Before people have an Internet meltdown, I’m not saying Donald Trump is “just like ISIS.” What I do want to look at, however, is the similarity in tactics used to manipulate their brainwashed supporters. In that regard, yes, Trump shares many of the same traits as ISIS.
Then again, nearly all pathological-lying, authoritarian dictators share many of these same traits.
What does a group like ISIS do? It preys on the ignorant — the fearful. It recruits people who are weak minded, easily manipulated, mentally unstable, and often poorly educated. It’s basically about exploiting irrational fear to your own benefit — which is something Trump does very well.
Then there are always the clear religious similarities between what Trump (and the Republican party, for that matter) does by distorting religion to control people, and how ISIS does the same thing with Islam. While neither Trump nor ISIS remotely represent the true values of the religions they’ve used to con people into following them, that doesn’t prevent either from exploiting the religious beliefs of people. As human history has shown us, using faith as a tool to control people is one of the easiest methods to get people to act against their own interests.
Both Trump and ISIS are absolute liars. While most don’t seem to think of them this way, terrorist groups are essentially propaganda masters. They’re groups that push lies and conspiracies to fool people into believing things that aren’t true. Anyone that dares to expose their lies is deemed a threat and an enemy.
Well, isn’t that exactly how Trump treats those who debunk his lies? Any person, media entity or apparently even intelligence report that exposes his propaganda, Trump instantly goes on the attack, attempting to discredit them as some sort of “enemy against the truth.” When the truth is, he’s a pathological liar who’s used absurd conspiracies and propaganda to fool people into believing he’s something that he’s not — which is basically what terrorist groups like ISIS do.
Then, of course, control of the media. This is the one thing which all authoritarian leaders or groups must do in order to keep their followers believing an illusion: Make sure the media tells them what you want people to believe.
If there’s one thing that ties all horrific dictators and terrorist groups together, it’s their endless “war” on anyone who’s trying to expose the truth about them. These types of people and groups want strict control over information and for the media to serve as nothing but a tool to push their propaganda.
We can’t forget the vilification of other religions. While ISIS is clearly much more barbaric when it comes to accepting any religious beliefs other than Islam, Trump made a big part of his campaign targeting the fear of terrorism to vilify Muslims. He called for creating a registry to track Muslims who are here, while repeatedly pushing to ban the entire religion from entering the United States. He even recently referred to the Berlin terrorist attack as an attack on Christianity. Donald Trump is someone who specifically targeted vilifying Muslims as a way to use hate and bigotry to galvanize support around him.
But at the core of every horrific dictator or group that’s ever existed, it comes down to power-hungry sociopaths who fuel their rise to power with hate — which is exactly what Trump did.
This is someone who aggressively targets those he opposes, often pushing outlandish conspiracies against them, hoping that the hate inside of those who support him becomes so irrational that they won’t realize they’re all being played like puppets. He’s pushed hate against:
- President Obama
- The “establishment”
- Hillary Clinton
- Jeb Bush
- The media
- A former Miss Universe
- Gold Star parents
- Meryl Streep
- John McCain
- Megyn Kelly
- The U.S. intelligence community
- The FBI
The list goes on and on.
Donald Trump used fear to drive his campaign to the presidency and hate to fuel it. When you combine those two, it’s very easy to get people to act against their own self interests.
So, while I’m not saying Donald Trump is anywhere near as awful as ISIS (even as much as I loathe him, he’s not a murderous group of animals slaughtering people by the thousands), it’s undeniable that many of the propaganda tactics used by this horrific group (as well as dictators throughout human history) are very similar to those Trump has used during his ascension to power.