House he's not completely free to go wherever he wants; that where he wants most to go doesn't want him. Thanks for posting this link.

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Let him move in with his true love Ivanka. Or Javanka.

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I wonder if just Melania and Barron can live there? I guess that agreement prohibits stays no longer than 7 consecutive days, but why is she pouring so much effort into "sprucing the place up" then? I hope the National Registry lawyers stop him at every turn and he'll throw a tantrum about 'poor pitiful persecuted me' and move, where? Scotland?

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He needs to run to a country with no extradition treaty with the U.S. And, don't forget....I believe it is Iran that still has that $80m bounty on him. They are very patient people. :)

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Off to the Gulag. Putin will know where to be Putin him.

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I doubt very much he would consider Scotland. They hate him there, too. Maybe his New Jersey home, or Virginia place. He doesn't lack for places to go, but they're off the beaten track which doesn't keep him in the lime light!

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My understanding regarding Scotland is that he owes court costs and could be arrested if he steps foot in Scotland. Wouldn't that be a hoot!?

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T'would save us a lot of time and money!!

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Maybe she's thinking about resale value. Considering that the current opinion is that Donald is deeply in debt and is broke, perhaps she's trying to ensure that he can scrape together her renegotiated prenup agreement settlement. As for moving, I doubt that even Putin would want him - he's no longer useful.

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I have read that Mar A Lago, being a business, is zoned against being used as a residence.

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Wonder if anyone will follow through on this ?

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I wish they would. I don't think that area is that happy with him anyway.....he has cost the taxpayers a lot of money that they probably won't get back (because of increased security when he is there)

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I think his permanent residence should be a rock, under which he should crawl... malignant narcissist. I wonder how long it will take for Melania to fly the coop?

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https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/16/opinion/republican-party-voter-fraud.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage "To affirm Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the winners of the election more than a month after the end of voting — as Mitch McConnell did, on Tuesday morning, when he announced that “our country officially has a president-elect and vice-president elect” — is to treat the outcome as unofficial pending an attempt to overturn the result."

As Heather says, this is the Republicans attempting to create a new normal. But there is nothing normal about this. She said in her FB talk yesterday that it was a mistake to pardon Nixon, and I totally agree. By now we should have learned that you don't corral a bully by saying, "Play nicely, now." You corral him by blistering his ass and sending him out of the room. Any parent could tell you that.

Mitch McConnell is a snake who is worse than Trump; there was never any doubt that Trump was a crook. McConnell has conned a lot of people into thinking he's got some shred of integrity. I hope this removes all doubt.

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My hatred for Mcturtleneck goes way beyond my comfort zone. He is evil incarnate...EVIL.

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I'm with you Pam. But he has plenty of company.

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I don't have much in the way of sympathy for Kayleigh McEnany, I have to assume she knew what she was getting into. But it's hard on a strictly human level not to feel a little bad for her. To be the nation's #1 public liar in the waning days of an empire built on lies is certainlya tough spot to be in.

Mike Pompeo on the other hand is a thoroughly contemptible individual. I won't go any further than that out of respect for civility here, except to say it is my ardent wish that he make a permanent exit from public life, the sooner the better. A man can hope.

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Oh I think McEnany knew exactly what she was getting into. I expect this is her audition for a spot on Fox.

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Exactly my thoughts. She's a mean little twit.

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Oh, I assumed that’s where they found her’

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And what a riot that such a tiny group of nincompoops attended the Pompeo's holiday bash!!!! I wonder what happened to all the leftover hors d'ouvres??!!!

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They got boxed lunches. No joke. It beats cold Big Macs and Whoppers, I guess.

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Oh for some emojis in HCR's substack! I don't kn ow how to do them on my computer . . . Daria this is hilarious.

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Linda, 😉😉😉! Well, you know, that's what Donald serves at his fancy lunches for young people, especially elite athletes. Because, yum!

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😏😉😂!

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:-)

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Oh if only! He does seem to have dreams of Congress - again.

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Actually he is talking about running for governor of Kansas. And even though he is a revolution specimen of Uriah Heepness, he'd have a good chance of winning.

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My high school friend, Laura Kelly, is the current governor there she’s having a tough time with the mask mandate and I heard this morning that a Kansas mayor resigned over threats to her because of her mandate. Unfortunately Pompeo could win.

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Yes--I am right over the border in KC. She won handily because the most stupid, racist, misogynist, fascist idiot ever to run for governor was the Republican candidate (Chris Kovach, who I am ashamed to say was once a faculty member at my university). But the local elections solidified the radical right-wing dominance of the "Republican" party in the state legislature and Gov. Kelly has been up against it even more since then. And, just to make everything in KS more fun, there are counties in the western part of the state where 100% of the nursing homes are infected with Covid-19 and where the general infection rate is over 30%. But the m*****f****rs still won't mask up because a Dem--and a female Dem at that--tells them they should. It beggars belief.

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I remember a guy on twitter saying he was going to stop drinking water because First Lady Michelle Obama had endorsed doing it.

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Wow. Just wow.

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People can be so crazy. Violence over public health! No one is actually making them wear the masks anyway, mandate or not. The whole thing is tragically absurd.

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Right. The question is still unanswered for me. What actually is the Matter with Kansas?

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If it were only one state....but it’s not. And within KS there are pockets of liberalism, such as in Lawrence (university town, though I haven’t been there in a decade now, so maybe it’s no longer liberal? I dunno)

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Oh, it is still liberal. I have two good friends who live and teach there.

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Thats right - I remember reading that - he had already been in Congress. Sad that people will actually vote for him - but then look at what they already have! Thanks Linda.

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This ultra evangelist really wants to be President.

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Argh. Revolting specimen.

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Already I feel so much calmer reading your letters, Heather. The pressure seems to be lifted off me as a protester and onto the shoulders of our elected officials whose responsibility it is to take action. I will continue to pass on the information I learn from you. Thank you for making this last year barable. You will be an important part of the “new normal”.

I broke my rule about not doing any payments on line, so I can take advantage of more of

your offerings.

Wishing you the best of health and time, energy and inspiration to succeed in

making all your dreams come true.

Aunt Susan

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HCR, the lull in the news cycle gives a moment to reflect. The stark differences in voting patterns and the guilability to propaganda of those with high school vs. a college eduction points to a need for GI Bill type support for improved educational opportunities nation wide. While Dr. Jill Biden apparently plans to make support for community colleges her signature mission as first lady, far greater emphasis on education as an essential element of American democracy and economic interest is needed. Your comments on this need and solutions that are emerging, would be welcome. Thanks for your insights on so many vital news items. You are appreciated.

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We have, I believe, ample evidence that if we provide core human needs (food, shelter, safety - think Maslow hierarchy) that young students can learn far more deeply and effectively than we tend to assume. I'm all for education, but we can get a better quality of citizen at the Community College or even secondary school level by looking at which educational skills and tools provide the best paths to learning and stop assuming that "some children" can't or won't learn using the tools and skills most comfortable to their teachers and the system.

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Referring to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a good thing. People cannot learn if they don’t have food security, a warm place to live, and emotional security. This is pretty much a no-brainer. All the Republicans have all these things and they can’t learn however. Must be in the DNA

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Well said.

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There are plenty of well heeled doctors and lawyers who supported djt. Even though the two who are my friends say they voted their wallets, their rhetoric bespeaks otherwise.

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I work in a building full of Trump voting attorneys and other professionals. forehead slap. It seems to be a fear of someone reaching in their wallets and retirement funds.

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Self-centered small-minded tiny-hearted...

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Yep, all about the money. God forbid they care about the starving of people, the loss of jobs, etc...

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On a recent Dan Abrams’ show (Sirius), he devoted the whole show to trying to understand how EDUCATED people could swallow Trump’s crap. He specifically mentioned JD and M.Div degree holders. The label uneducated does work for them, so what is it?

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Whatever is the antithesis of someone who has a combination of intellectual curiosity, empathy, integrity, and critical thinking skills. In a word/name: anti-Obama.

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Some people just like to put their thumb on others’ heads.

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Or up their...well, you know...

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My earlier post referred to these folks simply as .... conservatives. And they will never vote Democratic

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