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‘Drinking the Orange Kool-Aid’: Cult expert says Trump is like Rev. Jim Jones — but far more dangerous

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America’s foremost expert on cults says that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s followers are eerily similar to a group of brainwashed cult adherents and that Trump himself has many of the qualities associated with cult leaders like Scientology’s L. Ron Hubbard and Rev. Jim Jones — whose followers committed suicide en masse in Guyana.

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In an essay for GQ magazine, Rebecca Nelson outlined on a point-by-point basis how — by the estimation of cult expert Rick Alan Ross — Trump is like a cult leader.

For Ross, the realization struck during Trump’s convention speech in Cleveland at the peak of the Republican National Convention. Trump told the audience that the world is a nightmare of danger and chaos and then positioned himself as the only antidote to world destruction.

Ross is the executive director of the Cult Education Institute and a lifelong Republican. However, as he listened to Trump say, “I alone can fix it” to the crowd gathered in Cleveland, something from his training as a “deprogrammer” of cult victims clicked into place.

“That kind of pronouncement is typical of many cult leaders, who say that ‘my way is the only way, I am the only one,’” Ross told Nelson. “That was a very defining moment.”

Nelson asked Ross straight out, “Is Trump a cult leader?”

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Ross replied with a number of emails and voice messages mounting up similarities between Trump and notorious cult leaders like Jim Jones and David Koresh. Nelson dug deep into the material and arrived at a list of signs.

Sign I: His campaign is fueled by charisma.

Trump’s admirers, like Tania Vojvodic of Texas say that they admire the candidate’s image as a “handsome, smart, successful” business leader. Everything he touches, Vojvodic said, “turns to gold.” She said that his bestselling manifesto, The Art of the Deal, changed her life.

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“I’ve lived by the Trump ideology since I was 15,” Vojvodic said. “That ideology has helped me to be successful in almost everything that I do. And I adore Mr. Trump.”

She is now a top coordinator for the campaign’s volunteer network and a Trump true believer.

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Many Trump supporters share the same kind of pie-eyed admiration for the former reality TV star. His policies are immaterial to them. They’re drawn in by his attitude and his personal myth, much as devotees admire a cult leader.

“The single most salient feature of a cult is a person who has become, essentially, an object of worship,” explained Ross, the “defining element of the group.”

Sign II: He’s a raging narcissist.

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“Cult leaders are most often narcissists,” said Ross. “They see themselves as the center of the known universe, and everyone revolves around them.”

On multiple occasions, Trump has taken to social media in the wake of terrible tragedies — the Pulse massacre in Orlando, the shooting death of NBA player Dwyane Wade’s cousin — to declare that the deaths only prove how smart he is. “VOTE TRUMP!” he declared in his tweet about Wade.

His co-author on The Art of the Deal gone on the record saying that Trump is shallow, unstable and obsessed only with things that have to do with himself, his brand and his personal greatness.

Trump is “a living black hole,” said Tony Schwartz. “It’s impossible to keep him focused on any topic, other than his own self-aggrandizement, for more than a few minutes.”

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Former Raw Story executive editor and expert on Scientology Tony Ortega told GQ, “Scientology is a bully. If somebody speaks up against Scientology, Scientology will set private investigators on them to destroy them. It could be just a small person that decided not to take it anymore. And I think people see that in Trump.”

Sign III: What he says is always right. Even when it’s not.

Trump’s followers and surrogates have shown an astonishing capacity to shake off whatever previous facts they know about him and replace them with whatever today’s campaign spin portrays him as. Confronting them with facts and documentation makes no difference.

Ortega said, “You just can’t put that material in front of a true believer and it has any effect. And I think people are seeing the same thing with Trump. Trump creates this sort of field, this bubble, that the people inside of it are just incapable of seeing these things as those on the outside.”

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Nelson wrote, “And though nearly 80 percent of the things he says are outright lies, he manages to pin the blame on the ‘dishonest’ and ‘biased’ media. Many of his followers, already distrustful of mainstream news outlets, accept whatever rationalization he provides, no matter how outlandish.”

In a concluding section of the essay titled Drinking the Orange Kool-Aid, Ross told Nelson that Trump is like a cult leader, but his impact — win or lose in November — could be much more destructive.

“We’re not talking about a compound with a thousand people,” Ross warned. “We’re talking about a nation with over 300 million people. So the consequences of Trumpism could affect us in a way Jim Jones never did.”


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‘Beg to be tried as a white man’: Disgust follows Roger Stone’s light sentence — while people of color sit in jail for less

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Judge Amy Berman Jackson was the target of serious attacks by President Donald Trump's supporters and Roger Stone himself. When the Justice Department encouraged seven to nine years in prison for Stone, Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr freaked out, rewriting the sentencing memo that was ultimately ignored by the new prosecutors.

But Stone wasn't given the hefty sentence that Trump and his followers assumed Stone would get. Instead, he got a fairly light sentence of just over three years.

Leading up to the sentence, Berman Jackson was blasted on Twitter. So, it's unclear how Trump and his followers will manage to attack the judge for the sentence. Some still managed to do it, saying Stone shouldn't have been sentenced to any time at all.

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Trump supporter made death threat to whistleblower’s lawyer one day after president targeted him at rally: feds

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A Trump supporter has been charged with making death threats to Mark Zaid, an attorney who represents the whistleblower who filed a complaint against President Donald Trump over his efforts to extort the Ukrainian government.

Politico reports that Michigan resident Brittan J. Atkinson emailed a violent threat to Zaid just one day after the president held up the attorney's photo at one of his rallies and read some of his tweets.

“All traitors must die miserable deaths,” Atkinson allegedly wrote in the email, which was sent on November 7th. “Those that represent traitors shall meet the same fate. We will hunt you down and bleed you out like the pigs you are. We have nothing but time, and you are running out of it. Keep looking over your shoulder. We know who you are, where you live, and who you associate with. We are all strangers in a crowd to you.”

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‘Um — he threatened to kill a dog’: Twitter reacts to Roger Stone’s trial judge mentioning that he ‘rescued countless dogs’

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As observers anxiously awaited news on the sentencing of longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone, reporters have been tweeting live updates on the developments in the courtroom, one of whom was Daily Beast reporter Betsy Woodruff Swan.

"Jackson notes Stone's support for friends and relatives going through hard times," she tweeted, referring to U.S. District lawyer Amy Berman Jackson. "Adds: 'He’s rescued countless dogs and listened and came to the aid of many friends.'"

https://twitter.com/woodruffbets/status/1230539586083938304

The claim of the Stone's affinity for dogs prompted one Twitter user to point out that Stone apparently hasn't always applied that affinity evenly.

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