To the Editor:
By all rational standards, Trump is unfit for office, a compulsive liar, incompetent, arrogant, ignorant, mean, petty, and narcissistic. Why do rational assessments of his presidency fail to have any traction?
Look at the conflation of knowledge and beliefs in partisan minds. How beliefs lead to self deception and social self deception and how they reinforce one another. Then we can look at psychological factors, conscious and unconscious, that predispose partisans to pursue partisan sources of information and reject nonpartisan sources.
It then explains how these factors sustain the variety and motivations of Trump supporters’ commitment to Trump. The role of cognitive authorities like Fox News and right wing social media sites are viewed to show how the power of these media sources escalates and reinforces partisan views and the rejection of other cognitive authorities. These cognitive authorities also use emotional triggers to inflame Trump supporters, keeping them addicted by feeding their anger, resentment, or self righteousness.
If one’s sources of information are Fox News or like minded news sites and alt right social media sites, not only are you asked to perpetuate these impossible things, but you are also asked to promote these things with a sense of self entitled moral outrage throughout your disinformation ecology.
It more likely has to do with the failure of their lives, their refusal to admit that they are the source of their own failures. It is their failure to make difficult choices and to accept responsibility for their own actions and their life. Trump
gave them permission to publicly externalize their failures onto other people (like immigrants and the coastal elites) and external events (like poor border walls), to embrace their victimhood, just as Trump extols his. They are his cult followers and active agents for his deceit and disinformation.