Thomas Edsall | Why Trump Still Rules the Republican Party – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/21/opinion/trump-republicans.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

There is so much here to understand Trump’s political successes, I recommend you read the whole thing. I picked one of many good parts.

“. . .  At the heart of what the authors call “Trump-speak” is a

politics of reassurance, which relies upon a threefold rhetorical strategy: it tells audiences what is wrong with the current state of affairs; it identifies the political agents that are responsible for putting individuals and the country in a state of loss and crisis; and it offers an abstract pathway through which people can restore past greatness by opting for a high-risk outsider candidate.

Once an audience is under Trump’s spell, Homolar and Scholz write:

Rational arguments or detailed policy proposals pale in comparison with the emotive pull and self-affirmation of an us-versus-them crisis narrative, which creates a cognitive feedback loop between individuals’ ontological insecurity, their preferences for restorative policy, and strongmen candidate options. In short, “Trumpspeak” relies on creating the very ontological insecurity that it promises to eradicate for political gain.

The authors describe “ontological security” as “having a sense of presence in the world, describing such a person as a ‘real, alive, whole, and, in a temporal sense, a continuous person,’” citing R.D. Laing, the author of “The Divided Self.” Being ontologically secure, they continue, “allows us to ‘encounter all the hazards of life, social, ethical, spiritual, biological’ with a firm sense of both our own and others’ reality and identity. However, ontological security only prevails in the absence of anxiety and danger.” . . . “

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