I am fascinated by cults. What makes people join them and devote themselves so ardently to the cause or the leader that they will even forsake their families and friends?
The Trump cult is going to be studied for some time. A common image of the majority of Trump supporters who stormed the US Capitol building on January 6th during the insurrection is that they are white men who are going through financial hardship and angry at feeling that they have been ignored and are also members of various armed militant groups. But it appears that a significant number do not fit that profile.
One of the emerging truths that FBI detectives and prosecutors will have to wrestle with is that, despite the substantial presence of white supremacists and military personnel, most of those who have been arrested are what might be described as unremarkable Americans with no previous criminal records or history of extremist behavior.
Political scientists at the University of Chicago who studied the profiles of arrestees and published their conclusions in the Atlantic found that many were middle-class and middle-aged – with an average age of 40. Almost 90% of them had no known links with militant groups. Some 40% were business owners or with white-collar jobs, and they came from relatively lucrative backgrounds as “CEOs, shop owners, doctors, lawyers, IT specialists, and accountants”.
The one common denominator uniting this large group is not any extremist group, website or media outlet, but an individual – Donald Trump. This is why the connection between the pending impeachment trial and the ongoing FBI roundup of suspects is so critical.
More evidence of how cults can attract a wide variety of people.