The Trump cult has corrupted the Republican Party and left America governed by a Democratic Party with a paper-thin majority. If the Trump cult retains control of the GOP, it will either undermine America’s democracy or leave free-spending Democrats in control. A conservative coalition in Congress is needed to hold Democratic liberals accountable.
Germany is a useful precedent. It was suffering from runaway inflation in 1923 when Hitler staged the Beer Hall Putsch, an abortive coup similar to America’s January 6 insurrection. Hitler was arrested and imprisoned for 9 months, but he regained the leadership of the Nazi Party; and through his cunning and ruthlessness, Hitler became Germany’s chancellor in 1933.
In 1934 Hitler became Fuhrer without ever receiving a majority popular vote. Like America, Germany was a Christian nation; but a combination of Christian complacency and Hitler’s egregious immorality, deceit and charismatic nationalism allowed him to displace the traditional moral authority of the Lutheran church in German politics.
The same thing could happen in America. The abortive January 6, 2021 insurrection was instigated by the Trump cult, and recent polls indicate that the fear of another insurrection has diminished public belief in the effectiveness of American democracy. Joe Biden defeated Trump in 2020, but Biden’s popularity today is little more than Trump’s.
America has had its share of cults with fanatic devotion for their leaders. Jim Jones was a charismatic pastor who admired Hitler, but he didn’t advocate a political insurrection. In 1978 he led his followers from California to Guyana where 918 died in a group suicide by cyanide poisoning. Trump’s cult has a similar “death wish,” refusing vaccinations during the pandemic.
Trump’s cult is made up of his followers who claim to be Christians, but who follow white evangelical charlatans who promote Trump’s radical-right Republican politics. They represent a majority of white Christians who ignore reason and the moral teachings of Jesus; and they have the same fanatic devotion to Trump as did followers of Jim Jones and Hitler.
Most Trump supporters would not likely drink Cool-Aid laced with cyanide like the followers of Jim Jones; but like Hitler’s Nazi cult, they have sacrificed Jesus on the altar of radical-right politics. While Germans restored their democracy, America’s white churches have failed to hold Trump supporters accountable for denigrating democracy.
The Trump cult has corrupted politics and Christianity in America. Prior to 2016 the moral teachings of Jesus were the foundation of America’s standards of political legitimacy. They are summarized in the greatest commandment to love God and our neighbors as we love ourselves; and in a democracy, that requires providing for the common good. That moral imperative of faith and politics is needed to save American democracy from the Trump cult.
The Trump cult has no geographical boundaries. Robert Jeffress is a charlatan cheerleader for Trump. His First Baptist Church in Dallas is a megachurch that promotes theTrump cult. It’s a red church in a blue city in a red state. See Why Evangelicals Rally to Their Savior at https://time.com/6130228/donald-trump-christmas-evangelicals/.
On the GOP becoming a cult of know-nothings, see https://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/583256-gop-becoming-a-cult-of-know-nothings.
On the Gospel of Donald Trump, Jr. that says the teachings of Jesus have “gotten us nothing” see https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/12/gospel-donald-trump-jr/621122/.
On how Trump idolatry has undermined religious faith, see https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/12/28/trump-idolatry-has-undermined-religious-faith/.
On Hitler’s failed Beer Hall Putsch in 1923, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beer_Hall_Putsch.
On Sara Palin’s anti-vax talk showing Republicans have become a death cult, see https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/12/20/sarah-palin-anti-vax-tpusa-tconference/?utm_.
On how the January 6 insurrection is still a crisis for American democracy, see https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2021/12/31/secession-civil-war-stephen-marche/?utmhttps://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2021/12/16/capitol-riot-republicans-january-6-242043?utm_source=piano&utm.
Two recent surveys reflect diminished public confidence in American democracy caused by the fear of another insurrection instigated by theTrump cult.
A Washington Post-University of Maryland poll shows that Republicans and Democrats are divided over Trump’s culpability for the January 6 insurrection. See https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/01/01/post-poll-january-6/?utm.
A CBS News poll shows that a year after January 6, violence is still seen threatening U.S. democracy, and some say force can be justified, at https://www.cbsnews.com/news/january-6-opinion-poll-2022/.
A new study says ‘We are closer to civil war than any of us would like to believe.’ See
Secession might seem like the lesser of two evils. It’s also less likely to succeed. See https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2021/12/31/secession-civil-war-stephen-marche/?utm.
A retired general warned that the U.S. military could lead a coup after the 2024 election. See https://www.npr.org/2021/12/31/1068930675/us-election-coup-january-6-military-constitution.
Why 3 retired generals think the military must prepare now for a 2024 insurrection. See https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/12/17/eaton-taguba-anderson-generals-military/?utm_campaign=wp_todays_headlines&utm_.
“We’re not headed to fascism or Putinism,” Steven Levitsky told me, “but I do think we could be headed to recurring constitutional crises, periods of competitive authoritarian and minority rule, and episodes of pretty significant violence that could include bombings, assassinations, and rallies where people are killed. In 2020, we saw people being killed on the streets for political reasons. This isn’t apocalypse, but it is a horrendous place to be.”
“There are two very different movements at once in the same country,” Levitsky said. “This country is moving towards multiracial democracy for the first time. In the twenty-first century we have a multiracial democratic majority supportive of a diverse society and of having the laws to insure equal rights. That multiracial democratic majority is out there, and it can win popular elections.” And then there is the Republican minority, which too often looks the other way as dangerous extremists act on its behalf. Let’s hope the warnings about a new kind of civil war come to nothing, and we can look back on books like Walter’s as alarmist. But, as we have learned with the imperiled state of our climate, wishing does not make it so.” See https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/is-a-civil-war-ahead?utm_source=nl&utm_.