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American Politics: The Rise and (Fall?) of Donald Trump-GOP Nominee for the 2016 Presidential Election w/ a 2022 Update

ME has spent most of his retirement from service to the United States studying, thinking, and writing about the country he served.

At Least 25% Want This Man as Their President!



Historical Precedence

The last time the world saw a phenomenon like Donald Trump’s rise to the commanding lead he has over the field of GOP candidates for President of the United States is in the mid-1960s with Barry Goldwater vs LBJ. On that occasion Goldwater usurped the Republican Party in the same manner that Trump has; the only difference is that Goldwater had good handle on foreign and domestic policies. Before that, it would be the mid-1930s, when Adolf Hitler mesmerized a nation and gathered around him a large segment of conservative German citizens who gave up their ability to reason and their understanding of reality. The rest is history; Hitler won a popular election and quickly consolidated power by getting his like-minded compatriots in the Bundestag to turn over the reins of government to him and effectively made him dictator. (Trump nearly did the same thing in 2020, and is still trying in 2022.)

I don’t use Stalin, Idi Amin Dada, or Saddam Hussein as examples because even though they have the same personality flaw as Hitler and Trump has they came to power without the benefit of a democratic election. Hitler (and now Trump) was unique in this regard; the people of Germany, for the most part, freely elected him.

Another Famous SDO



Why is Donald Trump So Dangerous to America? He is the Leader.

Beyond the hairdo and mustache, I have a hard time distinguishing between Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump in their quest for power. Why do I make such an outrageous statement? Because both men display an abundance of the following traits:

1. Has a dominating personality
2. Exhibits behavioral patterns that suggest a lack of belief in social and economic equality
3. Shows themselves to be amoral
4. Shows themselves to be vengeful, exploitive, , manipulative, and dishonest
5. Appears to be highly prejudiced (racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic)[1]
6. Will tells others what they want to hear and specializes in creating false images to sell self
7. Will take advantage of "suckers", etc.

I challenge the reader to tell me which of the above traits doesn't perfectly describe either Hitler or Trump. The fact is, this set of attributes was distilled from many studies by such men as Dr. Stanley Milgram, Professor Bob Altemeyer, and Professor Sam McFarland These men, among many others, tried to decipher why otherwise intelligent, social Germans would fall under Hitler’s spell; with its devastating consequences. The result of all of this work is the identification of two distinct personality types, which when mixed together, form the basis for disaster.

These two personalities are called Social Domination Orientation (SDO), e.g. Hitler and Trump, and Right-wing Authoritarians (RWA), i.e. the most ardent of Trump's followers. There are surveys developed that measure the degree to which an individual exhibits one or both of these personalities. It is the combination of a strong SDO and a large number of strong RWA’s that can spell doom for a nation; and I hold Germany as a prime example. On a non-political view, I might offer the NRA and Wayne La Pierre, its de facto charismatic leader.

High-Scoring RWAs In Action At A Tea Party Rally for Rand Paul

So. Who Will Follow the Leader?

Who are these soldiers of the SDO, these RWAs? You might recognize them from the following characteristics that define this group from all others? It is those who exhibit most of the following:

  1. Fearfulness
  2. Self-Righteousness
  3. Dogmatism
  4. Hostility
  5. “Biggest Problem" Syndrome
  6. Compartmentalized Thinking
  7. Double Standards
  8. Feeling Empowered Within Groups
  9. Prejudiced
  10. Ethnocentrism
  11. A Willingness to follow Authoritarian figures
  12. A Lack of Critical Thinking

I argue strongly that many of those on the far-Right (and far-Left to a lesser degree) of the political spectrum exhibit these attributes. And isn’t it just this cohort of citizens which blindly follow Donald Trump? Isn't it just this group that ignores each and every lie, exaggeration, ad hominem, hyperbole, and insult he utters in his quest to lead America? Aren’t we seeing something unique in American political history? Can you think of ANY other politician that has developed such a loyal following based solely on demagoguery? I can’t.

By all accounts Trump is narcissistic to the extreme, histrionic in his delivery, insulting by design, and a verbal bigot to all groups except gays (this changed while he was president, he was responsible for many anti-LGBTQ actions) and white males; while at the same time appearing shallow in his grasp of the issues and devoid of realistic solutions. Nevertheless, he is currently leading in the national poll of polls by double digits! What’s more, over one third of registered or likely Republican voters support Donald Trump and his ideas … and it seems to be growing. Why is this?

The answer, I believe, is contained in this little known personality attribute, this Right-wing Authoritarian follower characteristic. As the moniker implies, RWA followers need somebody to follow; and not just any leader, but one who exhibits strong authority traits. If the authority figure happens to be another extreme personality type who exhibits Social Dominator Orientation (SDO), then the bond with RWAs is particularly strong … and potentially frightening.

RWAs and SDOs, like most things in life, can run the gamut from a low-scoring RWA to a high-scoring SDO, or anywhere in between. A low score on the RWA and SDO surveys means that the tested individuals are the opposite of their high-scoring counterparts and vice versa. This is important to know when making a judgment about what comes next.

Consider that the latest polls show Donald Trump has garnered approximately 36% of the Republican registered voters. Now consider the following from John Dean’s book Conservatives Without Conscience where he quotes Professor Altemeyer:

"They are highly submissive to established authority, aggressive in the name of that authority and conventional to the point of insisting everyone should behave as their authorities decide. They (high-scoring RWAs) are fearful and self-righteous and have a lot of hostility in them that they readily direct toward various out-groups. They are easily incited, easily led, rather un-inclined to think for themselves, largely impervious to facts and reason and rely instead on social support to maintain their beliefs. They bring strong loyalty to their in-groups, have thick-walled, highly compartmentalized minds, use a lot of double standards in their judgments, are surprisingly unprincipled at times and are often hypocrites."

Even my own survey says 24% of Right-leaning respondents scored above 50% on the survey I offered. So I ask you, how many of those 36% who say they want Trump as their president are high-scoring RWAs? (I would argue it is about 60%.) How many would gladly follow him into a dictatorship?

While the reality is very complex, this is essentially why millions of otherwise intelligent Germans listened to Hitler and followed him into hell. Where do you see Trump leading America if he were to become president?[1] So try closing your eyes and think about Donald Trump, then open them and look over the SDO’s seven traits at the top of the article … how many of them fit your image of Trump? Now do the same thing with Trump’s avid followers using the characteristics from the RWA list. OK, what kind of picture do you come up with now?

Scroll to Continue

Do you think Donald Trump is a high-scoring Social Dominator? How about his followers, do you think they might be high-scoring Right-wing Authoritarian followers? It is this conflation of high-scoring RWAs (the blind followers of Hitler who chose fascism over liberty) and high-scoring SDOs (Hitler) that makes gunpowder. What will set this gunpowder off? How about an apathetic American public who ignore the warning signs where history may repeat itself.

[1] On January 6, 2021, Donald Trump incited an insurrection at the seat of our democracy where over 1,000 of his supporters assaulted the police protecting the Capitol and broke in to ransack the place and stop the peaceful transfer of power to soon to be President Biden.

One Final Thing

Most people believe, based on observation, that Donald Trump is dangerously narcissistic, egoistic, and self-gratifying. I have no opinion yet, but many neutral and left-leaning pundits promote the idea that this was a game to Trump, a game he didn't think he would ultimately win. Before Trump became President, over to dozen mental health experts collaborated and wrote a book about Trump's mental stability. It was not flattering and I have written several articles about what they discovered. The title is The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump by Bandy X. Lee.

Well, he did; now what does he do if this view is correct? Does he throw in the towel because he really didn't want to be President or does he push forward and accept the consequences if he should win that battle as well? My guess is, if it looks like he might actually win, he will work to lose. (He didn't do that. He played every dirty trick he could think of to win.)

An unbelievable thought I know (courtesy of my wife). But when you consider this final reality if he should win, there is a Uuuge incentive to quit. As soon as he pushes past that 270 electoral vote threshold, he must immediately begin the process of putting his vast holdings and businesses into a Blind Trust!! (He didn't do that either.)

A Blind Trust where he loses, for real, all control over, and even knowledge of, the decision-making in the management of his wealth. That is why it is called a "blind" trust; it is structured such as to minimize the possibility that any decision he makes as Chief Executive does not unfairly benefit him. And you know for sure the world will be watching and scrutinizing his every move to make sure he doesn't cheat. {He cheated! On paper, his holdings were managed by his kids, one of whom he employed in the White House.)

It just makes no since to me that someone who is SO narcissistic, egoistic, and self-gratifying ever relinquish control over his fortunes, even for the gold ring of Presidency of the United States. (I was wrong.)


Donald Trump was President for four years and effectively dismantled most of institutions need to run a government of our size. He lost to Joe Biden in 2020 by 8 million votes - yet as of February 21, 2022, he has not admitted that. He has created what is now called the BIG LIE that the election was stolen (even though his administration said it was the fairest election in our history with very little fraud.

He set out to destroy American democracy and it looks like he might have succeeded. Democracy depends on its citizens having faith in the election process. Today, 30 - 40% of America has lost faith the the next election will be fair. Using the non-existent "Massive Fraud" as and excuse, most Republican legislatures have passed laws to restrict voting with the stated goal of reducing the number of people voting! They have said out loud that the only way Republicans can win anymore is to have fewer Americans voting.

Trump has total control of the so-called Republican Party today. He is hand-picking loyal candidates to run from municipal elections up to Senate elections; often trying to unseat established Republicans who he felt were disloyal to him. Trump looks very much that he will try to run again in 2024.

He may not make it, however. Having survived two impeachments because most Republican Senators decided their oath of office came in second to loyalty to Trump. He is, though, under investigation or being tried for a variety of criminal or civil offenses. A partial list is:

  • A criminal investigation by the Atlanta Georgia District Attorney for voter fraud in the 2020 election
  • Three different civil suits by injured Capitol police and frightened lawmakers for his part in the Jan 6 insurrection.
  • A possible investigation by DOJ for insurrection or related crimes whose likelihood got a boost when a judge in one of those civil cases turned down Trump's attempt to quash the suit. The judge basically said there is enough evidence of Trump's involvement in the violence that took place on Jan 6 that the suits can move forward.
  • A civil lawsuit by the New York Attorney General into fraudulent financial activities by Trump and the Trump Organization
  • A criminal investigation into falsify financial statements to either lower taxes or get loans using two sets of books.
  • A judge also allowed a defamation lawsuit to proceed by a women who claims Trump raped her many years ago.

IF Trump is a free man by 2024, he probably has enough hubris to run again.


This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2016 Scott Belford


Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on April 27, 2018:

Yes, even Trump thought he was going to lose.

Hillary, unlike Trump, has no personality characteristics in common with Hitler. While she is narcissistic, as almost all politicians must be, she is not abnormally so like Trump and Hitler are/were.

Brad on April 25, 2018:


Another case of your wishes and your predictions failing.

Because truth is stranger than your political fiction.

If you say that Trump is like Hitler, then who is Hillary like?

Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on February 16, 2016:

That it is, Shyron.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on February 15, 2016:

My Esoteric, this is a very thought provoking hub.

I believe People power about Trump being a story teller and I am one of the ones who love to listen to the outrageous stories, but they are not all lies, what he said about GWB is factual.

Have a blessed day.

I would not vote for him and don't believe that he should be in the White House. He, trump is so full of himself it gives him diarrhea of the mouth, but it is entertaining.

Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on January 20, 2016:

Very, very interesting analysis PeoplePower, and thanks for reading my rant.

Mike Russo from Placentia California on January 20, 2016:

My Esoteric: First, let me thank you for being a voice of reason on my forum about gun control and the 2nd amendment and your succinct style of writing that puts RWA posters in their place.

I just started reading a book called The Seven Pillars of Story Telling. I believe where Trump's strength comes from is that he is a superb story teller. Everybody likes to hear a story and that is what he is doing. He is presenting the story of his campaign to both conservatives and liberals. Everybody can't wait to hear and see what the next chapter in his story is about.

According to this book, there is a basic structure to the characters in stories. These include:

The hero - The Protagonist Must be friendly and relatable - That's least to his RWA's

The villain - Struggles against the hero - Trump has many villians - Right now it's Ted Cruz, but his goal is to take each one of the candidates out, get nominated and and take out Hillary and Bernie.

The dispatcher - Character who sends the hero in their quest - That could be his wife and family

The (magical) helper - helps the hero in their quest - These are the ones who endorse him, like Sarah Palin and Lindsey Grhamm, and others.

The Princes or the Prize. The hero deserves her throughout the story but is unable to marry her because of an unfair evil. The hero's journey is often ended when he marries the princess. - Trumps goal is to become President...that is the Princess.

The donor - Prepares the hero or gives the hero some magical object - That's his advisors

The false hero - Takes credit for the hero's actions or tries to marry the princess - That's Sarah Palin - here desire is to become his running mate or take over the White House.

I recognize that all these characters play out with all the candidates, but I think Trump is the master story teller, or we wouldn't be so tuned in to his day-to-day journey. Each day is a new adventure for him and for us. We love to hear a good story and not a bunch of dry statistics or even the truth. That's why people binge watch the stories on NetFlix.

Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on January 17, 2016:

Thank you Larry, I appreciate your reading it.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on January 17, 2016:

Great analysis.

Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on January 13, 2016:

I hadn't thought about the body language aspect; great observation MizBejjabers

Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on January 13, 2016:

So, Bradmaster, you are saying the US is a "failed Nation" like Syria when you say "Neither party has the solutions, and this can be verified by looking at US History."

So, when you say "Since the 70s, the US has seen jobs, and industries going to other countries . Today, we are a service oriented country, and industries like healthcare are our biggest business.", are you telling me that 1) the American economy has shrunk since the 70s and 2) Services are useless as an engine to economic growth?

I didn't realize we had lost WW I, WW II, and that little thing called the Cold War. I will give you only Korea (a tie), Vietnam and Iraq II (inconclusive).

"The democrats created SS, Medicare, and Obamacare, ...". Yes, and America is much the better for it.

If the GOP brought back the Republicans of the 70s, the gridlock would be gone.

Brad on January 13, 2016:

My Esoteric

Neither party has the solutions, and this can be verified by looking at US History. The start of the decline of the US started with the artificial oil shortages in the 1970s. Both parties didn't act to get seriously get alternative energy or ramp up the domestic oil production to meet the demand of the increased usage.

The US has not really won a war since 1898, and they have cost trillions of dollars, and millions of lives to fight. The problem is the people and their loyalty to their party.

This prevented us from winning the war as the people didn't support it, mainly because it didn't affect them.

Since the 70s, the US has seen jobs, and industries going to other countries. Today, we are a service oriented country, and industries like healthcare are our biggest business.

The federal government has usurped the power of the states, so today we make a federal case out of the provinces of the states.

We are still in decline as our country has more imports than exports, and only government spending is keeping up the GDP. We develop technology in the US , but it is capitalized and manufactured or stolen by foreign countries.

Both parties have created companies and financial institutions which they cannot control, or even regulate satisfactorily.

Both parties were impotent in 2008 when the economy failed, and yet it took both parties to create the necessary factors to exist for that failure.

The democrats created SS, Medicare, and Obamacare, but they were and are missed used by both parties for their own gains, and at the expense of the people.

The list goes on, but it is clear with the gridlock in congress, and the legislative activity being more prevalent in the executive branch, as well as the SCOTUS showing political motivation in their recent decisions, that the US has mutated away from its constitutional foundation.

In conclusion, it took both parties, working against each other as well as working against the welfare of the people to bring down the might of the US.

In 1941, it took a powerful enemy country to hit even an isolated party of the US interest, but in 2001, it only took 19 terrorists to successfully attack NY and Washington DC.

The first attack was in the early 1990s, different president and different party, so party in control really didn't matter.

Both parties are in pari delicto as far as the decline of the US

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on January 13, 2016:

ME, a relative pointed out to me recently to watch the body language, especially hand signs and facial expressions of Trump and compare the similarity between him and those of Hitler. I did and I agreed with him. I wonder if Trump studied Hitler's mannerisms to learn to be so persuasive or are they conincidental. This relative is very qualified in military matters, so I would say that your article is on to something. It should be read by everyone, but sheeple don't let facts stand in the way of their beliefs.

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