After writing about the need to view trump and his party of flying monkeys through a psychological lens, I was inspired to re-watch “The Wizard of Oz.” I wanted to see exactly how Oz’s flying monkeys reacted to “Ding dong, the witch is dead,” hoping for possible insights into how Republicans will act when trump meets his own political end.
I was taken by surprise when the witch’s flying monkeys and goblin guards expressed such joy at their evil dictator’s demise and the end of her wicked reign of terror. Once the witch’s hold on them had melted away, they instantly, or so it seemed, reverted back to being good people and creatures.
I wish I could believe trump’s Republican flying monkeys, goblin guards, and cult will have the same reaction when they see trump’s political power and future melt away, but as they have repeatedly and consistently shown us during the trump cult era, denial of every single inconvenient truth is the new political platform of the Republican Party. To clearly understand the irredeemable depth of the Republican Party’s depravity, we need to view GOP politicians through the same pathological narcissism lens that removes the mystery behind trump’s every word and action.
While this psychological lens explains how trump manipulates the Republican Party into being flying monkeys — or henchmen who are either manipulated or recruited into doing the narcissist’s dirty work — we must always understand that the Wizard of Lies is often a flying monkey for many others, in both the political and psychological sense. Dubious? Has Putin or Kim Jong-Un ever had a minion, propaganda salesman, attack dog, or useful idiot on the world stage better than trump?
Meanwhile, in trump’s narcissistic mind, this is just how the world works. You are either the puppet, the puppet-master, or a willing accomplice who gets a piece of the action, just as Fred, his “sociopathic” father, and likely psychopath Roy Cohn taught him. Have we ever seen trump unwilling to do the immoral, unethical or legally dubious bidding of others whether for self-enrichment, self-gratification, or self-protection?
This formative grooming to serve higher functioning master manipulators is exactly why trump can lie like breathing but is also easily tricked by other narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths into being a flying monkey himself. Hillary Clinton was 100% on point when she said trump was “a man you could bait with a tweet” because manipulators condition their flying monkeys to be easily triggered.
Such a worldview also helps explain why trump is not the cause but the inevitable result of the Republican Party’s long, steady descent into the politics of pathological narcissism. After decades of being groomed and indoctrinated by narcissistic right-wing politicians, media outlets and religious leaders, conservatives, not surprisingly, have cultlike beliefs in nonsense conspiracy theories and far-right fever dreams — like Dorothy (and her little dog, too) are Marxist communist fascists who run a pedophile ring out of the Lollipop Guild. Obviously, decades of psychological grooming can get many people to believe some really crazy shit.
Is it any wonder that recent polls show that more than half of Republicans say the January 6 insurrection was led by left-wing activists trying to make trump look bad? Or that close to an astounding 70% of Republicans don’t believe that Joe Biden was legitimately elected despite a record 81 million Biden voters dropping the house on their Dear Leader?
Another big difference between “The Wizard of Oz” and our trump horror story is that in Oz, the Wicked Witch is the most powerful creature and the brains of the operation, while trump is clearly neither. Instead he is the wizard hiding behind curtains of lies, distractions, and propaganda so people don’t realize he is nothing more than a brainless, heartless, and cowardly child. Sad!
But never forget this Republican white supremacist alternate reality did not start with trump. Yes, he poured lots of gas on the fire, but these lies were ignited long ago by the far right, the swamp, and the grifter outrage machines. How else has the Republican Party maintained power so long despite being the minority? Conscienceless Republicans discovered that each new lie about a far-right fantasy raises lots of money and keeps their voters angry, afraid, and determined to vote out “the enemy.”
This dynamic should explain why, from a psychological perspective, the flying monkey dynamic goes both ways when it comes to trump and the Republican Party. Most GOP politicians are not actually the slightest bit loyal to trump. They are just pretending because their false allegiance will keep them in power and allow them to profit from the (groomed to be ignorant and insecure) Republican cult of flying monkeys.
In other words, the GOP has been using trump to achieve everything they ever wanted, like hollowing out our government, enacting more tax cuts for the top 1%, confirming swamp judges, and stopping progress altogether. Now they are using trump’s Big Lie to justify every voter suppression fantasy they have ever had. Experience dictates we need to keep reminding ourselves that we are not dealing with normal people or a political party bound to any sense of honor, integrity, morals, or principles.
So when viewing both sides of the psychological lens, you can see that many individuals play the part of trump’s flying monkeys but that trump and his organization also are eager flying monkeys for the GOP, the Kochs, and Putin. Essentially anyone willing to pay or blackmail trump into selling their lie is getting the Mar-a-Lago monkey brigade to do their dirty work for them.
Republicans and other sinister forces love this situation because if a large segment of voters will defend every lie due to cultlike conditioning, there is no accountability or repercussions. No accountability for trump’s Big Lie or the GOP’s Big Lie about voter fraud over the decades. Instead, the door has completely swung open to the naked power grabs and extreme voter suppression laws we are now seeing from Republicans in every state they control (and some that they don’t).
Ask yourself what kind of person would restrict the voting of the American people under the guise of voter fraud when decades of studies show that voter fraud is virtually non-existent. Shouting voter fraud is also a decades-old conservative trick to suppress the vote. What a coincidence these efforts to sway votes are exactly what narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths have compulsively tried to manipulate into existence. With trump as their flying monkey excuse, it is now all working better than Republicans could have ever imagined. The only way to stop this evil is to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, but the GOP has filibustered the former and will likely do the same with the latter.
When pathological narcissists have a common cause, they become one another’s flying monkeys. After all, who better to gaslight your target or prey than another shameless, remorseless narcissist, sociopath, or psychopath? Nearly every pathological narcissist is a wizard of lies. They have been telling stories their entire lives to cover up the trauma they endured and/or to hide who they really are: cold-blooded people with little to no conscience, shame, empathy, or any other feelings in the normal range of emotions. Who better for wealthy narcissists to have in power than other similarly damaged people?
Just follow the yellow brick road of trump to wealth, power and fame being your own shameless self, or at least that is what every “conservative” narcissist, sociopath, and psychopath with Machiavellian tendencies hears (so almost all of them). This is also known as the affinity con: conning a community out of their money since they trust you as a like-minded member and believe you care and are telling them the truth.
Dr. Robert Hare, an expert in criminal psychology, describes how a psychopath hides in plain sight in society. The one positive to emerge from the trump situation is that more of us now clearly see that honor, integrity, intellectual honesty, truth, facts, science, or even reality are no longer part of Republican thinking or behavior. Unfortunately, this means their alternative stories to reality’s inconvenient truths make denial the Republicans’ only road to power. trump’s Big Lie is just the GOP’s excuse to destroy truth, justice, and democracy.
History has shown us that there is nothing trump won’t do for money. It is truly shocking what people will say and do when they don’t have the “weakness” of a conscience to hold them back. On the bright side, narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths use each other only as long as it’s worth their while, but once it isn’t, the alliance of self-interest is over. If somebody’s money, cravings or freedom are at risk, or there is not enough compensation or fear, or if their house of cards and lies is about to crumble, they will all always sell each other out at the end. Looking at you, trump org CFO Allen Weisselberg. “Fly my pretty.”
You may also want to read Sam Ray’s two-part article, “Narcissism Is Trumpism.”
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