Trump’s Fear Factor

Why are people loyal to him? 14 + reasons explained

Craig Martineau
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Craig Martineau

February 15, 2022, reprinted

·22 min read·

Irishtimes putin holding up child Trump Getty Images
Irish times by Mladen Antonov /AFP/Getty Images
Trump as Nightmare Octopus Mark Bryan
Image Nightmare by Cartoonist Mark Bryan San Louis Obispo


Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. We often associate it with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence. A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy. Hm.


Music Arts Culture
Image Music Arts Culture

The doctrine of an extreme Russian revolutionary party c. 1900, which found nothing to approve of in the established social order.

In this Introduction, I will inform you of “THE WORST THAT IS YET TO COME” in the following sections.

In the first part, we will discuss four items spelled out by Dr. Bobby Azarian regarding how Trump makes and keeps his supporters irrespective of the logic.

1: Practicality trumps Morality

2: The Brain’s Attention Span is Strongly Engaged by Trump

3: America’s Obsession with Entertainment Celebrities

4: “Some Men Just Want to Watch the World Burn”

We arrive at number 5 of Dr. Azarian’s presentation.

5. The Fear Factor: Conservatives are More Sensitive to Threats:

“Science has shown that the conservative brain has an exaggerated fear response when faced with stimuli that may be perceived as threatening.”

In the Journal “Scientific American a study found that “conservatives have a stronger physiological reaction to startling noises and graphic images compared to liberals.”

A brain-imaging study published in “Current Biology” revealed that those who lean right politically tend to have a larger amygdala — a structure that is electrically active during states of fear and anxiety.

A study published in “” found that it is possible to predict whether someone is liberal or conservative simply by looking at their brain activity as they view threatening or disgusting images, such as mutilated bodies.

“Fear keeps his followers energized and focused on safety.”

Credit unknown
Credit Unknown

We learn of “Terror Management Theory”

6. The Power of Mortality Reminders and the Perceived Existential Threat: A part of Sidney Solomon’s “Terror Management Theory” explains trump’s fear-mongering. “Humans have a unique awareness of their own mortality. The inevitability of one’s death creates existential terror and anxiety.” (Existential: concerned with existence; affirming the existence of a thing. Google)

Fear-mongering encourages people to “more strongly defend those who share images and identities against those who do not share the same.”

Death reminders “may influence voting habits in favor of more conservative presidential candidates” (in favor of George W. Bush in this study).

Trump’s constantly emphasizing of threats may make brains respond “positively rather than negatively to bigoted statements and divisive rhetoric.”

Dr. Azarian lays that out while most politicians lie, but none lie with the magnitude or frequency of Trump.

Dr. Azarian has drawn some of his conclusions from a 2017 review paper published in the “Journal of Social and Political Psychology” the psychologist and UC Santa Cruz professor Thomas Pettigrew.

7. The Dunning-Kruger Effect: Humans often Overestimate Their Political Expertise: Some who support Trump are under- or uneducated or misinformed about the issues. These people “just take Trump at his word” for his lies.

“The Dunning-Kruger Effect explains that “the problem isn’t that they are misinformed: it’s that they are completely unaware they are misinformed.”

A new study in the Journal “Political Psychology” carried out by the political scientist Ian Anson at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, hammers the Dunning-Kruger Effect home and even expands on its implications.

As predicted, the results showed that those who scored low on political knowledge were also the ones who estimated their level of knowledge. But that wasn’t all. Ian Anson found, “when participants were given cues that made them engage in partisan thought, the Dunning-Kruger Effect was made even stronger.”

This occurred with both Republicans and Democrats, but only on those who scored low on political knowledge, to begin with!

Image Trump and Putin
Credit: Unknown "The Jokers sing the praises of shallow people"

I call this image, “The Jokers sing the praises of shallow people”

“Trump doesn’t like the term ‘Deep State. He thinks it ‘sounds so conspiratorial’” (‘The Hill Rising’ with Krystal & Buck January 16, 2019).

These posts are based on more than a year’s research. I originally posted them on HubPages in January 2019.


Mark Bryqn San Louis Obispo
Image:Mark Bryan San Louis Obispo

Deep State “What Does it Mean”

“Deep-State is a clandestine network entrenched inside the government.” ( as derin devlet.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded this group in 1923 with the purpose of undertaking clandestine acts to preserve his current government structure so his power would remain strong.

In 2019, it looks like this:

Deep-State today is usually used to describe Trump’s enemies.

I have turned him on his head and used it to describe HIS activities, personnel HE uses to subvert the government of the United States of America.

Last weekend, Friday, January 11th, 2019, The New York Times started an avalanche of articles, discussions, and arguments with the story on Trump as an asset of Russia.

This was an exciting story over the weekend. But it was nothing new to me. I have believed since at least March 2015 when I started to write a blog exposing him as a malignant narcissist and enemy of the United States.

It is an important background to my current belief that Trump is doing nothing less than dismantling the Federal Government!

I believe it explains the expose by The New York Times showing the actions of Trump in starting and prolonging this shut down of the Federal Government. I believe it also explains why Republicans have not come to the aid of the United States.

Republicans are aiding and abetting his conspiracies and criminality because they will snatch up the pieces

What Are Your Thoughts?

My Post after MUCH Jamming and Studying

I have not understood how Trump is able to keep up to 45% of the US voting population tied to his apron strings.

I have written at least two posts to my WordPress blog ‘’. How Do I Understand? aka New Information into Old Thinking”. The second post is “How do We Recover: The Rise of the Intolerants. (I provided links a little further down)

I found an article in the online magazine “Cognoscenti” that had an article by Julie Wittes Schlack. Julie Wittes Schlack “I Keep Trying To Understand Trump Voters, But I Keep Failing” | Cognoscenti She distills the information from a book “Strangers in their Own Land” by Arlie Russell Hochschild. Arlie Russell Hochschild “Strangers in Their Own Land “| The New Press The crux of the book is that people shoehorn new information into old beliefs. This causes them to vote against their own best interests!

An example is that they will vote against their economic needs to fulfill their emotional needs!

“The Deep Story” on these people stays “focused on the American Dream: the idea that, if you work hard and play by the rules, you can have a better life,”

In the 21st Century, their long-held dream is now shattered!

The next major AHA! moment I had while trying to untangle the mystery of Trump’s supporters. This moment is revealed in my post “How Do I Understand? New Information into Old Thinking.

Another blockbuster (to my mind) is my post “How do We Recover? The Rise of the Intolerants”.

I found an article by Noah Berlatsky “The Trump Effect: A New Study connects White American Intolerance and Support for Authoritarianism.”The Trump Effect by Noah Berlatsky

Mr. Berlatsky’s “research suggests that when intolerant white people fear democracy they abandon their commitment to democracy “.

Hillary Clinton decried the ‘Deplorables” during the campaign of 2016. I call them the ‘Intolerants.”

I boil it down to this expression “I am entitled to my dream which promises a living and certain comforts. I will not let people less than me (blacks and browns) come in and take that dream from me. (Reason #8 see in the next post.) in greater length

I have been writing about trump since at least March of 2015. The research has been grueling but enlightening. Enlightening as I learned the tricks of master fraud and disheartening as I have seen how many people still follow him.

What will be the outcome of the 2020 election? If he loses the vote will he surrender his throne as preeminent fascist America has known?

I did not realize that extremely intelligent scientists were studying the very topics that I was researching in my quest to understand.

As you have seen I am partial to the work of Dr. Bobby Azarian as published in Psychology Today.

David Dunning of the Dunning-Kruger Effect and many other brilliant researchers have pinpointed the exact tools Trump uses to bamboozle his loyalists.

These aren’t all stupid people. They are United States Senators and the United States congressional representatives. Obviously, many follow the money spread out by Russia as it seeks to dismantle its most feared enemy — the U.S.

But then, how can Americans, many of them military, desert the oaths they swore to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States? They watch and they see it trampled by Trump, Putin, and other despots.

Surely, there will be a serious hot seat in hell that awaits them.

How to understand why people would choose to follow trump. Why would they follow him after two years into his presidency when he was making me gag on his criminality?

Trump hoodwinked his supporters.

Dr. Azarian wrote an article that appeared in “AlterNet” on July 23, 2018. The heading read:

“Those who score low on political knowledge overestimate their expertise more when greater emphasis is on political affiliation.”

I stated this in the last post in a different way “People that think they know what they are talking about, (those in Trump’s sphere of influence) rarely know what they don’t know!

Does that make sense?

Maybe I should say “too dumb to know that they are too dumb”. A bit harsh? Maybe. This, you will recall, is the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

A new study by Ian Anson, a political scientist at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, “found that the Dunning Kruger Effect applies to politics, but it also appears to be exacerbated when partisan identities are more salient.”


Maybe try this: The more emphasis that is placed on political affiliation, the more those who score low on political knowledge, the more they overestimate their expertise.

Is that better?

“Perhaps this helps explain why Trump supporters seem to be tricked into believing obvious falsehoods.” Daniel Efron, London Business School, associate professor organizational behavior, Why Trump Supporters Don’t Mind His Lies, New York Times, April 28, 2018.

Deliver “alternative facts” boisterously, often, and sprinkle in some “dog whistles” that appeal to their baser instincts and we see results like these:

“In 2016 and experiments found that 45% of Republicans believe the Affordable Care Act included ‘death panels’ and a 2015 study found that 54 percent of Republican primary voters believed then-President Barack Obama to be a Muslim.”

Perhaps the scariest study was the one that found only 25% of Republicans believe human activity contributes to climate change.

Even more scary is the study that showed that in just two years 2015 to 2017 Republicans came to believe that 58% say that a college education “negatively affects’ the state of the nation!

The last time I remember these activities being used, George Wallace was hammering out ‘dog whistles’ to drum up support for his run at the presidency. An assassin’s bullet felled him before the votes were cast.

We recognize voices from the past have not been quieted or changed. How do we move on?

Fear-mongering is a powerful tool used for a very long time. Fear has been the number 1 go-to emotion.

But the new tool of the political right is ANGER. It is the tool to divide and conquer.

The politics of fear are pretty well understood, so I will insert some scientific stuff now.

In the Journal “Cell Biology” studies show that “liberalism is associated with a larger volume of gray matter in the anterior cingulate cortex.” We associate conservatism with an increase in the size of the right amygdala (but not the left amygdala).

I will leave this topic with this tidbit: “we associate stronger liberalism with increased sensitivity to cues for altering a habitual pattern.”

MRI scans of 90 healthy young adults (61% female) who self-reported their political attitudes from ‘very liberal’ to ‘very conservative’.

Conservatives respond to threatening situations with more aggression than do liberals and are more sensitive to threatening facial expressions.

Trump is constantly fueling anger towards the media and liberals whenever he feels he is being treated unfairly. The Washington Post lays out many of trump’s triggers and discusses their implications.

Dr. Suhay (Elizabeth Suhay Ph.D.), and Cengiz Erisén of American University are authors of an anger study and its role in the political formation. Their results “suggest that both conservatives and liberals are experiencing greatly biased assimilation of political information.” To find out how anger fuels our political beliefs, I suggest you dig into this a bit.

A name you should familiarize yourself with Glen Gehrer Ph.DHow did we get so polarized and how do we undo it. (“Psychology Today” The Polarization of America).

Trump is using opponents toward more extreme political stances that are less popular with the average voter. We are seeing this with the Democrats as they wrestle with impeachment or some other course of action. Of course, we have to ask, can we stay calm rather than let our feathers get ruffled over Trump’s hateful messages and his appeal to tribalism?

So what’s next? Anger feeds the beast.

How does this all play out?

My fear is how long will it take this country to stand tall again? How long will it take to right the ship of state?

The days of the U.S. being held in high regard are over. It will never again be a beacon on a hill for other nations to follow.

How will our young people turn from the bitterness, the hatred, the anger, the atrocious deeds inspired by this lout?

Generations will ponder the solutions. I just hope they are smarter than I.

It is a subject that has turned my head inside out. The answers from this research are now making sense.

How people could 1: believe in him in the first place; 2: vote for him; 3: continue to hold him up as the next messiah even though he has stomped on their dreams and finances so many times.

I have mentioned that I have relied on articles by Dr. Bobby Azarian, a neuroscientist, titled “Mind in the Machine” for documentation. I have also relied on my published posts for topics and research materials.

Some of the blog posts I have published on “” are:

“How do I Understand? aka New Information into Old Thinking”

“How do we Recover? The Rise of the Intolerants”

“Who is this Man? Aka Repetition Makes it So”

“NEVERMORE” Anguished

“My Rant 3 Let’s Talk,” “Temper Tantrum”

“Cognitive Dissonance,” Series

“Bossman” Series

I think you will find that a majority of posts connect to Trump. I hope this post draws them together so that they are not so far-flung and disorderly.

I had hoped this series would be a catharsis and I could cast trump and his rats from my spirit. But I now fear that may not be so.

My hope is in the women. My hope is in the young people. My hope is that millennials whose own hopes of earning a piece of the American Dream are dimming.

Hopefully, they will step forward and step up to cast off this blight and restore the old order in a new form.

I hope that never again will people not carry out their duty. Their responsibility is to seriously consider for whom they cast their vote.

The activities that have brought this division into our country to light are beyond counting. The upheaval is beyond measure.

In the Prologue, I explained my choice of the title “Trump’s Fear Factor” and combined it with my phrase Trump’s Deep State. The’s definition of ‘deep-state’ we found that the origin of the term is from the secret Turkish network known as derin devlet.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded this group in 1923 with the purpose of undertaking clandestine acts to preserve his current government structure.

If you have followed Rudy Giuliani’s antics on television trying to obfuscate the activities (most illegal) of the Trump administration, you have seen how Trump is using the deep state to subvert the government of the United States of America.

But one last hurrah — this series may be my catharsis–I hope.

The Last Hurrah

I keep saying I am going to clean out my WordPress blog of all the political stuff so that I can unhook myself from the depressing topic of trump.

I have spent over a year researching the question: “How did Trump attract such a following? Why, and why do they continue to support him

I believe Trump will dismantle the federal government. Republicans will grab the pieces and privatize them. It is their ticket for staying with trump. They will get rich from the skeleton.

Just today in the “Huffington Post” is an article titled” Republicans Cynically Demonized Government for Decades. The Shutdown Belongs to them.” (dated Jan 23, 2019).

Several bits from that post: Reagan’s catchphrase that Republicans still parrot “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”

Republican plutocrats like “the Koch brothers have spent millions convincing ordinary Americans that government is the enemy.”

They have been successful. “A 2015 Gallup poll showed that 57% of Americans favor reducing the size of government.”

A real telltale doozy “Cut it or shut it Mike Pence chortled in 2011.

A jarring tidbit “96 percent of Trump supporters are literally angry at federal policies.”

Real scary but true “many Americans who benefit from government help are in denial. “The classic example is the angry constituent who told his congressional representative “Keep your government hands off my Medicare. But this ignorance is too pervasive to amuse.

In 2011, Cornell political scientist Suzanne Mettler surveyed a number of recipients of government benefits who deny receiving benefits. The current political circumstance is an existential threat to the American democratic order.

The numbers are shocking: depending on the program, they include a range of 50 to 65 percent of those that benefit from 529 tuition savings plans, the home mortgage deduction, student loans, or childcare tax credits40 to 50 percent of those receiving Social Security, Pell Grants, unemployment insurance, veterans’ benefits; and 25 to 40 percent of those receiving Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps.”

“Left unanswered was whether these folks believed their benefactor was the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy!”

“These delusions are prevalent in red states, which contribute the least in federal revenues and rely most heavily on federal services.”

Note that Republicans are the ones most frequently scapegoating federal employees.

An article by heralds the statement that the Trump admin is planning on many more weeks of the shutdown.

One last tidbit shows the immense control Trump has over the Republican party. “The RNC just voted unanimously” to cancel the 2020 Republican primary, so Trump could run unopposed.

Back to Dr. Bobby Azarian:

8. Relative Deprivation — A Misguided Sense of Entitlement:

This is a major topic for one of my blog posts.

“Relative deprivations refers to the experience of being deprived of something to which you believed you are entitled to.”

“It is the discontent felt when you compare your position in life to others” who you feel are unequal or inferior to you. But these people have more success than you.

This is common in “swing states like Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.”

These feelings can be economic, racial, or immigrant-based. These feelings ignore the fact they are not keeping pace with the “accelerating” pace of education.

I write about this subject in a blog post, “Capitalism Overreach and the West Virginia Coal Mines” which explores how we will repeat the plight of the coal miners. They saw the 20th century pass them by.

We will witness this as the Fourth Industrial Revolution passes our citizens by.

9. Lack of Exposure to Dissimilar Others:

“Racial and ethnic isolation of whites at the zip-code level is one of the strongest predictors of Trump support.” Enough said.

10. Trump’s Conspiracy Theories Target the Mentally Vulnerable:

They may appear to be just odd quirks in a modern society but the followers of crackpot allies of Trump “and like Alex Jones and the shadowy QAnon” some may have psychological illnesses like paranoia, delusions like schizophrenia, or at least are vulnerable to them.

Trump dumps on farmers in Iowa but they will still vote for him. Do they suffer from this?

The link between schizotypy and belief in conspiracy theories is well-established. A study in the Journal “Psychiatry Research “shows that this condition is still very prevalent in the population.

Other things this personality type may believe in are magical thinking, the government creating the AIDS epidemic, etc.

Trump and his media allies “target these people directly.”

Visit alt-right websites and discussion boards to see evidence of this manipulation.

There are additional topics that range from Trump tapping into the nation’s narcissism to understanding the racist brain.

My first blog post was in Google’s Blogger in May 2016. ( I posted in Facebook earlier.) I communicated with one other person regarding my dire misgivings regarding trump. I wish I had saved those original thoughts. Craig Martineau.

republished 5/10/2019 (originally published on Hub Pages in January 2019)

I started this series as a continuation of two posts I had made on another blog “

How do I Understand? aka New Information into Old

How do We Recover? The Rise of

In the Prologue to this series, I defined “Deep State” as it was originally used and how I transferred the power of these words to be Trump’s activities since it describes “a clandestine network entrenched inside the government (

Besides the research I have done since the time Trump began his run for the primary nomination (approximately March 2015), I have leaned heavily into the work of Dr. Bobby Azarian, a neuroscientist, for the post.

Dr. Azarian’s work is “Mind into Machine” and appeared in Psychology Today.

Dr. Azarian uses works by UC Santa Cruz psychologist and professor Thomas Pettigrew, psychologist Sheldon Solomon‘s work “Terror Management Theory” and psychologist David Dunning’s work “The Dunning-Kruger Effect.”

The first post discussed Dr. Azarian’s topics:

Practicality trumps Morality

The Brain’s Attention System is Strongly Engaged by Trump

America’s Obsession with Entertainment and Celebrities

“Some Men Just Want to Watch the World Burn,”

Fear Factor: Conservatives are more Sensitive to Threats

The Dunning-Kruger Effect: Humans often Overestimate Their Political Expertise

Relative Deprivation — A Misguided Sense of Entitlement

Lack of Exposure to Dissimilar Others

Trump’s Conspiracy Theories Target the Mentally Vulnerable

Moving On

I am going to continue with a few new topics. The last post in this series will complete Dr. Azarian’s key topics and I will introduce a few new ones.

11. Trump Taps into the Nation’s Collective Narcissism:

This narcissism is a shared belief “in the greatness of one’s national group”. We have seen how this unrealistic belief, I label it a curse, is unleashed many times in our history.

A study published in 2017 in the Journal “Social Psychological and Personality Science” found a “direct link” between national collective narcissism and support for Donald Trump by Thomas F. Pettigrew.

“Collective Narcissism involves negative attitudes and aggression toward ‘outside’ groups who are threats.”

Trump “exacerbates collective narcissism with his anti-immigrant, anti-elitist, and strongly nationalist rhetoric.”

He refers to his supporters as true patriots or “real Americans” and pushes his brand of superiority, success, and wealth.

12. The Desire to Want to Dominate Others:

This desire is “a distinct trait similar to an authoritarian personality.” It “refers to people who prefer the social hierarchy of groups.”

These groups have a high social status and trumpet their dominance over low-status groups. These people are “typically dominant, tough-minded, and driven by self-interest”.

A 2016 study in “Science Direct” compared cognitive (relating to) ability and authoritarianism to understand support for Trump and Clinton.

One of the first recollections I had of Trump was his “grand sense of self” especially as he compared himself to others.

I cannot imagine how people work for this man. He is domineering, ‘bossy’, heartless, and I could go on and on.

This study tests “two ideological beliefs, right-wing authoritarianism, and social dominance orientation.”

The results are illuminating.

High right-wing authoritarianism and social dominance predicted that people had more favorable attitudes toward Trump.

Lower cognitive ability predicted that people would have greater intentions to vote for Trump and lower intentions to vote for Clinton.

Why is this not a surprise? I believe this study and others point to results I think are pretty self-evident.

As we go to the next points, try to tie them back, in your mind, to earlier discussion threads to see if you too find the truths almost self-evident.

13. Authoritarian Personality:

This explains trump’s and also his follower’s tendencies to be obsessed with rulers like Putin, Xi Jinping, and Duterte of the Philippines.

Please take note that ‘authoritarianism’ refers to the advocacy of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom and with the lack of concern for the opinions or needs of others.

They displayed authoritarianism to Trump and his supporters.

As Trump drags our federal workers through his shutdown, not only does his disregard for the welfare of others shine through his actions, but we see the same characteristics in many of the Republican legislators that don’t stand up for their own constituents.

Wikipedia defines “authoritarian personality,” as a belief in total and complete obedience to authority. They display “aggression to outgroup members, submissiveness to authority, resistance to new experiences and a rigid hierarchical view of society.”

“Authoritarianism is a fear which makes it easy for leaders who exaggerate threats or fearmonger to gain their allegiance.”

In my post “How do we Recover? The Rise of the Intolerants” we see these people will overthrow the democracy that is theirs for a total and usually cruel rule of a dictator.

I think the relationship between Hitler and Joseph Goebbels illustrates this precisely (see my blog post Who is the Man? aka Repetitions Make It” dated August 8, 2018.)

Goebbels slavishly followed Hitler and lifted him at the grand spectacles of the Third Reich.

If you are interested in an in-depth study of authoritarianism, I recommend: “The F Scale as a Predictor of Fascism: An Overview of 40 Years of Authoritarian Research”. The author is Joseph Mellon

Trump laces his speech with absolutist terms like “losers” and “complete disasters”. His loyal supporters lap this slop up like rabid dogs.

Matthew Mac Williams in a “Politico” article, defined the trait which predicts whether you are a Trump supporter. In fact, that is the title of his article “The One Weird Trait That Predicts Whether You’re a Trump Supporter “published on January 17, 2018.

Care to guess the trait? Terrorism following Authoritarianism.

Trump plays directly to these inclinations of his supporters at his pep rallies.

A surprising fact: the political scientist Professor Marc Hetherington “found that authoritarianism matters more than income, ideology, gender, age, and education” that predicted whether voters preferred Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

Max Boot in The Washington Post December 11, 2018, “America Now has a Party of Authoritarianism. ” After 14 years of polling, “authoritarians have steadily moved from the Democratic to the Republican Party.”

Corruption of the Republican Party George Packer December 14, 2018 “The Atlantic.”

I have written two blog posts on Trump as a boss man “Bossman Nov 15, 2018” and “Bossman Part 2 Nov 18, 2018.” Addendum December 14, 2021

I believe Trump, by what he has shown us, will continue the divisiveness and sow the discord of his authoritarianism.

He will not let go of his corrupt dream of ruling the United States as a fiefdom of Trump Incorporated.

How do we stop this?

The destruction of his rule by personality will be brutal. I think people are in place to do just that. “The Select Committee for January 6th” seems to have the integrity and strength of character to run him to the ground.

The “Deep State” that he has insinuated into every corner of our democracy will be much harder to eradicate since we have a little legal course in rooting people out. In that case, our course of action will be just as bad to our democracy as he is.

Much harder still is reuniting the broken halves of the citizenry.

If we don’t repair all three, the chances of collapsing back into the position we currently live in.

Even if we do all things right and have the fortitude and patience to get it done, I can’t say we will succeed.

Thanks for stopping.