Jones only recently became one of those children. “I’ve been on the side of evolution my whole life,” he confesses. Not so much the science end, he wanted me to understand. His had been the partying wing of agnosticism. Then his fiancé persuaded him to start attending a fundamentalist church, not long before Trump was elected, and the veil was lifted. For instance, he says, now he can see the “gay agenda” of the Democrats. “Actually, they’re pedophiles.”

…I spoke with dozens of Trump supporters who believe that the Democratic establishment primarily serves as a cover for child sex trafficking. Some were familiar with “QAnon”—the name claimed by believers in a host of conspiracy theories centered around an alleged “deep state” coup against Trump and his supposedly ingenious countermeasures, referred to as the coming “Storm,” or “Great Awakening”—but most were not. It was, they told me, simply known. “Perverts and murderers,” said a woman in Bossier City. One man, a Venezuelan immigrant, explained that many socialists are literal cannibals….

…In the books he claims to have written, Trump invokes a personal trinity: his father, Fred, who taught him strength; his mentor, the red-hunting mafia lawyer Roy Cohn, who taught him cunning; and his childhood pastor, bestselling Christian self-help author Norman Vincent Peale, who taught him The Power of Positive Thinking. Believe in it, preached Peale, and it can be yours. Quid pro quo, a deal with God: affluence (or the dream of it to come) in return for unquestioning loyalty. Trump’s campaign channeled a convergence of conservatisms: Fred Trump’s brutality, Cohn’s corruption, and the cross wrapped in a flag preached by Peale.

“He’s the Chosen One to Run America”: Inside the Cult of Trump, His Rallies Are Church and He Is the Gospel

Trump’s rallies-a bizarre mishmash of numerology, tweetology, and white supremacy-are the rituals by which he stamps his name on the American dream. As he prepares to resume them for the first time in months, his followers are ready to receive.


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