Trump Supporters, Addicted To His Chaos And Lies, Pose Growing Risk Of Violence
Salon’s Chauncey Devega pondered in a recent piece whether Trump supporters will turn violent should the president be removed from office by way of impeachment, and the conclusions he drew — along with political scientist Richard Klaas — paint a frightening picture.
Trump is not a run-of-the-mill president, and typical political supporters do not comprise his base. Rather, Trump has fashioned a cult-like following not uncommon among despots, and his followers will not stand by quietly as their leader is deposed, Devega wrote.
The president is the king of creating chaos, and his supporters is addicted to the high of his lies.
Klaas wrote a Washington Post op-ed last month on the topic of potential violence surrounding Trump and American politics, and he spoke with Devega further about the issue.
The political scientist said the dynamics he described in relation to the 2020 election in his op-ed could be applied to impeachment as well.
“It’s also worrying to hear some prominent right-wing voices like Ben Shapiro and Roger Stone talk openly about the risk of violence if they don’t get their way on certain things,” Klaas said. “Even flirting with endorsing violence can cause people on the fringes to view that as a call to arms, and that’s very, very dangerous.”
As for helping die-hard Trump supporters out of their false reality, Klaas said there is scant chance of success.
For many of Trump’s supporters, who thrive on the president’s deception, attempts to debunk his lies only strengthen their support, Klaas said. Trump uses disinformation, which he described as “deliberately false information that’s spread with an agenda behind it,” and thanks to human psychology, “even hearing something that is not true and being told it’s not true raises a nugget of possibility in a person’s mind that it could in fact be true.”
“This means that there is a risk in debunking Trump’s lies that by doing so the lies are actually reinforced,” Klaas said. “Fact-checking, for people who start with a belief that something is true and then are told it’s not, sometimes actually may end up driving a stronger belief in the incorrect information and lie.”
Many Americans who remain enthralled with the president do not support him despite his corrupt practices, affinity for falsehoods and thinly-veiled calls to violence — they love him because of those traits.
And Klaas and Devega concluded that the intensity of their support, combined with their desire to “burn it all down” has every good chance of leading to violent results.