Psychologist John Gartner on Trump’s behavior: “It’s a coup that’s not moving slowly anymore” | Salon.com
You’ve got the charismatic leader, and his followers subsume their identity into his group, which makes them feel larger and more powerful. Once you have that kind of blind belief and loyalty, the leader, as Donald Trump has said, could really shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and nothing would happen. The cognitive dissonance is such that the cult members will rationalize anything. For example, something like 50 percent of Republicans say that if Trump wanted to cancel the 2020 election, that would be fine with them.
This is what I have described as a “malignant reality.” Trump, the Republican Party, and their supporters’ sadism is a key part of it.
The sadism is very important. When I first started talking about Trump as a malignant narcissist, people could see the narcissism, the paranoia and the antisocial element. But the fourth component of malignant narcissism is sadism. You see it in everything he does, from the separating of the children at the border to how Trump tortures anyone who doesn’t give him what he wants. There’s a way in which he takes a kind of manic glee in causing harm and pain and humiliation to other people.
I have long argued that Donald Trump is version 1.0 of the American fascist. American fascist 2.0 or 3.0 is going to be far worse. We’ve crossed the Rubicon at this point, and the old version of American democracy, however flawed and [in] need of improvement, is gone.
Look at the people who are winning nomination on the Republican side. Nazis are running for office as Republicans. There are candidates who take Trump as a role model and will be even more extreme than him. There have been elections where Republican candidates and officeholders who dared to criticize Trump have been punished by Republican voters. It’s almost like a refinement process. This happens in fascist societies. We saw this with Nazi Germany.