Rethinking America

Donald Trump: The Nigerian Scammer

The tools President Donald Trump uses to build his electoral base and to keep it intact are borrowed from Nigerian scammers.

Credit: Gage Skidmore www.flickr.com

Takeaways


  • The tools President Donald Trump uses to build his electoral base and to keep it intact are borrowed from Nigerian scammers.
  • Donald Trump has made lying and false representations of reality his trademark in politics,
  • When you decide to become a Trump supporter, reality is not the only casualty you will suffer. Shame is another one.
  • Like all cults, the Trumpists are actually proud of possessing a “true” reality, which is open only to them and which no one else sees.

At one time or another, many people have received a letter purported to be from a lawyer somewhere in Africa representing a deceased client who died leaving a large sum of money in his bank account. The lawyer wants you to help him steal that money. All he needs is your bank account number, so that he could transfer to you a few million bucks.

These letters are all very similar to one another and they are remarkably transparent. The normal reaction is to laugh at them and shake one’s head in disbelief. Indeed, who would ever fall for such an obvious scam?

Yet, it may come as a surprise that the scammers know exactly what they are doing and that the letters “earn” them billions of dollars every year.

You see, it’s a big effort to get people to part with their money. Those sloppy letters written in bad English and proposing an obviously cockamamie schemes serve a purpose. They immediately identify the small percentage of the population that are the most gullible.

Once these folks have been identified by reacting to the initial email, the scammers go to work on them. This way, they don’t waste any of their time and effort on people who are even a little more skeptical and who might have been inclined to check out the scheme had it been presented in a more plausible way.

Trump’s trademark in politics

This is exactly how Donald Trump operates as well. He has made lying and false representations of reality his trademark in politics, and his lies are easily checked. The Washington Post keeps a running tally of his lies and as of August 1 it computed that he made 4,229 “false statements” (lies) in 558 days in office.

It may seem like madness but, as with Nigerian scammers, there is method to it. Blatant lies help him separate true believers from the skeptics and to bolster their loyalty.

Speaking at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention recently, Trump told his followers: “Just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

The added irony of this is that the convention was held in Kansas City. Missouri proudly calls itself the Show-Me State, meaning that Missourians need to see everything for themselves before they would believe it.

Creating a fake reality

By lying, Trump is proposing a different reality — the one the Great Leader is creating. Reality for the Trump base is not what they see, hear and read about in “Fake News” outlets, but what Trump presents them with. No wonder conspiracy theories such as the notorious QAnon flourish among his supporters.

Like all cults, the Trumpists are actually proud of possessing this “true” reality, which is open only to them and which no one else sees. They are the Chosen, while everyone else is rotting in the cesspool of Fake News.

This too Trump has borrowed from Nigerian scammers. Once they hook their victims, they work to instil into them the sense of exclusivity, leading them to believe that they are the only one who sees that the scheme is going to work — and the only one who is right, so that all the doubters are mistaken.

This culminates in the belief that one’s friends and relatives who were trying to dissuade the scam victim from getting involved will be put to shame when they see all the money one will supposedly make.

When you decide to become a Trump supporter, reality is not the only casualty you will suffer. Shame is another one. Trump has worked long and hard to inure his base against their own conscience.

An orgy of shamelessness

His political rallies are a veritable orgy of shamelessness. He has mocked a disabled person, has made blatantly racist remarks, ridiculed respected Americans. He’s taught his base not to be embarrassed.

Trump, the draft dodger, has also dragged America’s military honor through the mud. He had repeatedly attacked John McCain, denigrating him for being captured in Vietnam and refusing to honor his service to the nation.

Trump has also picked a fight with a family of a fallen military hero, he has admitted collusion with a hostile foreign power and he has stirred division in the ranks by banning transgender persons from serving. Yet, Trump’s popularity in the military remains higher than in the country at large.

Trump once said that he could murder someone on Fifth Avenue in plain sight, and his followers will not defect him. After a year and a half in office, he has now identified around 40% of the American population who are susceptible to being cultists and has tempered them to the point when they will, to use his one-time fixer Michael Cohen’s phrase, take a bullet for him. Or drink poisoned Kool Aid which he’s offering them.

Like victims of Nigerian scams, they certainly should be pitied, but it is their own fault, too.

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About Alexei Bayer

Alexei Bayer is the Eastern Europe Editor of The Globalist. [United States]

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