Trump supporters have a mental problem, is the message the popular Instagram account @soyouwanttotalkabout has for its 836,000 followers.
The account, which describes itself as “Dissecting progressive politics and social issues in graphic slideshow form,” explores a host of political issues in a conversational style through aesthetically-pleasing Instagram squares. Topics include "Independence Day Hypocrisy," "Police and Prison Abolition,” and "Missing and Murdered Indigenous Womxn and Girls" (the more "inclusive" spelling of "women"). But it was one of its most recent posts, “The Psychology of Trump Supporters,” that has garnered the most attention.
The post, which at the time of this writing had received more than 278,000 likes and almost 2,400 comments, seeks to explain the conundrum that is “the psychology of Trump’s unwavering supporters.”
“Donald Trump has said and done things that would have ended the political career (or any career) of others,” the post begins. “Nearly every time Trump says something controversial or damning, political analysts on both sides of the aisle feign horror and predict that it will all come to a head for him at some point. But it hasn't. . . He loses no support. WHY?”
According to the post, one explanation could be the Dunning-Kruger Effect, which explains that “the problem isn't just that they are misinformed; it's that they are completely unaware that they are misinformed.” The account turns to Cognitive Neuroscientist Bobby Azarian for analysis.
“Some believe that many of those who support Donald Trump do so because of ignorance – basically they are under-informed or misinformed about the issues at hand,” Azarian writes. “When Trump tells them that crime is skyrocketing in the United States, or that the economy is the worst it's ever been, they take his word for it."
It couldn’t be that Trump supporters see violent crime reaching record highs, innocent babies being shot to death, an economy that had long languished in recession and stagnation, jobs sent overseas, property destroyed, and their constitutional rights under attack. Certainly not.
Another explanation, the post suggests, could be that Trump supporters are under the illusion that they possess a superior political knowledge and are unable to admit a lack of expertise.
“The knowledge and intelligence that are required to be good at a task are often the same qualities needed to recognize that one is not good at that task – and if one lacks such knowledge and intelligence, one remains ignorant that one is not good at the task,” the post continues, quoting psychologist David Dunning in a Politico article.
Or, the post suggests, perhaps Trump supporters suffer from Stockholm Syndrome, the psychological phenomenon of a relationship where people idolize and make excuses for their captor.
"When viewed from a clinical psychologist's perspective, Trump controls his following much like a captor compels his hostages,” says psychologist and associate Yale professor Joan Cook. “He holds them with media frenzy and his personality cult while making promises that their release will soon come. In the meantime, he demeans, vilifies, and puts people down, giving voice to his followers' anger but also humiliating and taking advantage of them."
The post wraps up with a list of “Early Warning Signs of Fascism” obtained from the Holocaust Museum. Examples include fraudulent elections, religion and government intertwined, obsession with crime and punishment, obsession with national security, and controlled mass media.
The comments section erupted with praise for the post. To one follower who rebutted the claims by explaining the trends that concern Trump supporters, the account owner replied, “No one is shutting down freedom of speech, burning books, taking away guns, indoctrinating schools, or cancelling the innocent. You’re living in a world of fear and lies that have been spun by massively wealthy people who want you to stay scared so you stay in line.”
Ironically, while @soyouwanttotalkabout accuses Trump of holding his supporters under a psychological spell, it is the Left who is gaslighting, as exemplified by this post. Psychologically manipulating people into questioning their own sanity seems to be the Left’s latest tactic to distract from the lawlessness and destruction of the past weeks, and it was on full display following Trump’s recent Mount Rushmore speech. Outlets like the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times labeled it “dark and divisive” and declared that Trump used it to “stoke a culture war.” Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro called out the media’s attempts to frame Trump and those who support him as delusional.
"I'm pointing out to you, you're not crazy," Shapiro told listeners. "Don't be gaslit. All this stuff was happening. But now that Trump said that it was happening the media was like, ‘It never happened. You imagined it. There are not threats to America's history, or her culture, or her freedoms. We're not trying to indoctrinate you ... you're just crazy!’"
Clearly, the loyalty and patriotism of the MAGA crowd infuriates Leftists. But rather than consider the concerns and convictions that compelled nearly 63 million Americans to cast their ballots for Donald Trump in 2016, the Left would rather diagnose it away.