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Here’s what infamous cult leaders have in common with Donald Trump

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In spite of vast differences in their approaches, cult leaders all share some similarities — many of which are also shared by President Donald Trump.

Janja Lalich, sociology professor emirita and cult researcher at Ohio State University, told Live Science that “first and foremost, probably every cult leader is a narcissist.”

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“The extent to which his or her narcissism is negative — as one scholar called it, ‘traumatic narcissism’ — that’s going to have an effect on how the group is shaped,” Lalich said.

Daniel Shaw, a counselor who specializes in cult recovery who is also a cult survivor, noted in his book on the way cult leaders subjugate their followers that traumatic narcissism differs from typical narcissism (such as that of a movie star) in that it outwardly and actively harms people.

Lalich noted that the NXIVM, the alleged sex cult run by its now-indicted leader Keith Raniere, is a prime example of traumatic narcissism.

In a 2017 exposé on the cult published by the New York Times revealed that “women in NXIVM were branded with a symbol that included Raniere’s initials and forced to follow ‘near-starvation diets’ to be physically appealing to him” and allegedly were coerced into sex with him as well.

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Trump has for decades been accused of being a narcissist, and in 2018, Shaw published an article for the New School of Social Research that alleged the president and others in current American politics are employing traumatic narcissism to reach their political ends.

“I have watched with dread as these ideologues moved their paranoid agendas, full of disavowed fear and hatred, right into the center of public discourse,” the cult researcher wrote. “Instead of all this being rejected by the larger public, the way Joe McCarthy or Nixon were eventually, and in spite of, and in many ways in reaction to the intelligence and dignity Barack Obama represented, we now have Donald Trump.”

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Lalich told Live Science that although cult leaders are by definition charismatic, their charisma is in the eye of the beholder — which is why, as the report noted, “when you see footage of Charles Manson, you might be deeply confused about how he was able to attract dozens of followers.”

“Charismatic leaders tend to be intuitive,” the Ohio State professor said. “They’re able to read people. They thrive on chaos. They’ll create crisis situations. When they walk in the room, you never know if they’re going to be good and kind-hearted or be mean and call someone out or create some kind of dangerous situation.”

Indeed, Trump and the loyalists in his administration have been accused regularly of manufacturing a crisis at the US-Mexico border to drum up support for his campaign-promised border wall.

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Lalich added that cult leaders often make tempting promises “either to change the world, change you, make you rich [or] make you beautiful.”

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Dick Cheney raising money for Trump’s re-election — with White House staffers Ivanka and Jared: report

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Former Vice President Dick Cheney is raising money for President Donald Trump's re-election at a fundraiser in a ritzy western resort town.

"Former vice president Richard B. Cheney and his daughter, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), are to appear at a lunch fundraiser Monday in support of President Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee, according to an invitation to the event," The Washington Post reported Saturday. "The luncheon fundraiser in Jackson, Wyo., will feature White House advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, along with acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney as 'special guests,' according to the invitation, which was obtained by The Washington Post."

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‘Go back to Harlem!’: Florida woman has n-word laced meltdown after bumping black woman’s shopping cart

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On Saturday, the Atlanta Black Star reported an incident in Florida, in which a white woman screamed racial slurs at a black woman at a Publix supermarket in Miami after their shopping carts jostled each other.

After the woman allegedly banged into Nicki Johnson's cart, she refused to apologize, saying, "I didn't hit you with my cart, and f**k you,  you f**king n****r."

Johnson whipped out her cell phone camera, and began recording the incident, saying "You, why don't you call me a n****r again?"

"You thinking I'm sorry?" snapped the woman. "Let me tell you something, I don't have to call you anything. Get away from me, I will call security and there are surveillance videos. Get away from me!"

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‘I’m a nurse, what are you?’: Tennessee lawmaker humiliates anti-choice activists in brutal public grilling

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Anti-choice activists in Tennessee were unprepared for the grilling they got from a Democratic Party lawmaker when making the case for a bill that would outlaw abortion before many women knew they were pregnant.

One of the speakers in favor of the fetal heartbeat bill was Baptist Pastor Randy Davis, who was questioned by state Sen. Katrina Robinson (D-Memphis).

"How many women executive pastors do you have in your convention?" Robinson asked Davis. "Or senior pastors."

"None," Davis replied.

"So is it the same ideology that restricts access to women being able to lead a congregation that leads you all to support women not being able to make a medical decision about their body?" Robinson asked.

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